Natural Remedies & Treatments For Acid Reflux | Natural Remedy For GERD

Heartburn and Dark Stool: Is There A LINK?

Heartburn and dark stool: is there a connection between both? In fact, color of stools usually indicates the onset of an illness or an improper digestive system that the body is experiencing. Dark stool usually means that the blood is coming from the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract viz. the esophagus, stomach, and the initial part of the small intestine. Stool that is black due to bleeding is also "sticky" (tarry) and smells bad. Blood will typically look like tar after it has been exposed to the body's digestive juices. A doctor should be consulted immediately if dark stools cannot be attributed to a benign cause such as an iron supplement or a food.

One of the leading causes of dark stools is chronic heartburn. Heartburn involves the regurgitation of acids from the stomach into the esophagus, typically resulting in a burning pressure or pain from the breast bone up the throat. The pain is usually worse with bending, lying down, or after eating. It may be severe enough to be mistaken for a heart attack. Other symptoms include sour and bitter taste in the mouth, lump in the throat, bad breath, or dry cough. But symptoms like dark stool indicate something more serious. Heartburn is more serious when it occurs with abdominal pain and bleeding. It has been generally observed that patients bleeding from esophagitis or esophageal ulcers usually have a long history of heartburn.

Erosive esophagitis develops in patients with long-standing acid reflux when the acid causes enough irritation and inflammation to produce extensive injuries in the esophagus. Left untreated chronic heartburn can lead to Barrett's esophagus or the growth of abnormal cells in the lower esophagus. These cells are less sensitive to acid, thereby reducing the pain, but they create an increased risk of cancer of the esophagus. In very severe cases, the patient may detect dark-colored, tarry stools (indicating the presence of blood) or may vomit blood, particularly if ulcers have developed in the esophagus. This is a sign of severe damage and requires immediate attention. Sometimes long-term bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract can result in iron-deficiency anemia and may even require emergency transfusions. This condition can occur without heartburn or other warning symptoms, or even obvious blood in the stools.

Most people do not feel the need to go to their doctor with their chronic heartburn, and live with this condition for years. But if you have heartburn attacks more than twice a week you should see your doctor as soon as possible to avoid possible complications. Remember it's always better to be safe than sorry. The best way to treat heartburn is by holistic medicine. Antacids and acid blockers will only take care of the symptoms that too temporarily and with risk of side effects. Holistic medicine goes to the root of the problem to eliminate the cause and improve overall health.


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