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What does stool color say about your health?

​The color of the stool, as well as its shape and consistency, normally reflect the quality of the diet and, therefore, are closely related to the type of food eaten. However, changes in color can also indicate intestinal problems or illnesses, such as hepatitis or gastric ulcers, for example.

In normal situations, the stool should have a brown color, which should not be too dark, but it also need not be too light. However, any variation in color is very frequent and can happen without indicating a problem, as long as it doesn't last for more than 3 days, as it can vary according to the food eaten.

Check out what the shape and color of poop can say about your health:


1. Green stools

Green stools are more common when the intestine is working too fast and does not have enough time to properly digest bile salts, such as during stressful situations, diarrhea from bacterial infections or irritable bowel attacks, for example.

In addition, the dark green color can also appear when eating a lot of green vegetables, such as spinach, or when supplementing with iron, and this color is common in newborns. 

What to do: you must evaluate if there is increased intake of green vegetables or if you are taking a medicine with iron in its composition. If this is not the case, it is advisable to consult a gastroenterologist if the problem persists for more than 3 days.


2. Dark stools

Dark or black stools are usually accompanied by a much more foul odor than usual and can be a sign of bleeding somewhere along the digestive system, due to ulcers or esophageal varices, for example. However, dark poop can also be produced by using iron supplements.

What to do: if you are not taking supplements or medicines with iron, it is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist as soon as possible or go to the emergency room, in case other symptoms arise, such as fever, excessive tiredness or vomiting.

3. Yellow stools

This type of poop is usually a sign of difficulty in digesting fat and, therefore, it may be related to problems that reduce the intestinal absorption capacity, such as celiac disease, or be caused by the lack of production of enzymes in the pancreas, which may indicate problems in this organ.


In addition, yellow poop can also arise in the case of intestinal infections, being accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea and stomach pain. 

What to do: you must be aware of other changes in the characteristics of the stool, such as consistency and shape, and if the change lasts more than 3 days, it is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist to identify the problem and initiate the appropriate treatment.

4. Reddish stools

This poop color usually indicates the presence of blood and, therefore, is more frequent in situations of hemorrhoids, for example. However, bleeding can also occur due to infections, inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, or more serious illnesses such as cancer.


What to do: it is recommended to go to the emergency room or immediately consult a gastroenterologist to diagnose the problem and initiate the appropriate treatment.

5. Clear stools

Pale, or whitish, stools appear when there is a lot of difficulty for the digestive system to digest fat and, therefore, are an important sign of liver or biliary tract problems. 

What to do: It is advisable to consult a gastroenterologist for diagnostic tests, such as tomography or ultrasonography, to diagnose the problem and start the appropriate treatment.

What does the color of the baby's stools mean?

The baby's stools soon after birth are dark greenish in color and have a sticky, elastic texture called meconium. During the first few days, the color becomes greener and then lighter, according to the amount of fat and water present in the milk he drinks. Generally, the feces are often watery, with some lumps, resembling the appearance of feces from ducks or chickens.

During the first 15 days, it is common for babies to pass liquid stools 8 to 10 times a day, or every time they are breastfed. When the mother is constipated, it is possible for the child to go more than a day without a bowel movement, but when she does, the stools should have the same watery, lumpy appearance.

At 6 months, or when the baby starts a diversified diet, the stool changes again in color and consistency, becoming more similar to the stool of a child or adult, both in terms of color, consistency and aroma. That's because the digestive capacity is starting to be more complex and the foods he eats are increasingly similar to the rest of the family.

(Source - https://www.mayoclinic.org/stool-color/expert-answers/faq-20058080#:~:text=Stool comes in a range,digests fats — in your stool.)

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