By Dr. Charles-Davies
Many people do not pay attention to their poop, but a glance can reveal information about the changes in color that may need further investigation. The color of your poop can give a lot of information about your overall health.
Based on the colors, there are different types of poop. Not all changes in poop color signify a disease condition. So, it is always good to be vigilant to promptly notice any abnormal change in your poop color.
Always consult your doctor about new symptoms concerning your stool.
This poop color chart explains what different colors of poop signify:
What Are The Different Poop Colors?
There are different types of poop colors ranging from pale, black, green, red, orange, yellow to brown. Each of these colors can signify changes in diet or a disease condition.
What Different Poop Colors Mean
Grey, Pale Or White Poop
This type of poop can be as a result of a decrease in bile production. Bile salts in the intestines are responsible for the brown tinge of stools.
When a poop lacks bile, it becomes grey, pale or white colored. This could mean there is decreased production of bile due to liver disease or there is a blockage of bile arising from conditions affecting the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
Furthermore, a pale or white stool may also greasy, floating, and foul-smelling, due to the presence of undigested fat in the stool. Certain medications can also give your stool a temporary pale or grey color. Such medications include: as anti-diarrheal drugs, bismuth or after a barium enema test.
Black poop may be an indication of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach or esophagus. This type of poop is almost black, dark, or tarry and have a consistent thickness. Medical conditions such as esophageal varices, gastritis, gastric ulcers or duodenal ulcers and Mallory-Weiss tear, can give a black poop.
Your poop can become dark if you recently ingested certain foods, supplements, and medications. These supplements include:
- Iron supplements
- Activated charcoal supplements
- Dark foods such as blueberries, black licorice, Oreo cookies, grape juice or blackberries.
If you experience black stool and you have not taken supplements or food related to such recently, please consult see your doctor as soon as possible.
With constipation, your poop can also appear darker. Dark green stool from bile that hasn’t had time to break down may look black.
Green poop commonly occurs if you have taken a lot of green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale. This is normal and should not give you a cause to be alarmed. Furthermore, a green poop due to high consumption of leafy vegetables should not deter you from eating more of it as they are rich in antioxidants that help to fight diseases.
Another reason you could experience green poop may be due to any condition that hastens up intestinal activity. If you.ve had a recent change in your diet, then you can pass green stool.
If you experience a poop that is colored bright red, it is more likely due to blood in the stool which could come from bleeding in the lower gastrointestinal tract, such as the large intestine or rectum.
Conditions in the lower gastrointestinal tract that could give rise to red poop include hemorrhoids, colon cancer anal fissures, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, or arteriovenous malformations.
If you experience red poop, please consult your doctor for further evaluation. Blood in stool doesn’t always appear bright red. Blood may be also present in stool but not visible, called “occult” blood. In that case, tests may be used to detect hidden blood in the poop.
On rare occasions, red poop can be caused by eating too much red colored foods like beets, tomato juice or soup, cranberries, or, or red food coloring such as red or grape Kool-Aid or.
Orange poop is most likely due to eating foods that are orange in color. Any food with an artificial yellow or orange coloring can cause orange stool and they include:
- Any food with an artificial yellow or orange coloring
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Collard greens
- Fresh thyme
- Turnip greens
Certain medications such as antacids and rifampicin can also give rise to orange poop. Although it is less common, a problem with the gall bladder can also give rise to orange poop.
A yellow poop may indicate that there is excess fat in your stool. This condition can arise as a result of disruption in the lining of the intestine. Such disease conditions include celiac disease.
Disorders affecting the liver, pancreas or gallbladder can also lead to increase fat in stool giving rise to a yellow poop. This type of stool (or diarrhea) usually looks greasy and may be foul-smelling, frothy, or float in the toilet bowl.
It can also be a symptom of an intestinal infection, especially if the yellow poop is accompanied by diarrhea, stomach upsets and flu-like symptoms. Giardiasis is an infection of the small intestine caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia that could cause yellow poop or diarrhea. Furthermore, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and those taking medication for GERD may have yellow poop sometimes.
Not all yellow poop signify disease condition, it may simply mean you have consumed foods high in carrots, turmeric, sweet potatoes or yellow food coloring.
The normal color of poop is brown. Normal poop should generally be formed and some shade of brown. Poop should be excreted out of the body with little straining or discomfort. In addition, the consistency should be toothpaste-like and look more like a banana rather than a pencil. In addition, blood and mucus should be absent from your poop.
Variations in the appearance of your poop from day to day are often due to what you eat or drink. However, if you notice a persistent change in the color, shape or texture of your poop or changes in bowel habit, consult your doctor.
About the Author
Guest article is by Dr. Charles-Davies, a medical doctor who loves to teach people about their health.