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Stool Color Changes (cont.)

Can changes in Stool color be prevented?

Prevention of change in stool color depends on the cause. Since stool color can change for a variety of reasons, any preventive measure for a particular cause may play a role in preventing further changes in stool color. For example, if the stool is black and tarry because of a bleeding ulcer, then avoiding medications that can cause bleeding, such as aspirin, may be a reasonable preventive measure. Alcohol abstinence can be a preventive measure against yellow stools resulting from undigested fat in stool due to pancreatic disease. On the other hand, some causes of changes in the color of stool, for instance, cancer of the pancreas, may not be entirely preventable.

What is the prognosis for a person with stool color changes?

The outlook for a person with changes in stool color varies with the underlying cause. For example, many causes of bleeding from the stomach or the intestines are benign, such as ulcers, and generally carry good prognoses while bleeding due to a cancer carries a less favorable diagnosis.

REFERENCE: Penner, R. M. MD. "Patient information: Blood in the stool (rectal bleeding) in adults (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate. Sep 03, 2015.

Previous contributing author: Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2016
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