FAQ

Yellow, Brown, Black, White, Red: What Your Stool Color Says About Your Health

With its variety of shapes and shades, your stool is a window into your health. This is especially true for people with Crohn’s disease, who often watch the toilet closely for changes in disease activity.

In recent years, researchers have studied closely what your stool can reveal about the bacteria that reside in your gut. And how they can affect many aspects of your mental and physical well-being. For example, the so-called “gut” microbiome may play a role in mood disorders, depression or anxiety. These mysterious microbes may even be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as suggested by a recent mouse study published in Nature in February 2017. No one has the scientific tools to examine the bacterial composition of their stool . But you can still learn a lot from their appearance. Discover the meaning of the many shades of saddles.

Chestnut

Stools owe their normal brown color to bile. It is a substance produced by our liver that helps us digest fat. Although bile is naturally green, its pigments change color to yellow and brown as they travel through our digestive system and are broken down by enzymes. If your feces are brown and solid, you have no obvious reason to worry.

Green

A green saddle is “completely normal”. It is usually attributed to something you ate. Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale, which are rich in chlorophyll, will easily turn your feces a dark emerald hue.

White

A whitish, clay-colored stool is caused by a lack of bile, which can come from a blockage of the bile ducts. Gallstones are one of the possible causes of such an obstruction.

Also, sometimes white mucus can be seen on normal colored stools that have a whitish coating. This may be normal or a sign of a Crohn’s disease flare-up. Crohn’s disease causes ulcers in the intestines, which produce mucus in the stool. Alert your doctor when you notice mucus in your stool, especially if it is more than usual.

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For people who don’t have Crohn’s disease, white stools along with abdominal pain, fever, or vomiting mean they need to call emergency services. But if you see white stool without any of the symptoms mentioned above, you can wait to see a doctor.

Yellow

A yellow stool is another potential indicator of bile shortage, which again can be related to bile duct obstruction. It can also mean that the pancreas is not secreting enough enzymes needed for digestion. But these are not the only possible explanations. When preparing for a colonoscopy, the stools become diluted and may also turn yellow. This is a normal phenomenon and should not cause concern.

Black

If you’ve ever taken iron pills, you’ve probably experienced this common, albeit harmless, side effect: black stools. In fact, certain ingredients in certain foods or medications are the most common reason why your stool turns black.

If your saddle is dark and solid, you probably don’t have to worry. But a black stool, of a more liquid and tarry consistency, with a particularly pungent odor, is a sign of bleeding in the gastrointestinal system. This problem may require urgent evaluation by endoscopy.

Bright red

Bright red stools are often the result of eating scarlet-colored foods or drinks like beets or tomato juice. But they can also indicate bleeding. Small amounts of blood in the stool can come from hemorrhoids, colon polyps, or anal fissures.

Especially if you also experience pain when defecating. Larger amounts of blood require hospital admission and further evaluation, often by colonoscopy, to identify and treat the source of the bleeding.

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One of the hallmark symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease is bloody diarrhea. Although this is a common symptom of the disease, it is not normal, and you should tell your doctor how much blood is in your stool.

[HighProtein-Foods.com]

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