You have probably noticed that your poop has a different hue than normal brown. But what does it mean to have dark green poop? The color of your stool is affected by your diet, so that it can be yellowish, reddish, whitish, or blackish. It is normally brown due to the leftover combination of waste from bacteria and dead red blood cells.
Why is my poop green?
The bile present in the intestines usually has a yellow-greenish hue. This bile juice absorbs fats and soluble vitamins and helps in softening the food. The bacteria in your intestines provide the rest of the color, which makes it brown. These bacteria also play an important role in your digestion as they also help the body absorb the nutrients from your food and beverages.
There are cases when your stool is different because the food could not spend enough time inside the intestines. For instance, if a person has diarrhea, the foods in the intestines rush too fast to let bacteria provide the stool its brownish color. Foods, medications, and other diseases cut bowel transit time and result in the formation of green poop.
In most cases, dark green stool is just a harmless reaction to a chemical or nutrient in the food. However, it can also signify that the body has a negative response to a chemical or something you have consumed.
If you have dark green poop, check if you develop other symptoms to determine if it requires medical attention. Releasing dark green stools repeatedly should also be stated to your doctor.
9 Common Causes of Dark Green Poop
Here are some common causes of green poop you should know.
1. Consumption of Leafy Vegetables
One of the common reasons for dark green poop is the excessive consumption of leafy vegetables. A high intake of lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli, and other green vegetables can change the hue of your stool into the green.
This is just a sign that your body is getting more nutrients, and you should not be worried about the color. Taking iron supplements can also affect your poop, and it can produce a dark green hue.
2. Food Dyes
Foods with strong coloring can also cause, as some people develop, a sensitive reaction to dyes, which changes the color of poop into dark green. Food dyes are usually not absorbed by the body, and they get excreted.
If you recently consumed foods with food coloration, you will likely produce green poops over the next few days. It is also possible, for example, for you and your friend to eat the same thing, but only you produced a green stool.
3. Certain Medications
If you take medications, such as antibiotics or laxatives for strong infection, this can result in dark green poop. Antibiotics can eliminate large amounts of bacteria present in your gut.
This lowers the bacteria that can provide brown stains on your stools. The dark green color is just a side effect of the medication. It usually disappears once the body gets used to the medication. Probiotics, such as kombucha and yogurt can help the body restore the balance of good bacteria.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive condition that causes foods to rush through the intestines. This diminishes the amount of time needed for the food to be processed. Digestive discomfort caused by eating spicy foods or high gluten content can result in dark green poop. While the exact cause of IBS is not known, avoiding the triggers can alleviate the symptoms.
Some symptoms of IBS include indigestion, loose or hard stools, heartburn, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. Any situation that leads to severe diarrhea can produce dark green stool. Allergies can cause it to certain foods, excessive alcohol consumption, and bacterial infection like Salmonella. It can also be caused by water parasite Giardia, laxative abuse, or malabsorption.
If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, visit your doctor to reduce your risk of further health complications. You can also consume yogurt to make you feel better as it contains probiotics or good bacteria.
5. Ulcerative Colitis
Another digestive problem that can cause dark green poop is ulcerative colitis. Depending on the area and severity of inflammation, the signs and symptoms may include diarrhea, rectal pain and bleeding, weight loss, fatigue, urgency or inability to defecate, and fever. Children suffering from this condition may fail to grow.
Ulcerative colitis can be mild and may only affect the rectum. In severe cases, it can affect other parts of the colon. The exact cause of this condition is still unknown, but it can be due to an immune system malfunction. If you are experiencing abdominal pain, unstoppable diarrhea, blood in the stool, and unexplained fever, see a doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
6. Lack of Intestinal Bacteria (Infants)
Green poops are normal in newborns and breastfed infants. Infants who release dark green poop have low amounts of bacteria in their intestines.
Those who are not given formula and only breast milk may not develop enough bacteria in their digestive tract, which normally assist in breaking down the food. Breast milk contains high levels of fat, and formula milk helps in digesting it. The absence of formula milk usually results in dark green poop.
People who have been recommended to undergo a clear liquid diet may also produce watery and green stools. A colon cleanse is a treatment to eliminate toxins from the body. There are many products available in health food stores or pharmacists to expel the contents of the colon. They include laxatives, enzymes, magnesium, enemas, and herbal teas.
8. Celiac Disease
This is a common disease that affects not only adults but also children. It is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in rye, wheat, and barley.
If you have this disease, eating gluten stimulates an immune response in the small intestines. This reaction can harm the lining of the small intestine and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. The intestines’ damage may cause weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, bloating, and serious health conditions.
Children with celiac disease can affect their growth and development. While there is no cure for this condition, you can manage the symptoms and heal the intestines by avoiding gluten. Other signs and symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Loss of bone density, joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Headache and fatigue
- Itchy rashes
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Damage to dental enamel
Signs and symptoms of celiac disease in children are vomiting, severe diarrhea, poor appetite, swollen belly, irritability, delayed puberty, constipation, and weight loss.
Low red blood cell count or anemia usually occurs during pregnancy. To correct this, women are often prescribed to take iron supplements. However, some types of iron are not easily absorbed by the body and result in dark-colored stools. Pregnant women can increase their RBC count by eating foods rich in iron, such as green leafy vegetables, liver, and red meat to prevent dark stools.
Home Remedies For Dark Green Poop
There are some home remedies that you can try to treat green stool.
- To target the microorganisms that cause inflammatory bowel disease, you can take peppermint in capsule form.
- You can take grape seed extract, which effectively fights against microorganisms such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Giardia.
- Garlic is also one of the best home remedies for treating infections that cause diarrhea.
- Drink plenty of water to alleviate the symptoms of food poisoning. This can be resolve within a few days.
In most cases, there is no need to seek medical help for dark green poop. However, if there is a presence of blood or mucus, visit a doctor right away.
Other Colors of Poop
These are the other colors of stool. If it is black or bright red, seek medical attention immediately.
- White, light-colored – This could mean that there is a lack of bile in the stool. It can be a sign of bile duct obstruction. The possible causes are some medications, like bismuth subsalicylate and other anti-diarrheal drugs.
- Yellow, foul-smelling, and greasy could mean that the stool contains excess fats due to malabsorption. Possible dietary causes are protein gluten in cereals and bread.
- Black – Black stool may indicate a presence of blood. This may be a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Iron supplements, black licorice, and bismuth subsalicylate are possible dietary causes.
- Bright red – If the poop is bright red, there is bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, such as the rectum or large intestines. It is often a sign of hemorrhoids. The possible dietary causes are beets, red food dyes, red gelatin, tomato soup, or juice.
The color of your stool is generally influenced by the food you eat and the bile produced by your body. However, black and red stool may be a sign of bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract and should not be ignored.