Black Specks In Stool: Causes And Treatments


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We don’t like the thought of looking at poop do we? The thing is, you need to check your stool to ensure you’re not experiencing some serious health conditions – even if you feel otherwise healthy. 

Stools can be different shapes, sizes and colors, but one thing you may not have noticed is the black specks in stool. 

Today, we’re going to explore what the possible causes of black specks in poop are and what we could possibly do to treat it. 

Black Specks In Stool?

The ideal and healthy color of stool should be brown, which is due to bile being present which causes a bacterial break up.  Even yellow, green and slightly orange stool is not alarming to physicians.

Your poop is largely the make-up of what you’ve eaten and drank so it would be normal to think that any black specks would be due to something you’ve eaten – which could be true but it is also likely to be a sign of something else.

What appears black may actually be old blood – and blood being passed in your stool is not something to take lightly. That may be a medical emergency! 

What Are The Possible Causes For Black Specks In Poop?

It’s best to explore what the less serious reasons for black specks in your poop might be first and then take a look at the far more serious possibilities. So, starting with the less serious:

Food And Drink 

Sometimes our bodies simply cannot process everything and some foods may become partly digested. Some examples could be:

  • Iron rich foods (kidney beans, oysters, supplements)
  • Some fruits and vegetables (cherries, plums, blueberries, strawberries, beets, dark greens like kale or spinach)
  • Food colorings (some foods have a lot of food coloring, such as candy or cake icing)
  • Partially cooked meat 
  • Black pepper
  • Seeds, like sesame seeds or chia seeds

Read more about the Causes of Undigested Food in Poop.

Medications 

Some medications may have an effect on your stool color. This could be entirely normal or could be serious – the best way to know is to speak with your doctor. 

We should now look at the more serious potential causes of black specks in your stool.

Bleeding From The Gastrointestinal Tract 

As we know, fresh blood is red in appearance and older blood appears black. If you’ve noticed black specks in your poop, it is possible that you’re bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Possible reasons for bleeding could be inflammation, a peptic ulcer, a tear, or even cancer.

It is also possible that certain medications can cause bleeding in this area as they can potentially cause irritation. Ibuprofen is an example along with other NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In higher doses or with regular use, stomach and small intestinal ulcers can develop.

Infection From A Parasite 

A scary potential – but black specks in your poop could be the eggs of an invading parasite! You may become infected by a parasite by eating expired or spoiled foods, drinking contaminated water or through an already infected blood contact. 

Possible Treatments For Black Specks In Poop

There are some potential treatments for the more serious conditions listed. However, it is crucial to remember that if you have any of these symptoms – it is advisable to see a doctor. 

Bleeding From The Gastrointestinal Tract 

Bleeding internally is always going to need a doctor’s intervention. Typically, the doctor will look through your medical history, list of medications, and the symptoms that you describe. 

A blood count test to determine if you are internally bleeding is one way a doctor might check for this. A doctor may also request a stool sample to assess if your poop does have blood present in it. A digital rectal exam may also be needed.  

Further tests might be required such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy. If your doctor or medical professional has identified the source of the bleeding or the potential cause – they will be able to advise on the next steps for your treatment. 

If the bleeding is related to a peptic ulcer or inflammation in the stomach or esophagus, your doctor will likely advise you to stop taking NSAID medications and will recommend acid suppression therapy with a proton pump inhibitor or PPI (like Nexium and Prilosec, which are often used for acid reflux).  Your doctor may test you for an infection called H. pylori which can also cause stomach ulcers.

If your doctor finds that GI bleeding is related to inflammatory bowel disease, the treatment options will vary based on disease severity and extent.  

Infection From A Parasite 

The best way to know if you have a parasite present is through the use of blood tests and stool tests. If it is a parasite that is causing the black specks in your poop – your doctor can normally prescribe medications to help and provide further medical guidance. 

The best way to avoid a parasitic infection is to ensure all food you eat is prepared correctly, hygienically and cooked thoroughly.

Be sure to check temperatures on your foods if you are not sure, by using a thermometer. When consuming water, make sure you’re drinking clean water.

If your area does not provide for clean water – it is advised to buy a water purifier or boil any water before you drink it. The most certain way to drink pure water though is by purchasing bottled water. 

Always practise good sanitation at home and when you’re out. In the kitchen and bathroom, ensure you’re washing your hands thoroughly and regularly.

It is a good idea to keep specific areas in your kitchen for raw foods so that you’re not accidentally using contaminated utensils and cutting boards. 

Do I Need To See The Doctor?

It is always advised to see a doctor with any health concerns – but urgency and perhaps a visit to the nearest emergency room is needed if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Increased heart rate, chest pain or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling dizzy or like you might pass out
  • Persistent vomiting or excessive diarrhea, especially if there is blood present
  • Dehydration 

With many health conditions, it can be extremely difficult to know what the problem is or how serious it is, and with gastrointestinal issues – it is often even more difficult. Always consult with your doctor for expert advice.

Here are other articles on stool and related issues: