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The Scoop on Your Poop Colour
Don’t deny it, you know you’ve done it. After having a bowel movement, practically everyone has looked at it before flushing at one point or another. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s healthy and actually a good thing. It’s great to look at your poop, because feces can tell us so much about our bodies and our health.
Sneaking a peek at your stool can tell you so much about your health and your body’s current condition. There are different colors, sizes, and textures that indicate good or bad digestive and overall health. I’m going to give you a comprehensive overlook of what your stool could be saying about you.
Brown is the most common color of poop. When you see brown you know you are most likely in the clear. There is nothing to worry about with brown, it is a healthy color to have. The color is caused by a variety of factors in the digestive process. When bone marrow and red blood cells start to delineate, it creates bilirubin. Bilirubin gets into the intestines, forms bacteria, and the bacteria eats the feces. In addition to the bilirubin, the brown color is also contributed to iron as well as other factors.
Black stool may be a cause for concern. Feces may be black if you take iron supplements, or if you have eaten certain types of food such as blueberries. If you can rule out iron and dietary reasons, then you should definitely consult a doctor. Black stool that is not caused by the previous reasons is usually from blood in the stool, called melena.
When blood in the stool has caused it to turn black, this means the blood is from higher up in the GI tract. Possible causes for melena include gastritis, a tear in the stomach or esophagus, bleeding ulcers, or Crohn’s disease.
If your color is appearing a clay or grey color, this is usually due to the feces not receiving enough bile during the digestion process. This could be caused by dietary issues such as consuming a large amount of high fat foods. Possible health related issues include hepatitis and gallbladder malfunction. If you can rule out dietary reasons, you should consult a physician.
When stool is normal and brown this indicates that it is digesting the proper amount of bile salts from the gallbladder. Yellow stool is an indication that there are not enough bile salts being produced and/or digested.
Yellow stool is rarely caused by dietary changes, and is almost always a medical issue. Possible health related causes include cystic fibrosis, gallstones, liver disease, blockages in the bile ducts, hepatitis, and pancreatic cancer. It could also indicate an infection of a parasite.
Yellow feces indicates a problem that needs to be checked by a doctor immediately, especially if accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains.
Green poop is usually not a cause for concern at all. Green is a relatively healthy color. Green is usually caused by the stool not getting enough exposure to bile during digestion when it digests too quickly.
Dietary causes are having eaten green leafy vegetables or foods containing green or dark food coloring. Health causes could be obstructed bile ducts or liver disease. Green should generally only be checked out by a doctor if it doesn’t go away after a few days and isn’t attributed to a recent dietary change.
Red is absolutely not a normal color to find in your bowel movement. If you have eaten foods that contain red food coloring or are red in color, that could be a cause. If that is the case, there is no need to worry.
There are numerous medical reasons your poop could be red. Blood in stool that is red indicates a problem or bleeding in the lower GI tract. Possible causes could be bleeding ulcers, cancer, polyps, anal fissures, and hemorrhoids.
If you know the red is not because of something you ate, and does not resolve itself in 1-2 days, you should consult with a doctor. If you are also experiencing pain, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, you should go to a doctor immediately.
There are a lot of reasons your stool could be orange. There are tons of foods that can easily turn poop orange. These include cilantro, collard greens, winter squash, kale, carrots, and any foods that have yellow or orange artificial coloring.
Orange stool could be because of a medical condition. Usually if there are no dietary reasons stool is orange it is attributed to the stool passing through the digestive tract too quickly and not absorbing enough bile salt. If orange stool is accompanied by symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, or weakness, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Maroon feces is in between red and black. Like red, it can be caused by eating foods that have red food coloring in them.
Possible medical reasons for maroon poop are blood in the middle of the GI tract, irritable bowel syndrome, bleeding ulcers, colon cancer, and parasites. If you know it isn’t caused by your diet, you should definitely see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are having any other symptoms such as vomiting or pains.
We can all agree that ‘tarry’ isn’t really a color, but that is the word that is used to describe the stool that is a mix between dark grey and black. Like any other color, tarry stool can be caused by certain foods. These foods include blueberries and black licorice. Iron or lead supplements can also cause tarry stool.
Possible medical conditions include bleeding in the upper GI tract, trauma to the digestive system, bleeding ulcers, or gastritis.
Finding mucous in your stool can be a little worrisome. Mucous can be white, yellow, or clear and small amounts are normal. It is produced by a membrane in the large intestine and is intended to make the digestive process easier.
It isn’t always a cause for concern, but if you are having mucous in your stool regularly, you should have it checked out. Possible causes of large amounts of mucous in the stool could be irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, bacterial infections, or a bowel obstruction.
Feces is foul, that’s just the truth. It’s normal for your excrement to have a horrid smell, but you know what smell is normal. If you are having stools that are excessively stinky, there could be a lot of causes.
Normally it smells because of the bacterial action taking place in digestion combined with the types of food we eat. Stool that smells a lot worse than normal could be a hint at a medical problem such as an infection. If the problem subsides, you shouldn’t have to seek medical assistance.
Our bodies are a mystery, but it’s important to pay close attention to all of our body functions. Keeping tabs on your body can help you catch any possible issues before they are out of control, and can help you get a good idea of how different types of foods affect your digestive system.