black specks in stool

Black Specks in Stool? The Reasons May Surprise You

April 3, 2019

People look for ways to avoid certain illnesses or medical conditions that may affect the overall quality of their lives. One such medical condition is the appearance of black specks in the stool. People may naturally be surprised and ask “Why does my stool have black specks in it?”. In this article, we will look at the possible reasons for the appearance of black specks in the stool.

Black Specks in Stool: A Brief Overview

Stool or fecal matter is usually composed of food material and fiber that is not yet digested, bacteria, mucus, and water. It is also commonly colored brown due to it having bile caused by bacteria’s efforts to break food items down. There are times, though, that stool or fecal matter may experience some form of color change. Admittedly, fecal matter or stool is mainly based on the types of food individuals eat. As such, black specks or spots that may be present in the stool may usually be and largely caused by the foods consumed by a person.

Not all black specks found in the stool, however, may not just be based on an individual’s diet. Blood that has stayed for a time in the Gastrointestinal Tract (GI) may be excreted in an individual’s stool through black spots and specks. Since stool with specks of blood in it may be considered an emergency medical condition, people should be made aware of the reasons behind why they may be getting black spots or specks in their stool.

What are some of the causes of black specks in stool?

Black specks or spots in the stool can be generally attributed to two (2) main factors and these are blood present in the Gastrointestinal Tract or GI tract and the food items individuals consume or eat. Listed below are some of the detailed causes of the said black specks or spots in fecal matter or stool:

  • Black specks in stool caused by food items or certain medications

Blacks specks or spots in the fecal matter of individuals may be caused by some food items or certain medications due to the body’s inability to completely digest some of the components of the said products. Some of these food items include sesame seeds, strawberry seeds, undercooked red meat, plums, black pepper, paprika or other herbs and spices, chocolate pudding, licorice or other food items that use food coloring to make them appear darker, figs, cherries, blueberries, and bananas.

Food items that also contain high levels of iron may cause stool to have black specks or spots in them such as kidney beans and oysters. Iron supplements may also make the color of stool appear green or make black specks or spots appear in stools.

  • Bleeding in the Gastro-Intestinal Tract or GI Tract

Usually described as having a ground coffee look, this dark brown color of fecal matter or stool is usually caused by blood that stayed or traversed the gastrointestinal tract of individuals for quite some time. As such, medical experts or doctors consider dark brown stool or blood as bleeding that occurs in the upper portions of the gastrointestinal tract or GI tract while bright red stool or blood is usually associated by doctors with bleeding that transpired in the lower portions of the Gastrointestinal tract or GI tract.

Blood in the stool is generally considered a serious medical concern as it can be caused by a number of critical health conditions such as a lesion that is cancerous, a tear in the lining of the GI tract or inflammation of the Gastrointestinal tract. Other medications may also cause bleeding and irritation resulting in blood in the Gastrointestinal tract and consequently, black specks in the stool or feces.

  • Infection caused by parasitic organisms

Organisms that exploit other organisms for survival are usually called parasites. These parasites can often be transmitted via food, waste, soil, and contaminated or tainted water sources. Feces or stool that have black specks or spots in them may be due to some form of parasitic infection caused by parasites that have gained access to the patient’s or individual’s body.

It may be noteworthy to mention that for babies, stools that are passed for the first few instances will usually be colored black and should be considered perfectly normal. This black stool is termed meconium stools and they are stools that were developed while the baby was still in the mother’s womb. These meconium stools will usually be colored black as the bacteria that lends stools its regular brown color still have not gained access to the baby’s digestive processes while inside its mother’s womb.

Treatment Options for Black Spots or Specks in Stool

Treatment for black specks in a person’s stool usually begins with that individual or person trying to recall what food item or product he or she may have consumed within a 48-hour timeframe. If he or she thinks that there were certain products that may have contributed to the presence of black specks or spots in his or her stool, the patient is advised to stop the intake of the aforementioned food items or products and check if the apperance of the black specks will also stop or cease completely.

If the above-mentioned procedure of controlling food item consumption does not yield positive results or black specks are still present in the stool, patients are advised to check with their doctor for further appropriate medical treatment. Doctors may usually order tests and have procedures conducted o the patient such as a colonoscopy or and esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD.