The normal stool color is brown.
However, a change in diet or the presence of some conditions can lead to a change in stool color.
In this article, we will be discussing what different colors of stool mean, we will also give a visual stool color chart to serve as an easy guide to understanding your stool.
Stool Color Chart: What Different Colors Mean
When you pass a white, gray or pale stool, it might be an indication of liver or gallbladder problem. Generally, pale stools mean no bile to give it the characteristic brown color. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. However, some drugs used in treating diarrhea can cause white stools.
When you notice the color of your stool is black and it looks coffee color, it might be as a result of what you ingested. When you take iron supplements or blood tonic, your poop may be black.
Other causes include black licorice, black stout, and bismuth medications. However, if you had not taken any of the above, it can be an indication of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Blood is usually red but when it goes through the process of digestion in the gut, the action of enzymes and bacteria turn its color black.
If your stool is green, it might be due to your high consumption of green vegetables like spinach, kale or other green foods. However, a green stool might be an indication of too much bile.
Also, it can happen in diarrhea. Food may pass through the intestines too quickly that there isn’t enough time for bacteria and enzymes to change the green color of bile to brown.
Red/ Bloody Poop
If your poop is red, it can be due to eating too many red-colored foods like beets or gastrointestinal bleeding. Most times, it is abnormal and you should immediately see your doctor. Red or bloody stools can be caused by conditions like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colon polyps, diverticulosis, and colorectal cancer.
Eating fruits that contain an orange pigment called beta-carotene orange can cause orange-colored stools. These fruits include carrots and winter squash.
However, obstructed bile ducts and some medication like antacids and antibiotics like Rifampicin can make your poop orange.
If you notice your stool appears yellow or greasy, it means that your poop contains too much fat. This can be due to absorption problems or problem with bile secretion or enzyme production.
Even though your diet can be responsible for some poop colors, a change in the color of your stool should not last for more than a week. If you notice a change in your poop color that is lasting that long, you should consult your doctor.
Tips for Achieving A Healthy Poop
There are actually different ways to maintain consistency and achieve healthy feces. However, this is important not just to promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract, it helps in attaining optimal health.
The following tips can help you achieve a more healthy poop.
1. Drink more water
How much water do you drink daily? Or do you consume excessively caffeinated or sugary drinks?. Increasing your daily water intake and reduce drinks that may affect your health.
2. Reduce processed foods and alcohol intake
Wiping too often can be a result of too much mucus in the colon. Avoid or reduce manufactured and heavily processed foods and alcohol.
Some drugs can affect your gut health and cause common side effects like diarrhea and constipation. Talk to your doctor and discuss if your medications are becoming more harmful than good to you.
4. Increase healthy intestinal bacteria
You can increase the activities of healthy bacteria in your gut by consuming probiotics and some types of food. Example of such food includes kimchi and yogurt. Probiotics help enhance intestinal health as it protects against inflammation by promoting the growth of healthy bacteria, hence, less space for bad bacteria to cause diseases. Here’s a review of the best probiotics.
5. Avoid food allergens and sensitivities
If you may already know you are allergic to certain foods like cabbage, wheat, or dairy products (lactose intolerant). These might increase abdominal discomfort and affect or change your bowel emptying. So, it is advisable to avoid such foods.
6. Increase fiber intake
Increase your fiber intake by consuming different varieties of fruits and vegetables. They help your digestive process and help you pass stool more easily.
7. Reduce laxative dependency
Traditional laxatives may be the first obvious way to treat constipation. Laxatives are not too beneficial in relieving it and can exacerbate the problem. Instead of relying on a pill-like laxative, try a more natural method by drinking pear, apple or plum juice.
8. Avoid holding it in
When you holding on to your poop, water and nutrients can be reabsorbed back into the body. Poop is a waste product that has to be released, so, when the urge shows up, do not hesitate to let it go as soon as you can.
Involving yourself in more physical activity can significantly improve your health. Exercises reduce the incidence of constipation and help regulate bowel movement. It also helps in combating fatigue and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Stool changes and what they mean. (n.d.). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9663-stool-changes-and-what-they-mean
- Rifampin (Oral Route) Precautions. (2019, June 01). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/rifampin-oral-route/precautions/drg-20065839
- Stools – Unusual Color. (2019, March 14). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/stools-unusual-color/
- Stools – pale or clay-colored: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2018, June 22). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003129.htm
- Antunes, C. (2019, April 11). Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470300/
- Wilson, I. D. (1990, January 01). Hematemesis, Melena, and Hematochezia. Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK411/
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