Poop Looks Like Coffee Grounds – Causes and Treatments

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • A poop that looks like coffee grounds indicates bleeding in the digestive tract or you have eaten something. 
  • Melena can be caused by issues like peptic ulcers, gastritis, and upper digestive tract bleeding.
  • If you notice persistent symptoms, seek medical evaluation for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early action is essential for better outcomes.

Do you know what sucks? Being a coffee lover and having the sight of poop resembling a cup of coffee grounds. Fret not, for you’re not alone in this devastating experience.

Let’s unveil why poop looks like coffee grounds and when to seek medical attention- an intriguing topic that decodes the enigma behind unusual bowel movements.

Coffee ground-looking stools are basically the changed color of your normal medium brown solid texture poop replaced by black or dark brown specks. This happens because of two main reasons. Probably because you have eaten something or bleeding occurred in your Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract). But these two are not just two reasons to rely upon.

How Concerning Is It If Your Stool Looks Like Coffee Grounds?

If you have poop looking like coffee grounds, it may be concerning. Especially if it is due to colitis, bleeding ulcer, GI cancers, or hemorrhoids. You will need immediate medical attention for that.

Some people also have stools that look like coffee grounds accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting like coffee grounds, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, lightheadedness, several days of melena, and blood in your stools.

If your symptoms persist or worsen over weeks, you should not delay seeking professional help. Let’s dive deep into the causes and treatments of why your poop may look like coffee grounds.

Confused about the severity of your symptoms? Consult a doctor online

Poop That Looks Like Green Coffee Grounds

Poop looking like green specks is called Melena, and they can be of the same causes as black ones. It can be an indication of any medical condition like bacterial or parasitic infection, or it can be the undigested food item you have eaten.

Causes of Black Specks in Poop

Our poop comprises waste material and water excreted by the body after going through a rigorous metabolism. It also indicates our general health expressed in terms of its texture and color. 

Deviation from normal poop color, texture, and frequency of going to the low will give you an idea about where and when you went wrong with your diet. Different appearances, for instance, white and black specks, indicate certain medical conditions in the body and need medical attention.

Let’s discuss every cause in detail : 

  • Consumption of foods with dark pigments: Consumption of foods with dark pigments, e.g., blueberries, beets, or dark chocolate, can be less likely to dissolve entirely and can be shown as black specks in your poop.
  • Iron-containing foods: Foods or medications that have iron or iron supplements can cause the appearance of black specks in the stool.
  • Charcoal:  Activated charcoal, when taken for certain medical emergencies, including poisoning, can appear in the form of black specks in your bowel movement or poop.
  • GIT bleeding: Bleeding in the upper digestive tract, like the stomach or upper small intestine, can lead to black, tarry stools known as “Melena” (specific to the upper digestive tract). This may be due to conditions like peptic ulcers or gastritis.
  • Medication: A medication like Bismuth Subsalicylate of Pepto Bismol effects can easily be seen in the stool. Certain medications or supplements may also interact with the digestive system, affecting bowel movement as well as appearance in texture.
  • Gastrointestinal malignancies: Black specks in your stools, rarely, can be indicative of gastric cancers. It’s good to seek medication attention if the symptom of black specks persists.
  • Specific medical conditions: Medical conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease affect the absorption of nutrients in the GIT and can affect the texture, color, or poop. Infections like bacterial or parasitic in the gut can impact bowel movement and texture.
  • Anal fissures or hemorrhoids: In some cases, small amounts of blood from anal fissures (tears in the anal lining) or hemorrhoids can mix with stool, leading to the appearance of black specks.
  • Ingestion of foreign objects: Accidentally consuming indigestible non-food items, like small plastic pieces or metal fragments, can sometimes show up in the stool as black specks.

Read More: Common Causes of Blood Clots in Stools


Some common symptoms other than Black specks are as follows :

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargic and uneasiness throughout the day
  • Heart rate fluctuations
  • Stomach pain, grayish stool movements

What Does Coffee Ground Stool Look Like?

The normal poop would look like solid medium brown with no extra texture or specks.

The coffee ground stool is a specific type of stool appearance characterized by its dark color and granular, coffee-ground-like texture.
It typically appears black or very dark, similar to the grounds left at the bottom of a coffee cup after brewing.

It’s important to note that coffee ground specks in poop are not directly or indirectly related to consuming more coffee or any coffee-related foods. Instead, there are a variety of reasons why it can happen.

What Should I Do About The Grounds?

It’s uncommon to see black or green specks in your stool. Consider remembering the food you have eaten in the last 48 hours. If the symptoms disappear the second or third time, you can definitely blame the food you have eaten.

If not, it’s just the right time to see the doctor and discuss all the signs and any symptoms before it’s too late. Early diagnosis and prevention is much better than any further treatment courses.


There isn’t much you can do about treating black or green specks in the stools. Food that causes a black or green appearance can be avoided until black spots in your poop disappear. If it still doesn’t. It’s good to see your healthcare provider.

Not sure why your poop resembles coffee grounds? Get professional advice

See a Doctor

Schedule a consultation with your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and frequency. Only healthcare givers will be able to articulate your situation and determine the correct diagnosis.

Remember, early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in your overall health. So, don’t hesitate – seek a medical appointment and take the first step towards addressing the issue.

FAQs About Coffee Ground Stool

Is Coffee Ground Stool an Emergency?

Yes, if your stool looks like coffee grounds or you notice red streaks in it you should talk to your healthcare provider immediately. It may or may not be a medical emergency depending upon the cause.

How can I fix my black stool at home?

Just look at what you have eaten in the last 24-48 hours. If it’s something that you can avoid and symptoms disappear you probably have fixed it. If it still persists, you probably can’t do anything at home without medical help.

Does ulcer cause black stool?

Yes, it does. It’s good to get yourself checked by a medical caregiver for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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