What does black specks in stool mean?
Have you recently noticed black specks in stool? Well, what you didn’t know is that you can gather a lot of information pertaining to your health just by looking at the condition of your stool. Its color, texture, general appearance, consistency, and form will be able to provide you with valuable information status of your gastrointestinal tract.
In some cases, the appearance of the black specks in the stool may be an indication of something that you have recently eaten, but it could also be a symptom of a disease.
According to Dr. Sander Brown of Atlanta Colon and Rectal Surgery, the appearance of black specks is often an indication of something that you have eaten, and it could be brought about by taking pepper as well as drinking lots of coffee.
Causes of black specks in stool
Normally, stool is brownish in color. The brownish color is attained after mixing with cellulose, water, bile, bacteria, bilirubin, fat, disintegrated red blood cells, and gastrointestinal chemicals. As such, the appearance of black specks in stool is bound to cause a lot of concern in the minds of an individual. The black specks can be caused by:
1. Abdominal parasites
Intestinal worms such as flukes, roundworms (whipworms, and hookworms) and tapeworms are known to be a few millimeters in size. The parasites survive by sucking blood from your intestinal wall or by eating the bowel content, leading to the black specks.
Often, the parasites are shed in animal or humans stool, and are a major source of infection in third-world countries where they contaminate the drinking water as well as the food. In developed or industrialized countries, the parasites can be found in recreational areas such as pools or lakes.
Apart from causing the appearance of the black specks in stool, the abdominal parasites can also cause the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Tiredness, tingling ( because of reduced absorption of vitamins and minerals) and pale skin
- Flatulence and bloating
- Presence of mucus in your bowel movements
2. Small or tiny spots in stool from eating bananas
Bananas are some of the food items that are known to cause the appearance of black specks in stool. Apart from bananas, food items with high fiber content can also cause this problem. You, may, therefore notice the black specks after consuming food items such as:
- Blue berries
According to Dr. Grzegorz Stanko, just because these foods cause the appearance of black specks does not mean that they are harmful to your body. Additionally, this does not mean that you are sensitive or allergic to bananas and the other foods that are rich in fiber.
The black specks are a matter of the method used by the digestive system when handling the food that you have eaten. Therefore, if you would like the specks to disappear, all you have to do is avoid the foods that are causing the specks to appear.
Cancer, and more specifically colon cancer is one of the more serious causes of the black specks. Color cancer is the term used to refer to malignant growths that are taking part in your color. The malignant growths are known to be present on the lower part of the digestive tract.
From time to time, the malignant growths may start bleeding, and it is this blood that will be present in your stool in the form of specks. If caught earlier, your chances of survival will improve drastically, as there are a number of treatment options available for colon cancer.
4. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome combined with ulcerative colitis, are the most commonly known gastrointestinal conditions, which can lead to the emergence of black spots as well. Even though their causes are yet to be known to-date, there has been talk among scientists concerning the inflammation of the colon walls as well as the intestinal walls.
The stomach is connected to the esophagus by the mucous membranes. When the mucous membranes become torn, (tearing can be caused by violent or persistent strenuous coughing or vomiting) the tearing is referred to as Mallory-Weis. The tearing will often be accompanied by bleeding, which you get to see in your stool in the form of the black specks.
5. Blood clots
Blood clots are another common cause of black specks in stool. The blood clots often arise from the blood bleeding from the open wounds present in the stomach lining. There are people who suffer from ulcers, which happen to be open wounds.
The ulcers are not only painful, but they are always accompanied by bleeding. When bleeding occurs, the blood that is released from the body undergoes oxidation, and gets to go through numerous other chemical processes. When all this has happened, the clots are eliminated from the body in form of black clots present in stool.
6. Candida yeast die off
Candida yeast die off takes place in two colors. You can either notice white or black specks. Even though the die-off does not happen for everyone, it is always important to pay attention to the color of the stool, especially when it comes to small babies.
If you suspect that your child or you are suffering from a yeast infection, the right thing to do will be to start them on antifungal medication. If yeast is indeed present, die-off will be noticed within the first five days of taking antifungal medication.
Apart from food items, and parasitic infections, another factor that could be causing the appearance of black specks in stool could be the medications you are taking. For instance, a person suffering from anemia will be prescribed iron supplements a well as antibiotics to help in fighting off infections.
However, the antibiotics will not only help you regain your immunity back, but they could be the cause of the black specks you are noticing in your stool, according to the U.S National library of medicine. Other medications that can lead to the appearance of specks include aspirin and ibuprofen.
The blacks specks being noticed in the stool could also be bacteria clumps. Bacteria are necessary in the small intestines, as it helps ensure that the system is fully functional. However, when the bacteria become overgrown, it may lead to the excessive breakdown of acids (bile).
The bile acids are required to help the body absorb fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins E, D, and A, as well as other fats present in the body, for you to be able to remain healthy. Additionally, overgrowth of bacteria could lead to the small intestine becoming damaged, and this may lead to problems emerging with regards to your absorption of proteins and carbohydrates.
When this happens, it may lead to health problems as well as malnutrition. It is therefore important to make sure that you consult with your doctor if you have been noticing black specks in your stool on a regular basis.
9. Inflammatory disorders
Disorders that fall under this category include Crohn’s disease. According to Mayo Foundation for Medical Research and Education, such conditions involve inflammation occurring along your digestive tract.
When the inflammation occurs, it may lead to bleeding, which will then be presented as black specks in the stool. Often, treatment for an inflammatory disorder will vary depending on the causative factor, but it may involve the use of corticosteroids.
10. Physical injury to the digestive tract
Conditions that may cause physical injury to the digestive tract include H. pylori virus, known to damage the inner lining of the esophagus, just like Mallory-Weis.
When you have this kind of injury, the injury may cause small amounts of blood to escape from the body in the form of black specs. Additional physical injuries include anal fissures, which are known to bleed when you are having your bowel movements. They also cause the black specks.
11. Liver damage or disease
Although the human liver does not form part of the digestive tract, it happens to be an important part of the human digestive system. The liver is responsible for releasing bile into the body. Once released, the bile will be in charge of breaking down the food, as well as regulating your blood sugar levels.
Liver disease can cause black specks to appear in your stool, as well as cause scarring and inflammation. In addition to causing the appearance of the speckled stool, they may cause your body to:
- Become weak
- Lose weight
- Become fatigued
- Skin may start to change its color
Important to Note: conditions like increased and arduous bowel movements, as well as pregnant can all trigger inflammation of the anal canal veins. Initially, the veins will become swollen, before bursting. Upon bursting, they will start to bleed when the affected person goes to defecate. Dark spots will also be noticed in such a case.
Black specks in stool of baby (toddlers and infants)
Often, when you notice black specks in a baby’s stool, your first reaction as a parent will be to wonder whether there is something wrong with your baby. However, the appearance of the black specks does not always mean that there is something wrong with your baby’s health.
- It could mean that the baby digested blood when he or she was breastfeeding. It happens when the mother’s nipples are bleeding or cracked. In many cases, this does not pose any danger to your baby, though you should have the baby checked out if the black specks increase, or if they do not go away after a while.
- Another reason could be the presence of banana seeds in the baby’s food. There are babies that are not able to digest the seeds present in bananas. Therefore, when they poop, it will appear as though the poop has a lot of pepper in it. If the baby appears ill, it could be as a result of the bananas as they are known to cause gas and constipation in small babies.
The black colored specks can appear in stool at any age, though they are common in older people. The specks are common among older people whose bodies have become damaged due to cigarette smoking or over consumption of alcohol. In such instances, you will find that rectal bleeding has caused the specks, which happens to be more dangerous than many people think.
Treatments and home remedies for dark spots in stool
As explained above, any person can get the black specks in stool, but the good news is that there are home remedies that can be used to help ensure that the black specks go away. Most of the remedies focus on strengthening the stomach linings, to ensure that you do not bleed, which may lead to the black specks appearing. All the remedies discussed below are considered safe for human consumption, but if you have any worries, it is best to consult your GP first to learn what is best for you. They include:
It is a great remedy for treating stomach ulcers, which is one of the causes of the dark spots in stool. Given that it is a lactic acid, cabbages assist in the production of amino acids, which then stimulates the flow of blood to the stomach linings.
The increased blood flow plays an important role in strengthening the linings. Additionally, cabbages come with lots of vitamin C, which is known to be beneficial for people suffering from infections such as H. pylori.
What to do at home
- Obtain a raw cabbage and slice it into two parts. You will also need to acquire two small carrots, which should be chopped into tiny pieces and placed in a blender, together with the cabbage. Ensure that all the juice has been extracted
- Before each meal, make sure to take a single cup of this juice. You should also take a single cup of the juice each night before you go to bed
- Repeat the remedy each day for a few days. It is recommended that you only consume fresh juice. you should therefore make enough juice for each session
2. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is surprisingly another remedy that you can rely on when dealing with black specks in stool caused by ulcers or digestive disorders.
According to a review published in Critical Reviews, in Food Science and Nutrition, Cayenne pepper contains a compound known as Capsaicin, which helps inhibit the secretion of stomach acids, and boosts the production of alkali, while stimulating secretion of mucus and improved gastric mucosal blood flow. All this combined helps in preventing and healing gastrointestinal disorders.
What to do at home
- Measure an eighth of cayenne pepper and place it in a cup of warm water. Ensure you drink the solution two times each day for three days. For the remainder of the week, you should increase the concentration of cayenne pepper to half a teaspoon
- Alternatively, you can choose to take the cayenne capsules, which are readily available at the local health food stores. For the capsules, you will need to take two capsules each day immediately after the morning and evening pills for at least seven days
It is considered to be friendly for people who are dealing with black specks in stool due to the fact that it comes with antibacterial properties. It helps in killing the bacteria that is responsible for causing the appearance of the specks. Additionally, it has been found that coconut water and coconut milk contain important anti-ulcer properties
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What to do at home
- Try to drink a few cups of fresh coconut water or coconut milk each day. You should also consume the kernel found in tender coconuts. Make sure to follow this particular treatment for at least seven days to get the best results.
- Another option is to take a single teaspoon of coconut oil each morning after waking up, and at night before you head to bed for one week. Given that coconut oil mainly comprises of medium-chain fatty acids, it will be easy for you to digest the oil
There are studies that have suggested that licorice can be used in preventing and treating gastrointestinal conditions known to cause the appearance of black specks.
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Licorice assists your intestines and stomach in producing mucus, which then provides a protective barrier over your stomach lining. The barrier will help in easing the pain associated with intestinal conditions, while helping speed up your healing process.
What to do at home
- Take half a tablespoon of licorice powder and place it in a glass of water. Use a lid to cover the glass, and then leave it covered for the rest of the night. When you wake up, you will need to add a single cup of cooked broken white rice into the fusion. Stir it properly and then proceed to consume it. You should make sure that you repeat this process each day for at least one week for you to get the best results.
- Alternatively, you should consider consuming licorice tea at least three times each day
- Another option will be for you to chew three licorice tables, three times each day for seven days. The tablets can be obtained from the nearest health store
The home remedy is widely known for its numerous health and healing benefits. It can be used to treat different conditions, including gastrointestinal conditions. Given that it comes with a mucilaginous compound, it ensures that the stomach lining is not damaged in any way by coating it with mucus. The mucus also helps the healing process.
What to do at home
- Boil a single teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in three glasses of water. Proceed to strain the solution and consume it after you have added a small amount of honey to the solution
- Alternatively, you can consume a single teaspoon of fenugreek powder after adding it to a cup of warm milk
- Another option is to boil a single glass of fenugreek seeds, add a small amount of honey to the fusion, and then consume it two times each day
Raw honey has been to possess potent healing properties, which assists in treating different conditions such as ulcers, which cause the black specks in stool. Honey contains an enzyme known as glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide, which is then used in killing all the harmful bacteria that may cause the appearance of the black specks.
What to do at home
- Consume two teaspoons of raw and unfiltered honey each morning before taking your breakfast
- The honey will assist in cleansing your bowel, strengthening the lining of your stomach, as well as ensuring that you will not get any infections
According to information obtained by the Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, it was discovered that garlic contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which help in maintaining the levels of H. Pylorin bacterium. It is the bacterium responsible for causing stomach ulcers.
What to do at home
- During the day, take three garlic cloves and crush them using a pestle
- Put the cloves inside a cup of water and proceed to consume it
- Ensure you drink the solution each day and it will help in eliminating any inflammation that may be present.
8. Slippery elm
Slippery elm is another remedy that can be used in dealing with black specks in stool. You will need to use the inner part of the slippery elm bark, which is known to contain large amounts of mucilage. The mucilage assists in soothing and calming inflammation as well as relieving pain.
What to do at home
- Obtain the inner bark and proceed to grind it until it becomes a fine powder
- Take this powder and combine it with a single teaspoon of warm water
- You will need to drink this water three times each day for seven days
No one apart from your health care professional is in a position to inform you on the kind of treatment that will be best eliminating the black specks in stool. In many cases, you will find that your treatment will be tailored to match the underlying cause.
Therefore, when you are at home, try to determine the kind of diet that you have been maintaining of late. You can try to withhold questionable or unhealthy food products for a few days to check whether the specks will go away.
You can do this before visiting your physician, just to be sure that your condition is not being triggered by food.