Believe it or not, the color, texture and the smell of your stool can say quite a bit about your overall health. Of course, you might not be interested in judging the quality of your poop on a daily basis, but spotting black specks in your stool could be a cause for concern.
The color of our poop usually depends on the food we eat, the condition our GI tract is and whether or not there is a problem that requires medical attention (bleeding, ulcers etc). As you can see, black specks in stool don’t always point to a medical condition, but learning more about its causes can help you figure out whether you should visit your doctor or not.
As we previously stated, our poop has 3 distinct properties:
- Texture and
We can all agree that poop doesn’t have a pleasant smell at all, this is because it consists of undigested food, dead cells, mucus, and bacteria that produces foul smelling compounds rich in sulfur and nitrogen.
Some unpleasant smell is, of course, normal but a particularly strange, strong smell is not normal and should not be ignored.
You should also keep in mind that the smell of your stool can change due to certain medication, infections and if you’ve been constipated for some time.
Without getting into too much detail, we are going to go over some of the most common poop textures:
- Solid, sausage shapped – a solid sausage shaped poop is normal and is usually a sign nothing is wrong
- Solid but separated and lumpy – this is still a sign your poop is in good shape but it indicates you are lacking fibers and fluid. Drinking more water and adding some veggies to your diet should take care of this problem.
- Watery, with/without solid pieces – we all know what this is – its diarrhea. Diarrhea usually means there is an infection going on and your body is trying to flush it out. This is where I see most people getting it wrong, trying to “hold it in” and taking constipation meds, but this is just the opposite of what you should be doing. Your body is flushing out the infection and you should aid it as much as you can, but try and stop it. Just make sure you drink plenty of fluids and try to find something interesting to do while sitting on the toilet :)
- Soft and sticky – if your poop is soft and sticks to the toilet it means there is too much oil in it. Having too much oil in your stool could mean your body is not absorbing fat properly and it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.
The color of your stool can pinpoint a specific medical condition or “tell” you that there is something wrong with your diet. Here are some of the most common stool colors:
- Brown – natural brown color is usually a good sign that nothing is wrong.
- Yellow – yellow poop is usually very smelly and may be indicative of a problem with fat absorption. If it starts appearing more often, our advice is to consult with your doctor.
- Green – color green will generally depend on your diet – whether you are a lot of leafy vegetables; so it’s generally not a cause for concern.
- White – white or light colored poop is, of course, not normal and it can sometimes be due to the medication you are taking but you should definitely see a doctor about it.
- Dark – dark poop or black specks in your stool could mean you are bleeding somewhere in your GI tract or that you have an infection. It can also depend on the food you ate and, in more severe cases, it could be a symptom of cancer.
Causes Of Black Specks In Stool
Now that you’ve learned more about your poop, it is time to go back to the main topic of today’s article – reasons you are seeing back spots and specks in your poop.
Blood from the GI tract
When talking about black specks in poop, most people usually suspect blood, but this is not always the case and here is why.
Bleeding from the upper GI tract will be subjected to the digestive processes still, causing these blood specks to diffuse and “sink deeper” into the poop. As a result, there will be no visible black specks on the surface.
Bleeding from the lower GI tract will produce some distinct spots on the surface of your stool but they will be red in color.
In conclusion, bleeding from GI tract will not normally result in black spots in your stool but, since blood turns black when digested, it may sometimes happen.
Blood from the Small Intestine and/or Stomach
Taking medication can sometimes damage the lining of your stomach or intestine and cause bleeding. Ulcers can also cause bleeding in these areas resulting in small, black dots appearing on the surface of your stool.
If you notice these tiny specks, you should see a doctor.
Food we Eat
Food will have a major saying in the color and texture of our stool, so before you even begin to worry, think back to what you’ve eaten that day and see if it might have caused these dark specks and spots.
In most cases, black specks are caused by something as simple as undigested seeds, pieces of dark green vegetables, blueberries and blackberries, undercooked red meat, black pepper of coffee.
In some cases, when bacteria and parasites die off they can pass through and appear as black specks in your stool. There are also some bacteria that are found in the colon may also cause these spots as the body attempts to flush them out.
Polyps are growths, usually benign, that can grow and cause bleeding and eventually turn cancerous.
As for cancer, colorectal cancer is one of the more common cancers in the US, and one of its signs is blood in the stool…