Spotting blood in stool is one sign people are scared of as they start thinking that they have a serious disease. It is not normal to have blood in stool and it certainly needs one to seek medical attention. But presence of blood in stool takes certain forms such as black stool or red stool. This is mainly based on which part of the gut the bleeding could be occurring. However, there is one complex topic that does not seem to have clear answers.
When people see dark or black spots in stool, they may confuse them with black stools. Different explanations have been brought forward as to what could cause the stool to have black specks or dots. It may not necessarily be related to bleeding in GI tract but there is need for people who experience such signs to consider seeking medical help especially when it happens for quite some time and have ruled out the possibility of the specks being caused by some food one ate.
Changes in stool color
Stool begins out with green color and turns bright yellow when moving through digestive tract. When it mixes with bile and bacteria, it turns brown. A normal person would release brown stool but when the color is green, black, or yellow, it might indicate a problem. The color of stool may vary significantly and could also be a clue for various diseases and conditions affecting the gut.
Normal stool appears brown because of its composition. Bacteria, bile, water, bilirubin, indigestible plant matter such cellulose, broken down red blood cells, and some amounts of fat and protein all contribute to the color of stool. When your stool appears red, it indicates presence of bleeding within the lower GI tract from condition like diverticulitis and hemorrhoids. It may also signify a more serious condition such as rectal cancer.
Indigested red food coloring and beets could make the stool to appear red. When there is rapid transit of stool in intestines, it makes it to come out green. This is because there is no enough time for bile to break down the stool to its final brown color. Green stool could also be a sign of Crohn’s disease, indigestion of leafy greens, use of antibiotics, or iron therapy.
When you have yellow stool, it could be as a result of dysfunctional gallbladder that causes improper handling of the bile. Black stool may be caused by bleeding occurring in the upper GI tract but it could also be seen in people who use iron therapy, take heavy meat, and use compounds containing bismuth.
Possible causes of black dots in stool
It is not likely that blood from GI would appear as dry flecks on stool. While it is true that blood turns black when it is digested, however, when you see black dots, they may not necessarily mean that there is blood. In most cases, the black dots may be caused by particles from food or things one has eaten.
Bleeding from upper GI is subjected to churning and digestive actions of gut and most probably, the stool including any blood present is diffusely black and may not indicate black spots or flecks on surface. Bleeding in lower segments of GI can occur but this will present red color in stool. The black specs you see on stool could be due to intake of foods or fruits like banana. This is quite common and usually, there is no course for alarm.
Other possible causes, which may contribute to black dots in stool, are blood from duodenum or stomach. Taking aspirin may cause many small areas of the stomach mucosa to bleed and this could result to black spots. If you are seeing black specks in stool, you may want to check what you are eating. If you have taken bananas, this might be a possible cause. You can do a simple elimination test at home by not eating the bananas and then examine if there are changes in the stool. Other things you take like pepper could also cause such signs. Undigested seeds of fruits may also present in form of black dots in stool.
When to seek medical help
You should seek medical attention to rule out any possibility of bleeding occurring within the upper gastrointestinal part. If you have other symptoms accompanying the black specks in stool such a pain in abdomen, cramps, change in bowel movement, diarrhea, or lack of appetite, you need to consult with a doctor.
Tests can be conducted to help determine the cause of such specks. If the cause is from eating certain foods, it would easily be detected when one avoids the food or fruits. But when one eliminates the food item and still the specks continue to appear in stool, it should be treated as something that needs medical attention.