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Melena

Also known as Dark stool and Black tarry stool

In medicine, melena or melæna refers to the black, "tarry" feces that are associated with gastrointestinal hemorrhage. The black color is caused by oxidation of the iron in hemoglobin during its passage through the ileum and colon.

Source: Wikipedia

What causes it?

The most common causes of melena are gastrointestinal hemorrhage, gastroduodenal ulcer, and anemia. Other possible causes, such as gastritis, are more rare.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with melena often receive hematologic tests, complete blood count, intravenous fluid replacement, glucose measurement, kidney function tests, electrolytes panel, radiographic imaging procedure and electrocardiogram .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with melena include pantoprazole, epoetin alfa (procrit), bisacodyl (the magic bullet), octreotide, sodium polystyrene sulfonate (kayexalate), dipivefrin ophthalmic, dextran 1, aliskiren / valsartan, acetaminophen / phenyltoloxamine, flumazenil, sodium phosphate, peri-colace and vitamin k 1 (mephyton) .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for melena include age 75+ years age 60-74 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years almost never get melena.

Age

< 1 years
0.2x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.2x
15-29 years
0.3x
30-44 years
0.7x
45-59 years
1.1x
60-74 years
2.0x
75+ years
3.1x

Sex

Male
1.2x
Female
0.8x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
1.1x
Hispanic
0.6x
White
1.1x
Other
0.9x
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