Although the common color of poop is brown, there are surprisingly many different possible colors that your stools can undertake at different times for a variety of health, dietary, lifestyle, and environmental causes.
Our poop is a result of everything we put in our bodies, and is also a barometer of health. Here is what different colors of poop mean.
Brown is the normal poop color caused by a pigment called Bilirubin. Bilirubin arises from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver and bone marrow. In the intestine, the poop is further broken down by bacteria, which adds to the brown color. Another reason for the brown poop color is the iron found in the red blood cells. More on brown poop.
A sign of active Crohn's disease or ulcers in the intestines. You should let your doctor know if you have mucus poop.
Two things can cause yellow stools:
Healthy adults can experience green poop for a few reasons:
Tarry black poop is reason for concern so pay close attention and make sure it is really black, and not a shade of another color. Some foods can cause stools to appear dark red or black, so poop may appear black when it is not really black, or may be caused by foods. If you have made sure it is not due to foods you have recently eaten or mistaken color identity, and in fact it is black, it may be caused by:
Barium milk shakes given for the purposes of getting an x-ray of the upper gastrointestinal tract can cause white poop.
This is harmless and is typically caused by blue in foods and blue food coloring.
This may be a sign of concern. It signifies bad digestion excess air inside your intestines. This typically occurs during Crohn's Disease when people eat foods they are told not to eat.
This could be a result of something in your diet or a more serious condition. If it persists and is accompanies by diarrhea and cramping, you may want to see a doctor as it could be a sign of something bad in the digestive tract.
This could be from an obstruction within the colon, which may indicate a growth and be an early warning of colon cancer.
In patients with ulcers, it can be due to the narrowing of the intestines. Each time that your intestines heals after being ulcerated, the intestine can not stretch as much as normal so the stool will become more narrow.
As you by now understand, there is a multitude of reasons why stools may appear or actually be certain color. If you see an unusual color in your stools, do not be alarmed. It might be very scary to see black or red feces, but do fight the temptation to panic, which can be very strong at that moment. Remember that the reason behind the change of color in people's feces is often changes in diet, environment, lifestyle, or even a misperception of the color due to varying lighting in rest rooms.
Think back to what different foods or liquids you have consumed. Was there anything different that had similar colors to what you see in the feces? What about your hydration level? Is the weather hotter or colder than it usually is? Have you been more or less active than usual? How often has this happened?
If the alarming color of poop continues to occur and you have excluded all the possible causes listed above, it may be a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional. The healthcare professional will likely ask you about your personal and family medical history. After that he or she may decide to perform some lab tests to help understand what is in your feces. The tests will help the doctor make the proper diagnosis, after which they may suggest possible treatment options.