What does the colour of my poop mean?

The colour of our poop is a fascinating but often overlooked indicator of our digestive health. Whilst we might feel shy to discuss it, the colour of your poop can tell you a lot about what is going on inside your body and can let you know if something isn’t working quite as well as it should be!

Usually, changes in the colour of your poop isn’t a sinister sign, but rather it comes as a direct result of the food that you have eaten. However, if you are concerned, have no fear, this blog post will inform you of the possible causes for any interesting colours you’ve seen in your loo recently!

Brown: This is the most common colour of poop and it is an indication that everything is functioning normally. The brown colour is a result of the poop being exposed to the right amount of bile in the digestive tract!

Green: Whilst green might seem like an unusual colour for poop, it is usually not a cause for concern. Instead, the green colour could be due to the presence of bile, especially when you are experiencing diarrhoea. Otherwise, it is an indication that you have been consuming a lot of green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, or broccoli), green food colouring, or iron
supplements.

Black: Black poop may be caused by the consumption of certain medications (iron supplements, Pepto-Bismol, and activated charcoal). However, it can also indicate that you are experiencing bleeding in your upper digestive tract as a result of a peptic ulcer, gastritis, or another digestive condition. If you are passing black stools and believe it is not a result of what you have eaten, seek medical attention.

Yellow: Poop that is consistently yellow or greasy looking can be an indication that there is a problem with your liver or bile ducts which is affecting the way your body is digesting the fats that you eat. You should consult your GP to rule out any underlying digestive issues such as coeliac disease.

White or Pale: If your poop is lacking in colour, it is likely related to medications you have taken. In fact, it is not uncommon for diarrhoea medications to cause your poop to lose some colour. If, however, you have not taken any diarrhoea medication recently, white or pale poop may come as a result of a lack of bile. It is important to seek medical attention if your poop is
consistently pale or white in colour.

Red: Passing stools which have a red tint to them may be a result of the consumption of red coloured foods such as beets, cranberries, or foods with red food colouring. However, if your poop is red in colour and you have not consumed any of these foods recently, it could be a sign of bleeding in the lower digestive tract. This could be a result of haemorrhoids,
diverticulitis or IBD. You should seek medical attention if you frequently pass red stools.

If you notice any changes in your poop colour which persists more than a few days, you should consult your GP to rule out any underlying health issues.

If you have any questions relating to the above please get in touch hello@lesleyreiddietitian.co.uk

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