Q:

Why does Pepto-Bismol cause black stool?

A:

Quick Answer

Pepto-Bismol sometimes turns stool black when its active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, reacts with sulfur in the intestinal tract to form bismuth sulfide. The change in stool color caused by Pepto-Bismol isn't harmful, but a doctor should be consulted if it is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, states About.com.

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Full Answer

Pepto-Bismol is a brand-name, over-the-counter bismuth subsalicylate medication used to treat diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and upset stomach. It is taken by mouth, with recommended dosage varying based on a person's age and condition, according to WebMD. Individuals taking liquid Pepto-Bismol should shake the bottle vigorously before each dose, and those using Pepto-Bismol chewable tablets should be sure to chew each tablet well before swallowing.

In addition to causing black stool, Pepto-Bismol commonly causes a black tongue, notes WebMD. This discoloration is harmless and goes away once the use of Pepto-Bismol is discontinued. Rare, serious side effects include bleeding from the stomach and bleeding from the small intestines. Individuals should stop taking Pepto-Bismol immediately and contact a physician if they experience bloody stools, persistent abdominal pain or vomit that resembles coffee grounds. Signs of an allergic reaction requiring emergency medical care include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, itching, rash and severe dizziness.

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Related Questions

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    Can I give my dog Pepto-Bismol?

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    It is perfectly safe to give Pepto-Bismol to dogs, according to petMD. It is not safe for cats, however. Pepto-Bismol is sold over the counter.

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    Will taking Pepto-Bismol tablets cause drowsiness?

    A:

    Severe drowsiness is a side effect of Pepto-Bismol, according to Drugs.com. Other severe side effects some people experience include allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting and severe constipation. Additional serious side effects include fever, hearing loss and ringing in the ears. Severe allergic reactions experienced include itching, rash, hives, tightness of the chest and difficulty breathing. Users also may experience swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips or face. Common side effects are a temporary darkening of the tongue or stool.

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    What does Pepto-Bismol do?

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    Pepto-Bismol is used to treat indigestion, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea and other conditions that are associated with eating excessively. A doctor may also prescribe it for other conditions, as stated by Drugs.com. As of 2014, it is still not understood how Pepto-Bismol works, but it is believed that it inhibits secretions in the digestive tract.

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    What are the side effects of taking Pepto-Bismol?

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    Possible side effects of Pepto-Bismol include anxiety, confusion, diarrhea and constipation, according to Drugs.com. Stomach pain, vision problems, depression or thirst are other possible side effects. Pepto-Bismol may make some people feel dizzy or lightheaded.

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