black specks in stool

Black Specks in Stool: Top 5 Causes and Effective Treatments

Have you ever noticed black specks in your stool and wondered what they might mean? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

For adult stools, black specks sometimes come from undigested food, but sometimes black specks in stool might also signify something is wrong.

And in newborn babies, black poop can be meconium.

Everyday factors such as diet or mild gastrointestinal distress may also influence the color of the stool.

Many people experience this at some point, and it’s essential to understand the potential causes and when to seek medical advice.

In this article, we’ll delve into the various reasons behind black specks in both adult and baby stools, discuss available treatments, and guide you on when it’s time to consult a doctor

Related article you might also like to read: Its Our Top 5 Pick of Food To Eat When You Have Blood In Stool.

Understanding the Digestive System and Stool

UNDERSTANDING the Digestive System and Stool

In order to better comprehend the potential causes of black specks in stool, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the digestive system.

The process of digestion involves breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste products.

Stool, or feces, is the solid waste product that is eliminated through the rectum and anus.

Its color, consistency, and appearance can provide valuable insights into an individual’s overall health and digestive functioning.

What are black specks in stool?

What are black specks in stool

Your stool is a mixture of water, undigested food (mostly fiber), mucus, and bacteria. Because of the presence of bile that is broken down by the intestinal bacteria, the stool is usually brown.

There are times, though when the color of your stool may change.

Simply because stool is mostly the product of the foods you eat, black stool specks are usually the result of your diet.

However, there are some exceptions.

Black specks or flecks in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may be old blood. And blood in the stool can be a medical emergency, understanding when to worry about black specks in the stool is essential.

Mayo Clinic

Healthy bowel movements are usually a medium brown color, and in shape are long and smooth.

There is no pain when doing number two. When the stool is light in color, black specks are more noticeable than when it is darker.

The black specks may look visually like dark patches in the stool, or small thin flecks.

5 Common Causes of Black Specks in the Stool

Common causes of black specks in stool

The 5 common causes of black specks in the stool may include:

  • Diet

Many foods are more difficult to digest than others, such as skins or fruit seeds. The following foods can leave the stool with black specks: blackberries, blueberries, black beans, and plums.

Food coloring may also cause the stool to change color, as the body may have difficulty digesting artificial coloring. Black licorice, for example, can turn the stool black or very dark brown.

Susan noticed black specks in her stool after eating a large bowl of blackberries the previous day.

The undigested seeds from the fruit were the cause of the specks, and there was no need for concern

This condition is not necessarily a problem, though if it lasts, it could imply that a Susan eats an unbalanced diet.

  • Medication

Some medicines can change the stool’s color temporarily.

In some intestinal drugs, Bismuth, an active ingredient, combines with the small amount of sulfur in the saliva and stomach of a patient to briefly add black color to the stool and sometimes the tongue.

The transient change of color is harmless and should vanish within a couple of days of using the drug.

If you have recently begun to take a new or more prescription-the-counter drug, you should consult a doctor about possible stool changes.

  • Iron supplements

Iron supplements, or food rich in iron, will turn black on the stool. A sudden change may mean a person gets too much iron. Black stools in a child may indicate too many iron pills being taken.

  • Problem with the liver

A person suffering from liver disease may pass out black specks in the stool because the disease can cause bleeding in the patient’s digestive tract. This complication is called esophageal varices or portal hypertension.

  • Intestinal bleeding

Bleeding may render the feces look black in the gastrointestinal tract, such as in the abdomen or intestines. The blood tends to be darker if the bleeding occurs higher up in the digestive system.

However, an individual should see their doctor if they are experiencing the following symptoms:

  1. Blood in the stool
  2. Black, tarry stools
  3. Fainting
  4. Stomach pain
  5. Vomiting
  6. Sweating
  7. Rapid heart rate

Black specks in babies’ stool

Black speck in babies stool

“Meconium” is usually the cause of black, tarry stools in newborns. A newborn’s stool is dark because they do not yet possess the usual friendly gut bacteria that helps people digest their food and have bowel movements.

Once the baby leaves the womb, bacteria colonize their intestines, usually in the first days after birth, and the stools gradually become lighter.

Black stool in a baby over a week is unlikely to be meconium. For the same reasons as adults, older babies may develop black specks in their stools.

Because babies are more susceptible to infections and diseases than adults, it is necessary to alert a pediatrician of changes in their stools immediately.

FOR BABIES: When to take a baby to see the doctor for black specks in stool

A baby should be taken to see a doctor if, in addition to black stools, they also show signs of:

  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Lethargy
  • Apparent distress
  • Fever

A physician should see newborns soon if the black color is not attributed to meconium.

FOR ADULTS: When to see a doctor for black specks in adult stool

People who otherwise feel healthy and have no chronic diseases can wait for a day or two to see if the black spots in their stool will go away.

For black spots in an adult stool, such a person should seek medical attention if they have:

  • A fever
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • A history of liver disease
  • Signs of a parasitic infection, such as unexplained worms in stool or weight loss
  • Yellow or green eyes or skin

Patients who have had black specks for more than a day or two in their stool should see a specialist if they do not take medication that makes the stool black.

Likewise, if they can’t explain the color of any food they’ve recently eaten, they should see a physician.

For Elderly: When to see a doctor for black specks in adult stool

It’s especially crucial for elderly people to get medical help if they notice black specks in their stools.

Black specks in stool can occasionally be a sign of a serious medical issue because as we age, our bodies become more prone to various illnesses.

If you notice black specks in your stool as an elderly person and have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:

  • Fever
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • History of liver disease
  • Signs of a parasitic infection
  • Yellow or green eyes or skin

It’s important to see a specialist for a more thorough evaluation if you have black specks in your stool that last for more than a day or two and are not related to medication or food.

For additional assessment and treatment, your doctor might advise diagnostic tests or refer you to a gastroenterologist.

You can visit here, to get some answers to your poop questions.

Treatment for Black Specks in Stool

Treatment for black specks in stool

Finding the right treatment for black specks in your stool starts with understanding the root cause.

Once your doctor pinpoints the issue, they may suggest one of the following treatment options tailored to your specific situation.

  • Your doctor might ask for a stool sample and take a thorough medical history from the patient.
  • It might also be necessary to perform imaging tests on the colon, stomach, or other gastrointestinal organs.
  • Management of liver disease: A person with liver disease may need to stay in the hospital, take medication, make lifestyle changes, and, in some circumstances, undergo surgery.
  • Changing one’s diet may help prevent future occurrences if the black specks are caused by undigested food or food coloring, the doctor may advise.
  • Treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding: If internal bleeding is the underlying condition, a doctor will first identify the source before recommending the best course of action, which may include medication, surgery, or endoscopic procedures..
  • A doctor may change the dosage or prescribe an alternative medication if a medication, such as bismuth-containing drugs or iron supplements, is the cause of the black specks.

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black specks in stool

What is the primary cause of black speck in adult stool?

BBlack stool specks in adult stool are usually the result of variety of factors such as diet, gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, medications, iron supplements, and certain medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

What is the major cause of black speck in baby stool?

Meconium is normally the cause of black, tarry stools in newborns.

When do you see a doctor for black specks in stool?

Patients who have had black specks for more than a day or two in their stool should see a specialist if they do not take medication that makes the stool black.

How can I prevent black specks in stool?

Black specks in stool caused by diet can be prevented by avoiding certain foods such as licorice, blueberries, and iron supplements.
However, if the cause is due to an underlying medical condition, it may not be preventable. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated can help prevent gastrointestinal problems that may lead to black specks in stool.

What is the treatment for black specks in stool?

The treatment for black specks in stool depends on the underlying cause. If it is caused by a medical condition, the doctor will treat the condition. If it is due to diet or medication, making changes in diet or medication may be recommended.


In conclusion, black specks in stool can result from various causes, including dietary factors, medications, and medical conditions.

While some cases may be harmless, others could signal a more serious issue.

If you are concerned about black specks in your or your baby’s stool, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Remember that timely intervention is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being

We hope this article has helped you better understand the potential causes of black specks in stool and when to seek medical advice.

If you have any experiences, questions, or thoughts to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Your feedback and insights can help others who may be facing similar concerns.

Let’s create a supportive community around this topic and help each other maintain our health and well-being.

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