Most shades of brown, even a greenish brown, are considered normal and healthy for poop. shades of brown can vary from day to day, depending on the foods you eat and the amount of bile in your system.
But if the color of your poop is significantly different than normal brown, it could also be caused by a health condition or medication. Let’s see what the different colors could mean.
Green poop can be the result of several causes. For example, eating a lot of dark green vegetables, such as broccoli or kale, can cause greenish poop. There is no health issue or cause for concern in this case.
Other causes of green poop can be due to:
- antibiotics. Antibiotics can kill bacteria that help turn stools brown. this is usually a temporary condition. once you stop taking the medications, your poop should return to its normal color.
- bacterial infections. Some bacteria, such as salmonella, that don’t normally reside in the gut, can change the color of poop from brown to green or other colors. viral infections and parasites can do the same. With a severe infection, you’ll also have other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, fever, or diarrhea.
- gastrointestinal disorders. conditions like crohn’s disease and celiac disease can cause green poop, depending on what you’ve been eating.
- take iron supplements
- eating large amounts of black or dark foods, such as licorice
- take pepto bismol, which contains the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylate which is known to make poop black or grayish in color
- celiac disease
- orange or yellow foods in your diet
- stress, which can speed up the digestive process
- inflammatory bowel disease
- colonic polyps
- anal fissures
- intestinal infection
- biliary cirrhosis
- structural defects in your biliary system
- viral hepatitis
- alcoholic hepatitis
- cysts or tumors in the biliary system
When your poop turns black, it could be a sign that there is bleeding in the upper part of your digestive tract. this could be due to a stomach ulcer or some other bleeding problem. blood mixing with bile and other digestive fluids can turn poop black and tarry.
Less serious causes of black poop can be due to:
If you have repeated bowel movements of black, tarry poop, it’s important to follow up with your doctor as soon as possible.
Yellow poop can have many causes. disorders that affect the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas may play a role in yellow poop. That’s because conditions that affect these organs can interfere with the amount of bile used for digestion.
In babies, yellow poop can also be a sign that digestion is moving too fast and the body is not absorbing all the fat from food.
Other possible causes of yellow poop include:
The sight of red poop can be especially alarming.
If you have diarrhea and your poop is red, it could be a sign that you have a viral or bacterial infection, such as E. coli, or rotavirus, which is sometimes called the stomach flu or stomach virus.
Red poop can also be the result of bleeding in the lower digestive tract. this could be due to:
Food coloring, such as that found in fruit punch, red candy, or gelatin, can also temporarily turn poop red.
pale or gray
Pale or clay-colored poop is often a sign that your body isn’t producing healthy levels of bile. It could also be a sign that there are blockages in the bile ducts of the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. this could be due to conditions such as:
Pale or clay-colored poop can also be a warning sign of:
Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), birth control pills, some antibiotics, and anabolic steroids can also make your poop pale in color.