Does Pepto-Bismol cause black stool?


What is Pepto-Bismol?

 Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter medication that is commonly used to relieve symptoms associated with gastrointestinal issues. It is classified as an antacid and anti-diarrheal medication. Pepto-Bismol contains an active ingredient called bismuth subsalicylate, which has several properties that help alleviate symptoms such as upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea.

The bismuth subsalicylate in Pepto-Bismol coats the lining of the stomach and intestines, providing a protective barrier against stomach acid and irritants. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pepto-Bismol comes in various forms, including liquid, chewable tablets, and caplets. It is typically taken orally according to the dosage instructions provided on the packaging.

Does Pepto-Bismol cause black stool?

Yes, it is possible for Pepto-Bismol to cause black stool. Pepto-Bismol contains an active ingredient called bismuth subsalicylate, which can react with small amounts of sulfur in the digestive system to form a compound called bismuth sulfide. This compound is black in color and can give the stool a dark appearance.

When bismuth sulfide is present in the digestive system, it can pass through the intestines and be eliminated in the poop, causing it to appear black. This discoloration is usually temporary and harmless.

After stopping the use of Pepto-Bismol, the stool color usually returns to normal within a few days.  As the body eliminates the bismuth sulfide compound responsible for the dark color, the stool gradually returns to its natural color. In most cases, this process takes a few days to complete. However, the exact duration can vary from person to person based on factors such as metabolism and individual variations in the gastrointestinal transit time.

If you experience persistent black poop or have any concerns, please consult a gastroenterologist for further evaluation.

How can I contact gastroenterologist Dr. Zavos for an appointment?

Dr. Chris Zavos is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, located in Thessaloniki Greece, and specifically in Kalamaria suburb, about 7 kilometres (4 miles) southeast of downtown Thessaloniki. His private office is at: Fanariou 8 street (near Aigaiou and Adrianoupoleos avenues), Kalamaria (Thessaloniki), Greece.

Thessaloniki International Airport is only 10 km away from his private office in Kalamaria and can be reached by taxi within 13 minutes from the airport.

Dr. Chris Zavos performs endoscopies at Bioclinic private hospital in downtown Thessaloniki (Mitropoleos 86 street).

You can contact Dr. Zavos at phone numbers: (+30)-6976596988 and (+30)-2311283833, or you can email him at Dr. Zavos responds to Greek and English languages.

Last update: 26 September 2023, 18:56


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group