[Colonic melanosis]

Med Klin. 1978 Apr 7;73(14):519-23.
[Article in German]


Among 1072 rectoscopies we found 100 patients (9,3%) with melanosis coli. All patients suffered from a long-standing constipation together with laxative abuse. Anthrachinonic laxatives which are jointly responsible for the cause of melanosis coli are contained in 70% of all laxatives but also in many cholagogues and weight-reducing preparations. Severe inflammation of the colonic mucosa was seldom found. Colitis simplex, often found histologically and cytologically, could be due to increased turn-over of the mucosa cells. The endoscopic finding of melanosis coli is not regarded as an independent clinical picture but as an expression of chronic constipation unsuccessfully treated with laxatives.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthraquinones / adverse effects*
  • Anthraquinones / therapeutic use
  • Colonic Diseases / etiology*
  • Constipation / complications
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanosis / etiology*
  • Middle Aged


  • Anthraquinones