What Poop Color Can Reveal About Your Health: 4 Warning Signs Everyone Should Know

April 3, 2018

Bowel movements are an excellent indicator of your health. If some negative changes happen to the body, it reacts immediately.

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That’s why it is useful to observe your own bowel habits and the stool itself – changes in consistency and color give a signal that you need to recognize!

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What is normal?


Gastroenterologist Anish Sheth, MD, explains that pooping should not cause any discomfort or pain and needs to leave the feeling that you have emptied the waste completely. A normal, healthy color of a stool is brown to green, depending on the food we have eaten. Note, that food becomes waste only three days after consumption.

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What affects the color?


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There are 3 main things that affect the color of poop – the food and medicine we consume and our bile. Bile is liquid produced by the liver to digest fats. Originally, it is yellowish-green but it changes to brown after chemical reactions in the digestive system.


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Green poop may be no reason to worry. If it is green diarrhea, then your food may have traveled too fast through the digestive system and the bile didn’t have time to change it to brown. Other reason may be too much green food or iron supplements.


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A dark yellow or dirty yellow color and a strong smell may be a serious warning. It indicates that your body is failing to digest fats properly. It may indicate celiac disease – intolerance to gluten. If you have this condition, your body cannot digest proteins and absorb nutrients from the food you consume. Stools become loose and yellowish. Additionally, you may suffer from fatigue, pain, bloating, depression, or rashes.

Other reasons may be pancreatitis, nonhemolytic jaundice, a high-fat food intake, or plenty of dairy products in your diet.

Light-colored, white

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As mentioned above, bile gives stool its color, so a white one may be a signal of a liver issue. Hepatitis, for instance, can keep the bile from getting into the digestive system. Another reason may be a blockage in the bile-carrying tubes caused by a tumor, gallstones, or biliary atresia (inborn condition).


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This can indicate bleeding in the upper part of the digestive tract. A saturated black tar color may be caused by cancer, a non-cancerous tumor, ulcers, or bleeding sores in your esophagus from acid reflux.


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A red colored stool means there is blood in it from the lower part of the digestive tract. This condition may have several reasons: hemorrhoids, a diverticular disease, polyps in your colon, colitis, cancer or non-cancerous tumors.

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Note that food and medications may give a certain color to your poop so do not be alarmed right away! Recall what you had for dinner three days ago. If you observe a continuous abnormal color to your stool, do not postpone your visit to the doctor. Your body may be warning you about dangerous processes taking place inside, so do not disregard them.

Positive emotions make a good impact on everyone’s health! So here is a fun idea to entertain yourself. Enjoy!

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.