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Why Is Your Poop Green? – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Aug 28th, 2021

Theres an expectation as to what youll see in the toilet after pooping. So when you look down into the water and spot something bright green well, its safe to say a few questions might enter your mind.

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For answers, lets turn to gastroenterologist Christine Lee, MD.

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 youre eating is the most likely explanation for green poop especially if you tend to nibble on garden fares such as broccoli, kale and spinach. The chlorophyll that gives those vegetables their green color can do the same to your poop.

Other potential food and drink sources that could make you go green include:

A less organic force green food dye also could be behind the Hulk-like hue on a #2. (Consider this the consequence of eating a St. Patricks Day cupcake with unnaturally bright green frosting.)

In any food-related case, the funky tint should disappear within a day or two once the source is flushed out of your system, says Dr. Lee.

Antibiotics can lead to small and potentially colorful changes to the way your body digests food. The reason? The medication can alter the bacteria flora in your gut, which can add a greenish tint to what comes out.

Some medications may upset your stomach, too, resulting in bile-filled diarrhea that looks a bit green.

Turning green has long been a phrase used to describe someone showing signs of an illness. The same can be said of your poop, too, notes Dr. Lee.

Greenish stool could indicate that you have a bacterial infection (salmonella or E. coli, for example), viral infection (norovirus) or a parasite (Giardia) causing a rapid transit gush of unabsorbed bile.

Green poop also could be a symptom of:

One word of caution, though, before you start fretting at the drop of a doo-doo: All of these health issues are possible, but theyre not the norm, says Dr. Lee. If you feel perfectly fine and dont have diarrhea, a different color bowel movement is most likely linked to something you ate.

Any number of colors from the crayon box can pop up in your poop, says Dr. Lee. Fruits and food dyes offer a rainbow of options and are typically the most common cause of non-brown stool.

However, there are medical issues sometimes associated with certain colors:

As mentioned, colorful poop isnt all that unique and is usually connected to something you ate. Think back on what passed through your lips and youll probably come up with a simple (and perhaps even regrettable) reason for the burst of color.

That being said, oddly colored poop might indicate something that needs attention particularly if it lingers or comes with symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, bleeding, fever and vomiting. Pale poop or blood-tinged stool is of particular concern, too.

Call your doctor if symptoms fail to improve or resolve completely, says Dr. Lee.

Pay attention to your bowel movements, but dont worry too much if you see something unusual for a day, says Dr. Lee. Theres usually a very clear explanation that involves something you ate.

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Why Is Your Poop Green? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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