Black Stools are Scaring Me: I've just finished... - Pain Concern

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Black Stools are Scaring Me

BerthaBadger profile image

I've just finished a 28 day course of 2 Naproxen daily (on 16th Sept) for Sciatica. Never had it before but I my heart goes out to anyone suffering from such pain.

I've been passing black stools since then and I'm really scared that I have stomach bleeding. I see black stools are mentioned in the side effects, my question is do they eventually go away? How long should I give things to get back to normal?

Thanks for any advice xx

25 Replies

Hi mBertha sciatica pain is the worst. All the anti inflammatory drugs like Naproxen are hard on the stomach you probly bleed somewhere so stop all NSAIDs

Immediately. My kidneys failed bc of Meloxicam am not allowed any. If you are lucky your doctor may prescribe light narcotics like Tramadol or send you for steroid epidural shots. Do you take physical Therapy it helps me enoemously 🤗 good luck!

Hi there , of you are passing stools that are black you should stop taking naproxen straight away and go to GP or out of hrs at hospital . I have been there because of naproxen which as left me with ulcerative colitis I now have to take medication for my stomach and bowels . naproxen is a inflammatory drug and I wouldn't take it for sciatica nerve pain , gabberpentin or pregabilin is good for nerve pain , I hope you get sorted quickly .

BerthaBadger profile image
BerthaBadger in reply to

Thanks very much for that. I have finished taking Naproxen now. The course lasted 28 days. I was given Omeprazole to take with it, which I did. I am gobsmacked that such a short course of medication should cause this. Never had stool problems ever before. I dread going to see a doctor as I've gone from 26 years with one efficient, knowledgeable practice to one that is so inefficient (took a nurse that was treating me for an ear infection 15 mins to get a Dr to sign a prescription!) I am recording and double checking any communications I have with them, they are so bad and my Sciatica examination was done over the phone, Dr wouldn't come out to see me.

in reply to BerthaBadger

If your stools are dark , you must go and seek advice, I don't want to scare you , but I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I did it's left permanent damage with me x

in reply to BerthaBadger

Sorry to but in but could you go to another surgery, you shouldn't be treated like this. Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

Barbola profile image
Barbola in reply to

Im in State of New York Usa. When the sciatica pain becomes unmanageable i do t call my dr. Anymore.......go straight to the Emergency Room. They xray right there. In 35 years three times ER, then i found a good Orthopedist, Physical Therapist too. One Doctor was uncaring prescribing Meloxicam, wound up kidney damage, intensive care. Now i question every med. Therapy, Steroid epidurals have made a new Person out of me, only take a 50 mg Tramadol or Oxy occasionally, like one every 2 weeks! Stretching exercises, the more the better! But only the exercises prescribed otherwise u could hurt yourself. Good Luck!

Btw, my general Physician who i see once a year wanted to prescribe oral steroids over the telephone! Id blow up like a balloon! Educate yourself on every med you are offered....internet!


This sounds like negligence. You should report this.

You need to go get medical attention ASAP.

Don't wait!

hi don't get yourself in a panic go to your gp if your worried and put your mind at ease some foods can also make it happen and as you say medication.


Go to see your GP and then maybe you could also change surgery. Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

Don't delay seek medical advice, I had loose black stools,you'll probably have to give a stool sample, and quite possibly be admitted to hospital, I had a small bleed inside, however didn't get any treatment for a couple of days while I was in hospital, it can be easily treated, and the whole process takes less than 10 minutes, best wishes.

Don't panic is the first piece of advice.

I took Naproxen for sciatica for years and never had black stools, so it could just be a side effect like it says in the medication contraindications. But, get to see a doctor if it hasn't cleared up. You're not taking iron tablets are you? That causes black stools too.

As for your doctor surgery, I can empathise. We went from one we had been with for almost all my life for me and all my daughter;s life, when we moved house 5 years ago and the new ones are useless! One GP who is brilliant and the rest rubbish, don't get me started on the nurses and receptionists!

Bertha you have to stop taking Naproxen now. Tell your doctor and they should come up with something else but from now on stay away from Naproxen, aspirin and anything that has the potential of causing your stomach and/or intestines to bleed—NSAIDs.

I went through the same thing but my doctor had me on them for several years on an “as needed” basis so the scary sometimes tarry black stools showed up when I had to up the frequency.

I have a prescription now for Tylenol 3 with Codeine but I’m really careful not to overdo that one, instead I’ll take just one and mix it with another extra-strength Tylenol.

I also take a healthy teaspoon worth (in capsule form) of black seed (cumin) oil daily, drink lots of ginger tea and gravitate toward foods that help decrease inflammation—which is what causes a whole host of problems.

The doctors finally diagnosed my sciatica a month after hitting mile 18 of my first and only full marathon. Couldn’t ascend the really tall staircase in my house let alone descend without a lot of tears. We did everything including what seemed like something from Medieval London only this rack was powered and felt so good to have my vertebrae stretched out. Funnily enough the next time my mom saw me she said I looked taller. But the one thing I did to cure the cause was something that Mom had documented since I was too young to talk—she always wanted to take a picture. So, there I am, little me, butt up in the air, knees tucked under my tummy, hands next to my sleeping head on the chair seat, on the floor, in the sandbox and so many other places you’d think I was never awake. After I started yoga it dawned on me that even a child can fix this! It’s the child’s pose. And that stretch will gradually release the pressure that’s pinching your sciatic nerve. I also do ham string stretches by propping my legs up on either side of a door frame and lay as close to the door opening as possible to release the tension in my lower back.

When I can afford it a Myofascial therapist does the stretching for me and that’s where I learned how timing is everything. The connective tissue in our bodies can be tough as steel and impossible to move no matter how hard you try—until about 90 seconds into the stretch. It’s like a key opening your locked up pain and gradually it starts to move. So when you do the child’s pose make sure you’re there for a while and you can feel the release. Thanks Mom!

Anyway, best wishes and hopefully you can say bon voyage to that pain.

BerthaBadger profile image
BerthaBadger in reply to Nick2U

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to post your advice. I really appreciate it. Did you ever complete the London Marathon?

Nick2U profile image
Nick2U in reply to BerthaBadger

Now that would have been fun! Actually it was the Portland, Oregon 2000 marathon. I limped the rest of the way and, just to show off, sprinted through the pain for the last 2/10’s of a mile and, as if I was in first instead of the abysmal place I achieved, raised my hands and selfishly edged past the 80-something-year-old woman who the crowd had really been cheering for and beat her time by a fraction of a second over 5 hours and change. Paid for that trying to walk through the next month.

Please call your doctor. You should at least have a blood count done. Not to scare you but you should be seen. It could be something minor that can be taken care of. You do not want to be come anemic. A GI specialist could get on it and check your stools. Check all medicines and foods you have been on. You, also, should consider changing doctors. Good luck. We all have to be our own advocate these days.

Quick update, I called NHS 111 last night and talked to them, whilst I wasn't an A & E case they told me to contact my Dr this am for an appt. Now have one for 2.50pm today! They said they would send my Dr the transcript of our call.

Black stools this am - in advance of being asked to give a sample I photographed them! What a way to start the day with your mobile camera half way down a toilet pan!

Will post an update later on but in the meantime thanks to all your wonderful replies, they really helped me.


Barbola profile image
Barbola in reply to BerthaBadger

Good luck! Id change doctors.....see an want to know if its slipped disc, muscle, Arthritis, stenosis....dont assume its only muscle related sciatica which is just a symptom of a pinched nerve, find the cause.

Cb1963 profile image
Cb1963 in reply to BerthaBadger

I'm a little surprised regarding the 111 call,I did exactly the same,I went through a brief phone call with a nurse, I was called back within 5 minutes by a doctor, told to get an ambulance, however I informed them I said my brother was with me and he could take me to the hospital, as long as you inform the hospital that I was making my own way there, I was seen immediately, and was up on a ward within a couple of hours,I hope you have got a positive outcome, and you are on the mend,best wishes.

I am glad you are seeing the GP. Even with PPIs some people's connective tissues are more fragile and NSAIDs can cause havoc for them. I hope all goes well at the surgery.

Oh my goodness.

You sound just like me about five months ago.

I experienced the exact same symptoms after being on Tramadol and Naproxen (amongst other meds) over a period of time.

It transpired that I had developed something called Melena (blood in my stool) and was referred for an Endoscopy (one of the most unpleasant procedures I've ever had). Not to put you off getting this situation sorted out as soon as possible

The situation was brought on by the Naproxen (and Ibruprofen - which I also took occasionally).

May I suggest you let your doctor know as soon as possible.

All the very best going forward. I really hope my experience has been of help to you.

Best wishes.

They prescribe Omaprazole with the Naproxen bc its known Naproxen is hard on the stomach......stay away from all NSAIDs......

Update - Well I have to say this Doctor was brilliant, took my blood pressure standing and sitting, examined my stomach and did a rectal exam - gulp! She is sending me for a blood test on Wednesday. She is sure it isn't a serious bleed and poo may be gradually turning brown again.

What a relief. As I am tired all the time she thinks I may be anaemic. She also gave me more Omeprazole to take.

Checked my stools this morning and they are definitely getting lighter in colour.

Im glad you saw a Dr to get checked out , but a rectal examination by hand can only rule out piles which would be fresh blood and a bleed is a bleed the only way to find out is with colonoscopy , blood test will show inflammation, do you have pain in stomach or bowels (tenderness) , keep us updated and good luck x

Drugs often cause black stool ,but l always say when your concerned speak to the doctor for we can be guilty off just thinking well it's the tablets ,my advise when worried speak to your doctor and get your mind put at rest.You don't need the concern untop off all your dealing will, best off luck!

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