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Healthy stools matter! Those who struggle with stomach problems like constipation or bloating know the pain. Some people have reported that the color of their stool changes when their stomach deals with certain problems such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and even periods. These can turn your poop’s colour to black, red, dark yellow, and sometimes green. Green stools can be worrying, to be honest! That’s why it is important that you know the causes of green poop.
To help you find out what it means if your stool is green, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Mrudul Dharod, a gastroenterologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai.
Dr Dharod says, “Normally, the food that we eat gets digested in the small intestine with the help of bile produced by the liver and pancreatic juices. Bile contains bile pigment which is green in color. As the digested food moves through the small intestine, bile pigment gets broken down by bacteria into a yellow-brown pigment which gives the brown color to our poop. However, if your poop is green in colour then there are some serious causes behind it.”
Are you on antibiotics for any infection such as bacterial infection down there? If so, you may notice changes in your poop. Since the action of normal useful bacteria on food and bile results in brown stool, antibiotics can strongly affect the normal bacteria levels in your gut, resulting in green colored stool. This can also lead to bloating. You don’t need to go to the doctor in this case because it’s a normal side effect of antibiotics which can get normal once you stop taking the antibiotics. Consuming some probiotic foods is advised for a normal bowel movement.
One of the causes behind the green stool is eating green food like leafy greens like spinach, wheatgrass, broccoli, or kale, which contain high amounts of chlorophyll. “The chlorophyll in these foods can change your stool’s colour from brown or yellow to green. Moreover, food coloring agents in certain foods can also lead to green poop”, says Dr Dharod.
When you have diarrhea, undigested food and bile pigment move quickly through the small intestine because it changes the amount of water and electrolytes in poop. As a result, the bile pigment may not get enough time to break down sufficiently, and this can result in green colored stool.
If you have a stomach infection, it may be another reason for green poop. Bacteria like salmonella (the common cause behind most food poisoning) and E. coli viruses like the water parasite giardia, and norovirus may lead to green poop as they create havoc on the intestinal output. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor for the treatment immediately.
You may see changes in your baby’s stool if you’re breastfeeding her/him. Dr Dharod says, exclusively breastfed infants can have green colored stools, which is usually not a sign of worry. It could be something because of a mother’s diet which contains green vegetables and food coloring ingredients.
So, these are some reasons for the change of color of your stool. If you’re undergoing any of these visible changes in your bowel movements, it is advised to go see a doctor before turning to self-treatment.