POOP gives vital and interesting information about your diet, health and even disease.
It is normal for your stools to change in shape and colour depending on your daily diet and lifestyle, but sudden and drastic changes should be investigated.
Why is my poop green?
This is one of the most Googled questions in Britain.
Your poo may be green because you include lots of greens in your diet, such as kale, broccoli and spinach.
Blue foods can make your poop turn green too, like the superfood blueberries.
Certain colour dyes in food – such as blue, purple and black – can also turn your stools green as they exit the body.
Greenish poop is also caused by bile, which is a sign that your liver and pancreas are working well.
If your green number two is accompanied by feeling unwell and diarrhoea, it may be a bug in your gut like salmonella, giardia, or norovirus.
These cause diarrhoea, so your poo passes too fast through your intestines or the bacteria that helps to turn it brown are killed off.
Medications can turn your faeces green, including some antibiotics, contraceptives, and iron supplements.
Is green poop bad?
No, it’s not a big deal on its own.
Green poo often shows that you are eating plenty of green vegetables, so is a good sign.
Your liver produces bile to aid digestion, and sometimes this can make your stools greenish. It’s not a problem, just a healthy system.
However, you should seek medical advice if:
- You are feeling unwell and your poo has become green but you have not suddenly started on a green veg blow out.
- The consistency of your number twos has changed along with it becoming green, and you aren’t scoffing loads of greens.
- You haven’t made any dietary changes and your usually brownish poo is suddenly green.
- Your stools have become green after a recent bone marrow transplant, because it can indicate rejection.
How do I stop green poop?
This depends on what is making it green in the first place, but here are some things to consider:
1. Eat a balanced diet, of which green vegetables are a part, alongside healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
2. Help your liver and gallbladder by eating fermented or sour foods like kimchi and lemons.
3. Boost your gut bacteria, which contribute their own waste to yours to generate its brown colour, by taking a probiotic.
What should a healthy poop look like?
If you are fit and well, the colour of your poo is ideally medium brown, but some slight changes due to your diet are normal.
The brownish colour comes from dead red blood cells and waste from gut bacteria.
Eating green or blue foods makes your number twos turn greenish.
See a doctor if you experience extreme changes, but a little variability is fine.
What consistency should your poop be?
Poo consistency ranges from runny – normally a sign of an upset tummy – to hard, cracked, pellets like rabbit droppings.
You’re aiming for poop with a consistency between these, so soft but formed.
The Bristol Stool Chart describes the ideal form as like a sausage: either slightly cracked, or smooth.
Your poop is a good consistency if:
- It is possible for you to hold it in for a short time
- You can poop without straining
- You can pass it all in one sitting
What if your poop has never looked like that?
Your poop is a great indicator of health and disease, and healthy stools can also change day to day.
But you should watch out for sudden changes to your poop which you can’t account for, and in particular extremes of poop colour or consistency.
Stool colour and consistency can even change dramatically if you have a stomach bug, but your body can recover from this fairly quickly.
Contact a health professional if you can’t explain any changes in your poop consistency or colour, or if:
- Your poop has become a dark-black colour
- There is red blood in your stool
At worst these could be signs of bowel cancer, or could indicate piles.
Very light-coloured poop, or creamy-white, could indicate an excessively fatty diet.
But if that isn’t you, and the poop is a bit runny, it might be a sign of pancreatic or gallbladder problems.
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