Gross subject: Hi everyone. I know it's... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Gross subject

ToughToes
ToughToes

Hi everyone. I know it's an unpleasant topic, but has anybody here ever experienced tiny black specks/dots on the toilet paper after a bowel movement?

37 Replies

Blood in your stool can appear as black dots, serious bleeding may make it black and sticky so if this continues or indeed becomes more than just the wee dots then get yourself checked out.

Less serious causes of black dots in stools can be related to foods you may have eaten "Certain foods in your diet or certain ingredients in your food may cause black spots in your stool when they are not digested properly. These include black pepper, paprika, bananas, and dark pudding. Some dark-coloured fruits may also cause dark discoloration of the stool leading to black spots in the faeces."

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks. I realize that blood in your GI tract can cause black stools. But, in my case, the stools look normal, there's just a few tiny black specks, like coffee grinds, on the TP after wiping. Also, it seems to occur more often when it's diarrhea than a normal bowel movement.

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

Black specks can be blood too.

What are black specks in stool?

Your stool is a combination of water, undigested food material (mostly fiber), mucus, and bacteria. Commonly, stool is brown in color due to the presence of bile that the intestinal bacteria break down. However, there are times when your stool may change in color.

Because stool is largely the result of what foods you eat, black specks in stool are commonly a result of your diet. Some exceptions exist, though. Black specks or flecks can be old blood present in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Because blood in the stool can be a medical emergency, it’s important to understand when to worry about black specks in stool.

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks again Katie. You sound like you've had some experience in this area?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

My hubby almost died from a massive variceal bleed and one of the first signs he witnessed was blood in his stool both black sticky and fresh red blood. One of the things we keep an eye on whilst monitoring his cirrhosis is changes to bowel habit and stool colour etc.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

But, with your husband, the stool was all black and tarry? Not tiny black specks. Correct?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

Not always as I understand though I never saw it (obviously).

The best thing for you to do if this continues is to definitely get checked out by your doctor.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

I am. On Tuesday. Did he have any other signs he had esophageal varices aside from the bloody stool?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

None what so ever right up until he started vomiting blood (fresh red and the typical coffee granule like clots). We didn't even know he had liver disease at that point, it came completely out of the blue and as a t-total guy all his life it was rather a huge shock. Turned out he had auto-immune liver disease which damaged his liver to the point of decompensated cirrhosis.

Glad you are seeing a doctor to get checked out. Always the best course of action.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Very sorry to hear about upir husband. Cirrhosis, to be honest, is my biggest fear. I hope you don't mind my questions? Did he ever have jaundice? Or ascites/edema?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

He was jaundiced on admittance to hospital after his bleed (this was in April 2012), he has thank fully never had ascites or oedema but the major side effect of his portal hypertension was the varices in his oesophagus and he has had 42 banded.

Hubby was listed for transplant in 2014 but stabilized sufficiently to come off the list after 10 months and is currently stable. Not 100% fit but not healthy either.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Glad to hear. So, he coughed up blood before seeing it in his stool? Did he experience any other symptoms? Such as any pain/discomfort on his upper right abdomen? Reddish palms? Itching? And, how were the varices detected?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

He was seeing blood in his stool for several weeks before vomiting it up (it wasn't coughing it was full on vomiting blood).

His symptoms up to that point had been a bit mixed and his doctor had prescribed him with stress and anxiety in January 2010 - he'd been having sleepless nights, serious nose bleeds, irregular bowel habit, libido issues & horrendous heartburn/indigestion type pains since 2008 but because at the same time he was under a lot of stress whilst caring for his dad with dementia doctor plumped for the anxiety/stress label without doing any physical tests.

The blood was in his stool for several weeks before the night he vomited blood up and was admitted to hospital where it was found he had deranged blood tests, bleeding from varices, portal hypertensive gastropathy and auto immune cirrhosis.

This came out of the blue because his symptoms had been put down to stress and anxiety though when I looked at the BLT page on cirrhosis I could tick off a fair few more symptoms that had been there but not picked up by anyone - things like clubbed & clawed finger tips, red palms, spider angioma, libido problems, no sexual function, sleep disturbance, lack of energy and other things.

He never noticed any pain in his side or itching and up to 2008 he was a fit, long distance walker, hill climber and worked a hard job in heavy engineering

BLT page on cirrhosis is great for filling you in on details britishlivertrust.org.uk/in...

Best wishes for your doctor visit on Tuesday.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks very much Katie. I'll check it out. Just one more question, if I may. Did he lose his appetite or have unexplained weight loss?

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

Never lost his appetite but never carried much weight all his life as his walking was at the extreme end of active - he was doing 40+ mile walking days, three week long holiday walks of 400+ miles, 100 mile challenge walks etc so he was always lean at 8 1/2 stone (max) and a 28 inch waist. However, when he was seen by transplant unit dietician he was deemed as malnourished and had lost all muscle mass so was put on a diet plan which rebuilt both weight and muscle mass and he now sits about 10 1/2 stone with a 34 - 36 inch waist.

His walking days now are a maximum of 10 miles and sometimes even a one mile day is enough to completely wipe him out.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

Wow! I didn't completely eliminate drinking, but cut back enormously about s month ago in terms of both the amount and frequency. I'm hoping it's because of the drastic reduction in calories from and not cirrhosis, but I'm a bit concerned that I've lost about 8-9 lbs since I cut back a little over three weeks ago.

doctor advised my husband to Stool Exam & Occult Blood as the first step, if required then further test

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to Longan

What was your husband's situation at the time?

Longan
Longan in reply to ToughToes

There was nothing wrong as such , Doctor advised to report if any change to stool color ETC.

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to Longan

I mean what prompted the Dr to recommend that. Did he have liver disease? Did he have blacks specks in his stool?

Longan
Longan in reply to ToughToes

Liver cirrhosis

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to Longan

Thanks. But, he never had black stools or blacks spots in his stool?

Hiya. I had bleeding varices about 2 years ago. I went from feeling fine to very poorly within 24 hours. I had cooked our dinner and suddenly felt shocking so went to lie down, within a couple of hours felt very sick and it was all blood 😲. I went to A&E and vomitted probably 3 litres. Spent the next 5 days in hospital. Not pleasant. Please get checked out if you're not feeling right ☺️

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to mattymoo33

Thanks for your response. By all blood, do you mean your stool was all red, black, or with black specks throughout it?

Hi honey. I vomitted lots of blood which was black and looked as though it had coffee grounds. I didn't notice any difference in my poo until later, when in hospital and that was black. It's frightening, but the best you can do is contact your GP. Hope you're ok 😊

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to mattymoo33

Thanks. I did contact my Dr. I haven't vomited anything and my stool has never been all black, or tarry, just a few tiny black specks. If I may ask, what is your condition?

I have decompensated cirrhosis due to alcohol. I was on the transplant list but deemed too well. Not had any alcohol for over 3 years. It's a horrible situation, but worth the battle 😊

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to mattymoo33

I see. Well, stay strong. I'm having a scope tomorrow and am praying the doc doesn't see any varies. May i ask what your first symptoms were?

Of varices or cirrhosis? Happy to answer any questions but my phone goes off at 7pm, so will respond tomorrow. Have a good evening and try not to worry 😊

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to mattymoo33

Symptoms of cirrhosis? And of varices, if there were any?

Oh, and if you could possibly answer before 7, I'd really appreciate it, as I super stressed over tomorrow and could use a little reassurance, if there is any.

AyrshireK
AyrshireK in reply to ToughToes

What do you need in the way of reassurance. It sounds like medics have moved fast if you are having an endoscopy tomorrow. How long have you been seeing the black spots in your stool that a scope has already been arranged.

As mentioned in one of my earlier replies this can be dietary related but obviously there is some concern that it might be blood hence the scan.

Katie

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to AyrshireK

I guess reassurance, as in if I haven't experienced any or most of the earliest symptoms of cirrhosis and varies that you did, it would give me hope that maybe that's not what I'm dealing with. I first noticed the black specks at the end of August, but it took 5 months to get into see the GI specialist. I spoke to him about a month ago (because of covid, like most Dr's, he isn't doing in person appointments) and that's when he booked the scope.

Sorry Katie, I thought I was talking to mattymoo33.

Sorry I didn't reply earlier. My cirrhosis symptoms were jaundice, bruising, ascites. Varices symptoms were feeling very tired and very sick, but that was within 12 hours. Please try not to worry. I'm sure you'll have reassurance and treatment (if necessary) today. I'll be thinking of you. Let us know how it goes 😊

ToughToes
ToughToes in reply to mattymoo33

Thanks very much. Did you have what are often referred to as "liver palms" where the palms of your hands are kind of blotchy pinkish/reddish? Or edema (swelling around your ankles and feet)?

Thanks again,

Terry

How did you get on with your scope Terry? Hope you got the all clear.

Katie