Q. I am having alcoholic cirrhosis and passing black stools. Does this imply liver failure?

Answered by
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Dec 17, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am 59 years old. I was diagnosed with hepatitis C alcoholic cirrhosis, acute pancreatitis and that was almost two years. I am currently taking Levothyroxine 50 mg once daily, Labetalol Hydrochloride 100 mg once daily, Lisinopril 20 mg once daily. I was in the hospital at first to stabilize my condition. My hepatitis C cleared but still of course I cannot change the damage to my liver.

I was told I would only be given five to ten years if I would quit drinking. I kind of fell off the wagon about six months ago, about three liters a day. I weigh about 120 kg. I went to my family physician, he ordered a liver profile and complete blood work. I am going to get it done tomorrow, but the only concern I have is this day I have been having not much but had some black stools. Does this mean that my liver is failing? I tried calling my specialist but they had already left their office. Should I go to the ER or just wait till I call my specialists? I quit drinking about a week ago. Can you help me with some advice?

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy

Family Physician General Practitioner


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Black stools are indicative of acute gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Melena or black stools can also turn into a medical emergency if a lot of blood is lost and hence my sincere advice to you would be to go see a doctor as soon as possible. This does not signify liver failure. However, with a history of drinking, the current status of the liver can only be assessed through a liver function test or an ultrasound. But melena does not mean that your liver is failing.

I will advise you on the following until you get to the doctor. Take Omeprazole 20 mg one tablet immediately, followed by one tablet every morning in the empty stomach. Sucralfate syrup two teaspoons immediately, followed by two teaspoons after every meal. This will help in coating the ulcer lining and help in healing.

I hope this helps.

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