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What can the color of your stools say about your health

In normal situations, the stool should have a brown color, which should not be too dark, but it also does not have to be very clear. However, any variation in color is very frequent and can happen without indicating a problem, if it does not last for more than 3 days, because it can vary according to the food ingested.

Therefore, if the change stays longer, it is important to see a gastroenterologist to identify if there is a problem and initiate appropriate treatment if necessary.

See what can cause changes to your stools shape and consistency and what that says about your health.

What can the color of your stools say about your health

1. Green stools

Green stools are most common when the bowel is working very fast and does not have enough time to properly digest bile, as it does during stressful situations or in irritable bowel attacks, for example.

In addition, the green color may also appear when you ingest too many green vegetables, such as spinach, or when taking iron supplementation.

  • What to do: You should evaluate if there is an increased intake of green vegetables or if you are taking an iron supplement or medication. If this is not the case, it is recommended you see a gastroenterologist if the problem persists for more than 3 days.

2. Black stools

Dark or black stools are usually accompanied by a much more foul-smell than normal and can be a sign of bleeding somewhere along the digestive system due to ulcers or esophageal varices, for example. However, black poop may also be produced by the use of iron supplements.

See what can cause the appearance of dark colored stools.

  • What to do: If you are not taking supplements or medication with iron it is recommended you consult a gastroenterologist as soon as possible or go to the emergency room if other symptoms such as fever, excessive tiredness or vomiting arise.

3. Yellow stools

This type of poop is usually a sign of difficulty digesting fat and therefore may be related to problems that decrease intestinal absorption capacity, such as Celiac disease, or be caused by a lack of enzyme production in the pancreas, which may indicate problems in the body.

Yellow stools may also appear in cases of intestinal infections, being accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea and stomach ache. See what can cause yellow stools.

  • What to do: Be aware of other changes in the stools characteristics, such as consistency and shape, and if the change lasts for more than 3 days, it is recommended you see a gastroenterologist to identify the problem and initiate appropriate treatment.

4. Reddish stools

This color in stools usually indicates the presence of blood and, therefore, is more frequent in situations of hemorrhoids, for example. However, bleeding can also occur due to infections, inflammatory problems such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis or more serious diseases such as cancer.

See more about what may cause bright red blood in stools.

  • What to do: It is recommended you go to the emergency room or consult a gastroenterologist immediately to diagnose the problem and start the appropriate treatment.

5. Light colored stools

Clear or whitish stools arises when the digestive system finds it hard to digest fat and therefore is an important sign of problems in the liver or biliary tract. See the other 11 symptoms that can indicate liver disease.

  • What to do: It is recommended you consult a gastroenterologist to do diagnostic tests, such as CT or ultrasound, diagnose the problem and start the appropriate treatment.

Changes in the baby's poop color

The baby's poop shortly after birth are sticky, have an elastic texture and are dark greenish in color, it is called meconium. During the first days, the color becomes more greenish and then lighter, according to the amount of fat and water present in the milk that it drinks. Generally, stools are watery, with some lumps, remembering the appearance of the stools of ducks or chickens.

During the first 15 days it is common for infants to evacuate liquid stools 8 to 10 times a day, or every time they breastfeed. When the mother is constipated, it is possible for the child to pass more than a day without evacuating, but when he does they can be watery with lumps.

At 6 months, or when the baby begins a more diversified diet, the stools will change color and consistency, becoming more like the stools of a child or an adult, both in color, consistency and aroma. This is because the digestive capacity begins to be more complex and the foods that it ingests are more similar to the foods of the rest of the family.

Find out: When changes in babies poop may be a cause for concern.

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