Imagine looking down at the toilet and realizing that your poop is green in color. That is sure to send shivers down one’s spine. The green color of one’s poop is an indication of several conditions that need close attention. Asides from the color green, the stool can take up other colors such as red, black, yellow, grey, etc. The causes of green poop vary with individuals, but the most likely cause is what an individual has been eating. Other causes could be:
- the use of antibiotics,
- a bacterial infection,
- an underlying health condition, etc.
This article gives a thorough breakdown, hence answering the question, “why is my poop green?” It will discuss the possible causes of green poop and what it means.
Under normal circumstances, it is only proper that the poop is brown. Bacteria adds the remaining hue needed to make the poop brown to the yellowish-green color of the bile. Bacteria can add this hue by breaking down bilirubin, a substance from red blood cells. This brown coloration results from the mixture of dead red blood cells and bacterial waste in the bowels.
There is a stipulated amount of time that food eaten needs to stay in the digestive tract. When food does not stay as long, an individual’s poop may take another coloration. Diarrhea is one condition that could cause food to leave the intestines without allowing the bacteria to add the characteristic hue to the poop.
Causes of green poop
- Food – The most likely cause of green poop is food that has been eaten. Some food items that lead to this include vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli. Excessive consumption of chlorophyll-containing dark green vegetables and green powder supplements can lead to the green coloration of the poop. This, however, does not indicate a dangerous situation. Eating vegetables is highly recommended.
Consuming food coloring, no matter the color of the coloring, tends to cause green poop. Some food coloring in some foods is underprocessed and can cause a green color residue.
- Microorganisms – Certain microorganisms that are not considered the body’s microflora tend to make the stool green in color. Some of these microorganisms include:
- the bacteria, Salmonella spp.,
- The parasite, giardia, and
- The virus, norovirus.
- Bile Pigment – Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid secreted in the liver. It is stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine to aid the digestion of fats. The body breaks down bile as it travels through the intestine in a pathway. This is done so that the bile can be excreted as waste. When bile is not broken down due to digestive issues such as diarrhea, an individual’s stool will tend to have a green tint.
- Gastrointestinal Conditions – Gastrointestinal conditions refer to issues that affect the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract includes organs through which food or fluids consumed by an individual travels until they are excreted from the body as feces. The organs are the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, etc. Some of these conditions are:
- Crohn’s disease – This causes the digestive tract to become inflamed, resulting in a rapid motion of the bile down the intestines. This eventually causes green poop.
- Celiac disease – This is accompanied by a series of symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, etc., all of which are gastrointestinal problems. This disease may lead to green stool.
Other conditions include:
3. Irritable bowel syndrome
5. Excessive use of laxatives
- Certain Medications – Certain medications, such as antibiotics, can cause the death of some of the gut’s normal bacteria. Some of these bacteria are responsible for the brown coloration of poop. One can take probiotics to replenish the intestinal flora.
- Anal Fissures – These refer to small tears in the lining of the anus that may occur due to the passing out of hard or big poops. Anal fissure causes pain and may also result in bleeding. When an individual experiences diarrhea-related anal fissures, green poop may result.
Risk Factors associated with green poop
Excreting green poop should not really raise the alarm. However, one can seek medical help if other symptoms, such as diarrhea or vomiting, reoccur without subsiding. There are concerns about whether or not green poop is an indication of cancer. These concerns are normal, but a sign of the development of cancerous tumors is black or tarry-colored stools. This coloration is caused by bleeding of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Finally, it is a known fact that the poop usually is brownish. When an individual notices a different coloration, it causes concern. When it is noticed that the poop is green without experiencing any other symptom, there is usually no cause for alarm. However, when accompanied by other symptoms, then medical attention is needed. It is also essential to seek medical help if the poop is observed to take colors such as bright red, black, etc.