‘Tarry’ poo signals your condition ‘can’t be reversed’ warns NHS

Drinking and eating too much can cause fat build-up in the liver – known as fatty liver disease. The condition is easiest to spot in its early stages when it is reversible. As fatty liver disease nears its advanced stages it can start to cause some clearly visible signs – tragically at the point when it becomes most dangerous. Poo that looks different could be one of the signs that you have reached cirrhosis – the final stage of fatty liver disease.

Cirrhosis, a stage of the disease that “can’t be reversed” is when the liver has become scarred. The scarring can cause the organ to stop working fully.

You may “have tarry, black stools” in the later period of cirrhosis, says the NHS.

The changes in your poo occur because blood is unable to flow through the liver properly. Blood pressure then starts to build in the vein moving blood from the gut to the liver.

The buildup of blood pressure in this vein can cause bleeding in the digestive tract.

The raised blood pressure can also cause you to vomit blood.

John Hopkins Medicine explains that “you may vomit blood if any large vessels around your stomach that developed due to portal hypertension rupture”.

Cirrhosis can also cause some neurological symptoms. The NHS explains that cirrhosis can cause periods of “confusion or drowsiness”.

It can also cause people to become have difficulty concentrating or with short-term memory, the Cleveland Clinic website adds. Problems with judgement may also occur.


Treatment for AFLD rests heavily on lifestyle changes. Recovery Village identifies the following changes as important:

  • Quitting alcohol completely

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Weight loss, if you are overweight

  • Exercise, which may reduce the amount of fat in the liver

Similarly the “first line of treatment [for NAFLD] is usually weight loss through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise”, the Mayo Clinic says.

There’s no medicine that is offered for people with NAFLD but doctors may treat problems associated with the condition, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

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