The colors of poop come in a variety of hues like the rainbow, but maybe not as beautiful. It is normally different shades of brown, but you might start to be concerned when it’s not.
To begin with, the color of stool is determined by the amount of bile in it and what you eat. Bile is a dark green to yellowish-brown fluid made by your liver and necessary for proper digestion. Your body stores it in your gallbladder, and releases the bile when you eat. The bile to breaks down the food for you to absorb the nutrients; In turn, the color of your poop is affected. However, certain colors can also be an indication of a deeper medical issue.
If you are truly concerned with the color of your poop, please seek medical attention.
Diet: Foods with red coloring; red dyes, beets, soup and tomato juice are all reasons your stool can be bright red.
Medical Reasons: Red poop can signal bleeding in the lower intestinal tract or hemorrhoids. It can also be caused by hard stool causing you to bleed and excessive wiping.
Yellow Poop (Or Orange)
Diet: Yellow or orange stool is caused by the intake of food such as turmeric, carrots, and sweet potatoes. It’s also an indication that you ate an excess of fat that the bile was not able to break down completely. Reduce your fat intake by cutting out full dairy products, baked goods, and processed meats. Enjoy healthier fats such as nuts, fish, and avocados (but still in moderation).
Medical Reasons: Poop that is yellow can be a sign that your body has too little bile from a liver or gallbladder disorder. It could also mean your body has a malabsorption disorder that causes issues with breaking down the food to absorb the nutrients:
- Celiac Disease: An intolerance of the gluten protein that causes your immune system to attack the lower intestine.
- Lactose Intolerance: Your body cannot digest the lactose in dairy products because it doesn’t produce enough of the lactase enzyme.
Stress and anxiety can also cause your digestion to be sped up and result in the body not being able to absorb all the nutrients.
Diet: A result of an intake of green vegetables, foods with green or purple dye, or certain medications such as antibiotics.
Medical Reasons: Green stool is a result of food being passed through your digestive system too quickly ( possibly diarrhea), resulting in the bile not being able to complete its process and turn the poop brown.
Diet: Dark poop is caused by foods such as licorice, iron supplements, and Pepto-Bismol.
Medical Reasons: Caused by internal bleeding that is far enough in the intestinal tract that it has time to dry and make the poop black.
Dark Brown Poop to Light Brown
Diet: What you eat will determine the exact tint of brown, but brown poop in general is a normal poop color.
Medical Reasons: A healthy digestive system
Light, Clay Colored Poop
Diet: Medications and antidiarrheals such as Pepto-Bismol can result in light colored poop.
Medical Reasons: Pale, white, or gray poop happens when there is not enough bile released into your intestines. It can mean you have a biliary obstruction such as gallstones, a tumor, or a liver problem.
When should I seek medical attention?
You should go to a doctor anytime the color of your poop is a concern, especially if the poop color is a result of blood. Also, if your poop is consistently and abnormal color, it is better to consult a licensed professional to treat the problem early.
Click here for more information on what is considered healthy poop.