When observing your health in general, your stool can check your inner systems, specifically your bowels, which can be impacted in many ways. As any change can be distressing, it can be hard to identify if this is an indicator of a more serious issue.
While these black spots can appear simply due to you eating darker-colored foods or taking certain supplements, there are cases with other symptoms of upper or lower gastrointestinal bleeding.
Read on further to learn more about the causes, when to see your doctor, and the possible treatments you’ll be referred to.
Table of Contents
- Reasons Your Stool Has Black Spots
- What About Younger Children?
- When To Seek Treatment?
- How To Manage Your Bowels?
- How Can DrHouse Help You?
Reasons Your Stool Has Black Spots
There may be foods in your diet that are harder to digest and cause these black spots, including figs, blueberries, plums, red meat, some types of seeds, foods with darker colors added to them, and even bananas.
Not just these, but any foods high in iron can affect your stool, including beans, dried fruit, dark leafy vegetables, and some types of seafood. This doesn’t mean you should avoid these foods altogether, but be aware of this effect and go for balance in your diet.
Supplements And Medication
As you can find supplements for those with iron deficiencies, these can also cause these black flakes on your stool, and this is only really present if you take an excessive amount of these supplements and have them in your food.
Taking medication that contains bismuth can also cause this discoloration, and you can find this in Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate, and Kola-Pectin. A doctor can test these to rule out the possibility of blood in the stool sample.
In the case of stomach ulcers that can cause bleeding, certain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen may cause this. If so, you’ll be advised to avoid these medications, and a different type could be prescribed to fight a bacterial infection if this occurs.
This is where the presence of black on your stool can be severe, as it could be an indicator of lower or upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and the level of the issue can be found where upper GI bleeding happens when stools are made black by darker blood.
A tear, inflammation, and cancerous lesions can cause the cause of this bleeding in the upper section. It can be pretty common if you experience more occurring and severe symptoms, which is why it can be hard to identify.
There is also colitis, which is a disorder that causes ulcers to form in the large intestine. As the causes are unclear, it can be especially hard to locate and refer to treatment as it may require more in-depth examination.
Other issues in your body can cause this, including esophageal varices, gastroesophageal reflux disease, liver issues, or stomach ulcers.
Complications with certain medications can cause these, as well as increased pressure in the abdomen, being overweight, pregnant, and smoking.
While many of these causes can be managed depending on the severity of the issue, some may be prescribed medications or advised to avoid certain foods or decrease their food intake.
What About Younger Children?
In young babies, the appearance of black stools can be typical as these are known as meconium stools, which happen as the stool was created in the womb and the bacteria that appear in stools are present yet.
The same causes above can apply to children and extend to if they ingest something that can flake off and cause these black specks.
This is why it’s essential to monitor your children so they don’t consume larger quantities of items like paper that can cause more underlying abdominal issues if not appropriately managed.
When To Seek Treatment?
If you don’t find any symptoms causing you pain in the bowel area, it could be as simple as something you ate or supplements you’re on. If this is the case, stop consuming them for a few days and see if there is any change to your stool.
Suppose you discover symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, upset stomach, or greasy stools. In that case, you’ll want to make an appointment with your doctor, especially if the pain you experience doesn’t go away after three days.
It’s essential to seek medical attention as the earlier the issue is diagnosed, the easier it can be to treat, and it lowers the chances of potentially invasive treatments.
If there are signs of bleeding in the upper or lower areas of your intestine, your doctor can burn or cauterize the area, so it stops bleeding. If this continues or symptoms are more consistent, these may be signs of inflammatory bowel disease, leading to other issues.
How To Manage Your Bowels?
If you’ve had treatment, you will want to manage your lifestyle. So there aren’t any future complications, you can start by gradually drinking plenty of water, adding high-fiber foods, getting more active, balancing your diet, and being mindful of your posture when on the toilet.
There is also a chance that you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, and there may be certain foods specific to you or habits that cause flair-ups, so you want to cut these out when possible, so your time in the bathroom is more comfortable.
You can also look to foods that are kind to your gut health, such as yogurt, almonds, olive oil, kimchi, leafy greens, apples, and ginger. If you add these to your diet, you can also see improvement in your bowel movements and reduce inflammation.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
With DrHouse, you can start on-demand online doctors visits whenever necessary and get the help you need to ensure you have a healthy gut. From diagnosing issues like black stool to helping with other conditions, our team is always here to support your health journey.
Our clinicians can help you identify any underlying issues that may be causing your black stool, create a plan for managing it, prescribe any necessary medications, and provide more advice on how to keep your gut healthy.
We want to ensure our patients have the best care possible and are here to provide answers and treatments quickly and conveniently. So don’t hesitate to reach out!
Many of these symptoms can occur quite often, so they can get confused for general discomfort. If you feel they happen for longer and are more painful, you should consult a doctor to get a thorough examination to identify any issues that are causing the pain.
- Digestive diseases. MedlinePlus. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007447.htm#
- Gastrointestinal Diseases. Cleveland Clinic. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7040-gastrointestinal-diseases
- How Your Diet Can Affect Your Poop Color. Cleveland Clinic. Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-your-diet-can-affect-your-poop-color/
- Stool Colors. WebMD. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-do-different-poop-colors-mean
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.