Melena is a stool symptom where the stool is black and tarry. The cause is usually bleeding early in the digestive system, such as in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum. Causes include esophageal bleeding, stomach bleeding, gastritis, peptic ulcers (stomach ulcer; duodenal ulcer), or other digestive conditions.
Melena needs to be differentiated from hematochezia. Bleeding closer to the anus resulting in rectal bleeding (e.g. hemorrhoids, anal fissure, etc.) usually causes redder blood, rather than black stools.
Treatment of melena is primarily aimed at diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause. Severe blood loss may occur and is a medical emergency. Read more about: Gastritis, Blood in Stool, Rectal Bleeding.
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- Gastritis: Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. Types include acute gastritis, acute stress gastritis, chronic erosive gastritis, and chronic non
... More on Gastritis »
- Peptic Ulcer: Peptic Ulcer refers to an internal ulcer in the lining of the stomach, including a Stomach Ulcer or a Duodenal Ulcer
... More on Peptic Ulcer »
- Stomach ulcer: A stomach ulcer generally refers to a “peptic ulcer” and will cause “dyspepsia”. Similarly, also possible is a duodenal ulcer
... More on Stomach ulcer »
- Duodenal Ulcer: A duodenal ulcer is a peptic ulcer occurring in the duodenum. The common name for such ulcers is a “stomach ulcer
... More on Duodenal Ulcer »
- Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are a disorder of the rectum, where enlarged rectal blood vessels protrude from the rectum out of the anus
... More on Hemorrhoids »
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.