Should You Worry About Green Poop

Stool turns green in colour due to several reasons, especially in children. In general, the stool colour is brown, but it may turn into red, black, yellow or green.

Green coloured faeces may be normal in a few cases, especially in the breastfed infants but may also be a sign of bacterial infection. The stool colour is due to bile. Bile is a yellow, green fluid produced in the liver that aids food digestion.

Digestive juices break down the foods that pass through the intestine and renders different shades of brown stool. However, if you eat foods high in chlorophyll such as kale or spinach, suffer from bacterial infection, or take antibiotic, the colour of stool changes into green. In most cases, green stool is not a matter of concern, but it is better to explore and acknowledge the reasons behind.

Reasons Why Your Poop Is Green

The stool may be green due to normal or harmless conditions but may be a cause of concern.

A newborn baby normally passes thick and dark green coloured stool known as meconium for the first few days after the birth. Besides, breastfeed babies may also pass green stool.

The green stool may be a symptom of intestinal disorders interfering the normal digestion.

The following diseases can cause green stool:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Eating disorders
  • Abusing laxatives
  • Celiac diseases
  • Giardia
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pseudomembranous colitis
  • E. coli or salmonella food poisoning
  • Viral gastroenteritis
  • Food and Medication-related causes of green poop

Green stool can be due to medicines, supplements and other ingested food substances such as:

  • Breast milk
  • Eating green crayons
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Green food colour in drinks or other foods
  • Iron supplements
  • Leafy green vegetable rich in iron
  • Laxatives

You do not need to freak out if your stool is green in colour. What important is to look for other accompanying symptoms that may indicate some serious health issues.

Other Symptoms That May Accompany Green Poop

  • Tarry and dark stool
  • Large amounts of blood in the stool.
  • Blood in toilet pot
  • Itchy anus
  • Swollen blood vessels in the anus or rectum
  • Small tears in the skin of the rectum
  • Urge to keep stool passing even if the bowel is empty.

Also look for symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal cramp or pain

In some cases, green coloured stool may be associated with life-threatening conditions and requires immediate evaluation and medical care.

Serious symptoms that may accompany green faeces:

  • Dizziness
  • High fever
  • Changes in the level of consciousness
  • Major rectal bleeding
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing problems
  • Not producing urine for more than 24 hours.
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Severe abdominal pain

When To Worry About Green Stool And Consult A Doctor

The green stool may be normal or due to some underlying serious intestine infection or disease as discussed above. If the colour change is  persistent, better contact your health-care provider for the diagnosis of the underlying disease. Once the cause for green stool is diagnosed, the treatment plan is designed specifically depending on the condition of the patient to reduce the potential complication such as:

  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Low potassium levels
  • Dehydration due to the loss of fluids
  • Malnutrition

To diagnose the cause behind the green poop, your doctor or health care provider will ask you specific questions related to symptoms such as:

  • Since when are you passing green stool?
  • Any medications, supplements of vitamins you are taking.
  • What is the frequency of bowel movements?
  • What is the texture and colour of the stool?
  • Does the stool smell foul?
  • What are the other accompanying symptoms?

The answers given by you to the above questions are analysed, and the treatment is planned accordingly.

FAQ

  1. What green poop during pregnancy indicates?

 In a pregnant woman, the pregnancy hormones may affect the digestion and change the colour of stool. Iron supplements may also turn the stools green. Besides pregnant women, just as anyone else may have green stool if she consumes foods with artificial or natural green colour. 

  • What foods may cause green poop?

Food that causes green stool are as follows:

  • Parsley, basil, cilantro and other green coloured herbs
  • Green fruits such as avocados, green apple, green grapes, jalapeno and honeydew melon.
  • Green vegetables such as green beans, sprouts, Brussels, green peppers, fees and celery.
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Powdered green tea
  • Hemp seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables such as Kale, spinach, beet greens, bok choy and Swiss chard
  • Foods that contain dream dye such as green gummy snacks, green frosting, Jell-O, green candy and green ice pops.

Some other coloured foods may also cause green stool such as:

  • Purple and dark blue fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and red grapes.
  • Red wine
  • Blue or purple frosting liquor eyes and ice pops.

Besides the above food, some foods increase the cast’s transit time and cause the food to travel faster, resulting in the green stool. Such foods include:

  • Caffeinated foods and drinks such as tea, soda, coffee and chocolate.
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods such as chilli peppers and curries.
  • Is green stool a sign of infection?

Certain infections caused due to parasite Giardia or bacterium Salmonella can cause green poop. However, if green Poop is due to infection it will be accompanied with other symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and fever.

  • Is green poop a matter of concern?

Occasional green poop is not a matter of concern. In most of the cases, it is due to consuming foods with high artificial or natural green colour and the stools returned to their normal colour in a few day. However, if the stool discoloration is persistent and there is presence of other symptoms consult a doctor.

  • What does the green poop in children and babies mean?

During the first, few days after the birth, the new-borns pass meconium. The breastfed baby may have green stool because of green coloured food consumed by mother such as green leafy vegetables.

We hope you find information gathered in this article is useful. We will try to answer all the related questions. Please add your queries to comment section below.