Definition of stool color changes
Green stool when your feces (poop) looks green is usually the result of something you ate, such as spinach. Green stool also can occur after you consume certain medications or iron supplements.
Newborns pass a dark green stool called meconium and breast-fed infants often produce yellow-green stools. In older children and adults, green stool is uncommon and rarely cause for concern.
What is the color of normal stool?
Stool (feces) color is most commonly brown. When stool color changes, often, an individual becomes concerned. The presence of the bilirubin (a breakdown product of blood) in bile is generally responsible for stool color. Bilirubin concentration can vary bile color from light yellow to almost black in color. Changes in bilirubin can cause stool to turn green, gray, or clay-like in color. Intestinal bleeding may turn stool black, tarry, red, maroon, or smelly stool. Medication and food may also affect stool color.
Most stool-to-stool changes in color have little meaning. However, some changes, particularly if the changes are consistent from stool-to-stool and not present in only one stool, can be important.
Conditions that can cause Green Stool
- Laxative use (e.g. OTC laxatives, insoluble fiber or senna, cascara sagrada, rhubarb)
- Food poisoning
- Celiac disease
- Watery diarrhea due to Clostridium difficile (e.g. after antibiotic use)
- Medication side effects (e.g. ciprofloxacin, lexapro, nyquil, zantac)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bacterial overgrowth
- Infectious diarrhea – especially Salmonella and Giardia
- Traveler’s diarrhea
- Graft versus host disease
- Alcohol consumption – ethanol stimulates bowel motility
How To Cure Green Poop
In most cases all of the above causes are temporary. In the case of eating lots of healthy greens it is also harmless. However, eating a lot of sweets with artificial colorants and junk food can be very harmful to your health and in this case your bowel movements can be seen as a warning sign that you need to take corrective action. More about this in a moment…
If you are experiencing pain, chronic diarrhea or if your stools continue to be green after you have ruled out a poor diet you need to see a doctor!
If your bad eating habits is the culprit you should be able to put an end to green stools by following a healthy diet that’s rich in fiber, drinking plenty of water and through regular exercise.
However, if you are overweight and have not been following a healthy eating plan you should seriously consider getting into shape as being overweight can cause many other, more serious, health problems.