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Dr. Robert D. Fusco, Medical Director    
Melanosis coli - "Black Colon"

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Normal Colon Lining
Black Colon
 
Here is an example of what happen when someone abuses laxatives. The normal colon lining is pink and healthy looking. This 73 year old woman has taken laxatives almost every day for many years. At the time of colonscopy, her colon show a blackened appearance termed - Melanosis coli. [Latin for "black colon." ]

These changes tell the doctor that the patient has abused laxatives for many year. Many people don't realize that even non-prescription medications can lead to side effects if taken improperly. Some laxatives are dangerous to take on a regular basis. Some like Metamucil or Citrucel can be taken safely for years without danger. If you take non-fiber laxative more often than once a week, you should discuss this with your physician.

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