Dark stools - Definition

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Stools are described as dark when they appear black. Black stools can be indicative of melena, a sign of digested blood in the fecal matter. These types of stools look like tar, and have a characteristic smell. Melena comes from bleeding high up in the digestive system, possibly originating in the esophagus, the stomach, or the beginning of the intestines. There are multiple causes for this condition, including ruptured varicose veins, notably in cases of cirrhosis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, or cancer. It is important to note that certain drugs or foods also have the capacity to induce dark stools.