Pepto bismol or kaopectate ingestion (bismuth)

General or Other | - Others | Pepto bismol or kaopectate ingestion (bismuth) (Disease)


Bismuth is an abundant element that features the highest diamagnetic properties of any metal as well as one of the lowest thermal conductivity ratings. In fact, only mercury has a lower thermal conductivity. The physical aspects of bismuth include a hard, brittle and heavy metallic finish that is white in color tinged with a hint of pink hue.

Causes and Risk factors

Bismuth can enter the body through three means - inhalation, ingestion and through skin absorption. The most common exposures to bismuth include working in close correlation with the element. For instance, a plumber who uses a lot of solder can be exposed to bismuth by breathing in the fumes from soldering in a confined space. Bismuth compounds are used in a number of applications where it can come in direct contact with the body. Bismuth subsalicylate, better known as Pepto-Bismol, is used to treat diarrhea and minor stomach problems, such as stomach inflammation.

Chronic ingestion of bismuth causes a distinctive dark line around the gums known as a bismuth line and can affect the kidneys and liver. Ingestion of insoluble bismuth salts can cause headaches, kidney damage and rashes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A history and physical exam will be done. The doctor may test the black stool for blood using an heme-occult blood card. This is an office test and the result is known in 30 seconds. No treatment is required. The stool color should return to normal in a few days. ...