Why Does Pepto Bismol Turn Poop Black?

If you have taken Pepto Bismol to treat your upset stomach, you may find your poop turns black the next time you go the bathroom. And your tongue can get black too. While it seems quite scary, you do not need to worry because it is temporary and harmless. This discoloration may continue for several days even after you stop taking the medication. Keep reading to find the reasons for the color change of your stool.

Why Does Pepto Bismol Turn Poop Black?

The active ingredient in Pepto Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate which is actually an anti-diarrheal drug. It works by reducing the amount of water that goes into the bowel. At the same time, it calms inflammation and inhibits certain organisms using its antibacterial properties. How does Pepto Bismol turn your poop black? This usually happens when bismuth interacts with sulfur found in the gastrointestinal tract and saliva. This interaction produces a new substance called bismuth sulfide which is the reason why your stool has that black appearance after consuming Pepto Bismol.

What Should You Do If the Black Color Continues?

While it is common to notice your stool turns black, it should be a temporary change only. You may want to talk to your doctor if the black color continues even after you have stopped taking the medicine for several days. Keep in mind that black stool may also be the result of taking iron supplements or eating black sandwich cookies or similar foods. However, if you have not eaten anything specific or take no iron supplements, you should talk to your doctor because tarry stools may indicate blood.

Your stool may appear black where there is internal bleeding in your stomach or esophagus. If your stool is also shiny and sticky, it definitely needs evaluation. See your doctor immediately if you have other symptoms as well, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. It is always a good idea to see your doctor if you are taking Pepto Bismol and notice other symptom as well with discolored stools.

Other Serious Side Effects of Pepto Bismol

Why does Pepto Bismol turn poop black? You already know the answer. However, there are other serious side effects associated with the use of this medicine. It contains several active and inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in some people. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction are chest tightness, itching, rash, breathing difficulties, hives, and swelling of the face or lips. Along with developing an allergic reaction, you may develop other complications as well. You should see your doctor immediately if you are taking Pepto Bismol and are experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, fever, severe nausea, hearing loss, severe constipation, and ringing in the ears. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking this medicine, especially if you have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, blood clotting disorder, or gout.

How to Take Pepto Bismol

Only use Pepto Bismol as permitted by the doctor. Always take Pepto Bismol with plenty of liquids. Within 2 hours before or after taking Pepto Bismol, don't use Pepto Bismol. Once you miss one dose of Pepto Bismol, take it as soon as possible. Be careful with the overdose, and don't take two doses at once. Always follow the exact instructions on the package, unless directed by your health provider.

Precautions for Taking Pepto Bismol

Apart from the answer to "why does Pepto Bismol turn poop black?" you may need to keep the following precautions in mind before you start taking Pepto Bismol. For instance, you should not use it if:

  • You have had an allergic reaction caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or aspirin.
  • You are allergic to the ingredient found in Pepto Bismol.
  • You have active bleeding ulcer, Von Willebrand disease, or other bleeding problems.
  • You are on another salicylate medicine.

It is also important to talk to your doctor before using Pepto Bismol if you are pregnant or nursing. Tell your doctor about any prescription or nonprescription medicines, dietary supplement or herbal preparation you may already be taking. Your doctor may advise against using Pepto Bismol if you have gout, diabetes, fever, arthritis, Kawasaki syndrome, inflammation of the stomach, chickenpox, kidney problem, or joint problems.

Talking to your doctor before using Pepto Bismol is important because many medicines can interact with it. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are already taking methotrexate, insulin, or valproic acid. Sulfinpyrazone or ACE inhibitor may become less effective if you take them with Pepto Bismol. Your risk of bleeding will go up if you take Pepto Bismol when you are already taking anticoagulant. So, be sure to use this product only with the permission of your doctor's advice, especially when you have an existing medical condition.

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