What Is Green Stool
If your stool turns watery and green in color, it is known as green diarrhea. In some cases, the condition is triggered by temporary factors such as food. It heals all by itself after just a few days and is nothing serious to worry about. However, you should be careful if the condition does not go away even after 3 to 4 days. Green stool is quite common, especially in the USA. In fact, almost every individual experiences it at least 4 times every year. However, it starts getting more frequent, it could be an indication of some underlying health problems. In such cases, it is important to get medical attention before the condition gets complicated.
Common Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
The main symptoms of IBS are:
- stomach pain or cramps usually worse after eating and better after doing a poo
- bloating your tummy may feel uncomfortably full and swollen
- diarrhoea you may have watery poo and sometimes need to poo suddenly
- constipation you may strain when pooing and feel like you cannot empty your bowels fully
There may be days when your symptoms are better and days when they’re worse . They may be triggered by food or drink.
IBS flare-ups can happen for no obvious reason.
Sometimes they have a trigger like:
- certain foods, such as spicy or fatty food
- stress and anxiety
- passing mucus from your bottom
- tiredness and a lack of energy
- feeling sick
- problems peeing, like needing to pee often, sudden urges to pee, and feeling like you cannot fully empty your bladder
- not always being able to control when you poo
When To See Your Doctor
You should talk to your doctor if your green stools are ongoing and/or you also have any of these symptoms:
- Blood in the stool
- Watery or liquid stool
- Any other unusual symptoms
A rare but serious cause of green stool in kids and adults is poisoning by chemicals such as paraquat, a pesticide in weed killers.
Green stools that have visible mucus could mean the lining of your intestines is inflamed. If you notice this often, it could be a sign of a condition that may require treatment, especially if you have other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, pain in your abdomen, nausea, or vomiting.
Like green poop, floating green stool is often normal and due to what you ate. In some cases , floating stool could mean that your intestines aren’t absorbing fat properly.
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Causes Of Green Poop In Children
The following are some of the most common causes of green poop in children .
1. Certain medications and iron supplements 2. Green foods such as spinach and other leafy green vegetables 3. Artificial green food color or dye in green fruit, snacks, green Jell-O, ice pops, or flavored drinks 4. Diarrhea, which may cause food and stool to pass faster before it changes to its natural brown color 5. Infections, such as salmonella food poisoning and stomach flu, and other intestinal disorders such as celiac disease, which can cause green diarrhea and lead to green stools 6. Biliary secretion, which can give a green color to the stool. Bile is yellow-green, and if it is not broken down during digestion, children may have dark green stools.
If your child has green feces or diarrhea accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, seek medical care to diagnose and treat the underlying causes.
Treating Dark Green Poop
Anyone can be affected by dark green poop toddlers and adults alike. Treatment for dark green poop begins with identifying what the actual cause was.
Similarly, you should be able to remember whether or not you recently engaged in a colon cleanse . If you suspect antibiotics or a nutritional supplement are involved, its best to consult with your doctor on how this can be determined. Its strongly inadvisable to discontinue an antibiotic without your doctors approval since you were likely prescribed that medicine for a good reason.
Lastly, conditions such as food poisoning or irritable bowel syndrome come with other associated symptoms that can help identify them. In these instances, the green stool is likely accompanied by diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or other signs of digestive disagreement.
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Green Or Greenish Poop Can Be Normal And Has A Lot Of Common Causes Behind It From Eating Green Foods To Taking Certain Medications
Peter Dazeley/Getty ImagesIt may be alarming to see green poop in your toilet bowl, but it isnt necessarily a cause for concern. All stool starts out as greenish-yellow, says Baltimore colon and rectal surgeon, Jeffery Nelson, MD, the surgical director at The Center for Inflammatory Bowel and Colorectal Diseases at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.
Greenish-yellow is the color of bile, a fluid made by the liver that aids in the digestion process by breaking down fats into fatty acids for absorption and use by the body. As food makes its way down the digestive tract, it is stained by bile, which constantly drains into the gut. The liver makes bile and stores it in the gallbladder, the tiny sac that releases bile as it is needed.
During digestion, the greenish-yellow color becomes increasingly brown. But, there are factors that can interfere with that process. Heres a closer look at the underlying reasons why your poop is sometimes green.
Does Your Poop Look Like This You Could Have Ibs
Do you suffer from chronic gastrointestinal pain or cramping? Do you have frequent diarrhea, constipation, urgency to go or all of the above? You may have irritable bowel syndrome , a condition that affects up to 15% of Americans and tends to be more common in women than in men.
If youre one of the millions of people affected, the chains that bind you can be debilitating.
You may avoid going places where restrooms arent easily accessible. You may be forced to cancel plans or decline invitations due to sudden onset symptoms. And you may steer clear of the foods and drinks you love in order to prevent your chronic bowel problems from worsening.
Many people delay seeking care out of embarrassment, the assumption that its all in their heads or the hope that their issues will eventually resolve. So, how do you know when its time to call your provider? Recognize the symptoms of IBS and yes, take a closer look at your poop.
IBS Types and Symptoms
There are three types of IBS, which include:
- IBS with constipation is usually marked by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, infrequent bowel movements and hard stools.
- IBS with diarrhea usually comes with abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, urgency to go, frequent bowel movements and loose, watery stools.
- IBS with mixed bowel movements is accompanied by constipation and diarrhea.
The Bristol Stool Chart
- Blood in your stool
- IBS-like symptoms accompanied by a fever
- IBS-like symptoms accompanied by dramatic weight loss
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Other Types Of Gastroenteritis And Food Poisoning
Viruses are the commonest cause of acute gastroenteritis. However, Other organisms also cause gut infections with significant diarrhea, stomach pain, and green poop.
The different organisms that cause gastroenteritis are in the table below :
Bacterial and protozoal gastroenteritis can cause more severe digestive system infections such as foodborne illnesses and dysentery.
The following are definitions of the different varieties of gastroenteritis:
- Bacterial gastroenteritis: acute gastroenteritis caused by bacterial infection. They are generally more severe than viral gastroenteritis and may cause high-grade fever.
- Food poisoning : refers to any disease caused by ingesting food contaminated with infectious organisms or toxins. Food poisoning symptoms are often in severe acute gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhea.
- Dysentery is another specific form of gastroenteritis where the inflammation is predominantly in the colon and the rectum. Dysentery is a severe form of diarrhea with intense urgency and passage of mucus and blood with poop.
The symptoms of other types of gastroenteritis are essentially the same .
Bacterial gastroenteritis is often more severe, with high-grade fever. Dysentery causes severe tenesmus with the passage of mucus or blood with the poop.
Green watery diarrhea is a sign of severity. Call your doctor if the diarrhea is severe, high-grade fever, or has signs of dehydration.
Green Poop Diagnosis And Treatment
To diagnose green poop for any problems, doctors will conduct x-rays, stool culture analysis, colonoscopy, and blood tests to rule out any conditions that could contribute to green poop. These tests can check for any abnormalities that may result in green poop, whether it be digestive problems like IBD or salmonella.
Treatment for green poop depends on the cause. For example, if the cause of your green poop is dehydration, you should begin taking in greater amounts of fluid. If the cause is iron supplements, speak to your doctor about proper dosages. If the cause is more serious like IBS or IBD, then your doctor will put you on a specific treatment plan for these conditions.
You may also want to steer clear of artificially colored food items in the meantime to rule out if that is the cause of your green poop.
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Symptoms Of Acute Gastroenteritis:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Sudden onset of diarrhea. The diarrhea is often watery and yellow at first.
- With frequent attacks of watery diarrhea, The poop eventually becomes dark green due to the passage of unchanged green bile.
- Dark green poop may be a sign of severity and may lead to dehydration, especially in age extremities .
- Fatigue and body aches.
- Fever may be present (low-grade in viral gastroenteritis and high-grade in bacterial gastroenteritis.
- Signs of dehydration may occur in severe cases such as extreme thirst, dry tongue, peeing too little urine, deep yellow urine, dizziness, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat. Confusion and coma occur in severe cases of dehydration, particularly in babies and older adults.
You Have A Liver Or Gastrointestinal Illness
Heidi Moretti, RD, a dietitian focusing on functional nutrition, says it’s not uncommon to see green stool if you have other GI issues, especially ones that cause diarrhea. “Conditions such as colitis or IBS can also cause lighter-green stools,” she says. “Food intolerances that cause diarrhea can also make this condition occur, as well.”
The liver, gallbladder and the GI system are “intimately involved with each other,” says Donese Worden, NMD, a board-certified naturopathic physician and adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University. “When one is upset, the entire system is affected. Bile that is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder can be yellow or green, and so might be a sign of gallbladder or liver problem.”
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Other Causes Of Green Poop
Sometimes when our stools are green we are not ill at all but have eaten certain things which can cause a green color in our stool.
This would not normally give you diarrhea but sometimes greenish diarrhea can result from eating a lot of vegetables, for example.
Next time you cook a green vegetable, particularly a leafy one in water, look at the water when you drain it. The water is usually green. This comes from the chlorophyll which is present in the leaves.
Green diarrhea from eating vegetables is more likely in babies and toddlers as their intestines are not mature.
Causes Of Green Poop And Infection
Anyone can have green stool. The causes of green poop can come from various things, including:
Many foods can cause green poop. The same pigment that causes plants to be green can cause your poop to turn green, too. The most common foods include spinach, kale, and broccoli. Some food dyes can also turn poop green.
When your body cant break down its waste as normal, it can cause green poop. These digestive issues are sometimes due to a more serious underlying infection like salmonella, e. coli, or a stomach virus. If youre experiencing green diarrhea with stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, its a good idea to contact your doctor.
Irritable bowel syndrome
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Should You Worry If Your Poop Is Green
Lets start with a basic fact: Youre not alone in finding an unexpectedly verdant dash of color in the toilet bowl following a splashdown. The color and shade of a bowel movement can vary day by day, says Dr. Lee. Its like life always changing and never the same.
So what causes it? Lets look at some potential Technicolor triggers.
What Happens In Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a problem with the way the large intestine , or colon, works. The large intestine absorbs water and nutrients from the partially digested food that enters it from the small intestine. Anything not absorbed slowly moves on a pathway out of your body. These undigested and unabsorbed food particles are also known as stool, a bowel movement, or poop.
Here’s why an intestine gets “irritable.” To have a bowel movement, the muscles in the colon and the rest of the body have to work together. If they don’t, what’s in the colon can’t move along as well as it should. It sort of stops and starts, doesn’t move, or sometimes moves too fast. This can hurt and make a kid feel bad. Doctors also believe that people with IBS may have more sensitive bowels. So what might be a little uncomfortable in one person causes serious pain for someone with IBS.
IBS isn’t fun, but the good news is that it doesn’t lead to more serious problems. It’s irritating, but it can be managed and kids can do whatever activities they like in spite of it.
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Foods That Make Your Poop Green
Here are the most common foods that may cause green poop:
- Leafy greens, like spinach and kale
- Juice from vegetable and fruit juicing, particularly during a juicing fast
- Foods high in the green pigment chlorophyll, like algae, wheatgrass, spirulina, and seaweed
Other things that can cause green stools are food dyes, antibiotics, and iron supplements.
You Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease Or Celiac Disease
Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, two forms of inflammatory bowel disease , cause inflammation in your gastrointestinal tractthe same goes for celiac disease . This inflammation, then, can cause diarrhea, which can make your poop look green due to a faster transit again .
If you have IBD or celiac, it’s important to maintain a close relationship with your doctor to help keep inflammationand as a result, symptomsunder control, says Rice.
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What Should I Do If My Poop Is Green
Often, poop is green simply because you ate a green food like kale or spinach, or something containing food dyes. Some medicines and supplements can also change the color of your poop. There are other possible causes, however, like infections or underlying issues such as Crohn’s disease.
Can Green Stool Lead To Complications
Although green stool is not always a reason to worry about, it could be an indication of various abnormalities such as complications in the digestive system, malabsorption of food from the digestive tract, malnutrition, dehydration and reduced level of potassium in the body. If the condition is not justified by dietary changes, it is an indication that there are other serious medical conditions present in the body. In such cases, it is best to consult the doctor before it leads to any further complications.
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Should You Be Worried If You Have Green Stool
If it is only a once in a while occurrence, there is absolutely nothing to worry about having a green stool. In most cases, there are explainable reasons such as excessive consumption of leafy greens, algae, and chlorophyll. In these cases, having green stool is absolutely fine. Even alcohol, nicotine and spicy foods can cause the stool to turn green in color. The only time you should be worried is if it continues for several days in a row.
It is also possible to have green stool even when you have been eating perfectly normal. If this happens, then it is definitely a sign of some medical problem. As food passes down the intestine, it gets mixed with bile, which is green in color. As it passes further through the digestive tract, it turns dark brown in color. However, if the bowel movements are rapid, there isnt enough time for the pigments in the bile to get broken down. As a result, the stool can appear green in color.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
Green stool could be a result of dietary choices and supplements. However, sometimes, it could also be an indication of some dangerous food-borne diseases and medical disorders present in the body. If it continues for a period of more than two days, it could be an indication of the following:
- Nervous issues arising out of anxiety and stress
- Severe dehydration
- Malabsorption of food in the intestine
- Colitis arising from antibiotics
- Irritable bowel syndrome