Q: It’s been two weeks now and my poop is green. What does that mean?
A: This question reminds me of an old show I used to watch, ‘You are what you eat.’ It involved amongst other things, an examination of stool to determine ones diet and body. I found it fascinating…useful but also disgusting! 😀
Stool can take a variety of colours depending on diet and the quantity of bile in the faeces. Bile is initially bright green in colour and gets progressively darker/brown as the bile is acted on by chemicals and bacteria on its journey through the intestines.
Let’s take a look at different colors of poop and what they mean – this sounds absolutely disgusting! 😀
Brown – Normal stool colour. Bilirubin in blood, when broken down, ends up in the intestine. It is then acted upon by gut bacteria, which turn it brown.
White – No bile in stool or the patient could be taking some of those chalky anti-diarrheal medicines
Green – This could be due to food moving too quickly through the intestines and therefore the bile pigments not being acted upon by bacteria and other chemicals in the gastrointestinal tract. A good example of this sort of situation is diarrhea. However, eating a lot of green, leafy veggies, eating food with green colouring, taking a course of antibiotics (which changes the normal type of bacteria found in the gut and consequently, the stool colour) and some bacteria like Salmonella, can also turn stool green
Red – This signifies bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract or the presence of red food dyes in drinks and/or food. In situations like haemorrhoids where blood is ‘splashed’ on the stool, there are typically complaints of red stool colour
Black or dark brown – This could be due to bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract and/or use of iron supplements
Yellow – Excess fats and/or infections of the small intestine
I hope this helps.
All the best!