Why Is My Poop Green?

By james
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Our poop is usually a shade of brown, although the shade, and consistency, can vary according to what we have been eating, and some other factors. If you notice that your poop is any color other than a shade of brown, then it is a sign that something may be wrong.

It is not unusual, is not usually dangerous, and it is usually easy to deal with, so there is no reason to panic. If you are unsure then visit your doctor and they will likely be able to prescribe something if there is a problem. There are various reasons why your poop will turn green, and we have detailed some here.

1. Green Veggies

If your poop is green then the most likely reason is probably more obvious than you would have expected you have been eating a lot of green food. It is not unusual for foods to change the color of your poop and there is nothing to worry about if this is the case. Perhaps the simplest way to test this theory is to change your diet by eating fewer green veggies. If the green poop stops, you will know what was causing it. Once you know that the problem is harmless, you are free to go back to your green-veggie rich diet again.

Green Poop

2. Green Dyes

Changing the color of food is not a modern development. Spices like turmeric have long been used to help add some color to food to make them look (and smell) more appealing. We still do the same thing today, only todays dyes are more likely to be made from chemicals. If you have green candies and other junk foods, it is likely the green coloring would have come from an artificial coloring agent.

If you consume a lot of these then there is a chance they will not be completely broken down, causing your poop to take on a green color.

3. Bile

Bile is a naturally created substance that is made in our livers and then stored in the gallbladder. Its function is to help us to break down and absorb the fats in the food that we eat, and it is secreted from our gallbladders stores as and when we need it. Bile has a natural yellow-green pigment to it.

We don’t usually notice this because the bile gets broken down completely as it passes through our digestive systems. If it is not completely broken down, however, then the green pigment will still be present when it comes out at the other end.

Green Poop

4. Medication

Another thing that can cause your poop to turn green is the use of medication. It is not fully understood why some medications can turn your poop green, although it is thought that some can make changes to how our food is digested by interfering with the population of useful bacteria in your digestive system.

Medications that can cause this include indomethacin, a type of anti-inflammatory that is often used to help treat arthritis. Depo-Provera, a type of birth control, can also lead to green poop. You can ask your doctor because they should be well aware of the symptoms that are associated with certain medication.

5. Infection

One reason for bile not breaking down completely as it usually would is the presence of an infection. An infection of the digestive system can cause your poop to pass through the system faster than is normal. This means the system will have less time in which to break it down, resulting in the green pigment remaining when it comes out. Infections of the digestive system include conditions like norovirus, E. coli, and salmonella.

You can also pick up parasites like giardia while some people will also develop fungal infections. Some infections of the digestive system can be serious, so make sure to see a doctor if your symptoms are severe.

Green Poop

6. Crohns Disease

Crohns disease is a condition that irritates the digestive system. This irritation causes the contents of the stomach to be passed through faster than they usually would be, and this can result in your poop turning green. Other symptoms of Crohns disease include fever, stomach pain, a loss in appetite, malnutrition, and blood in your feces.

Another condition that can cause irritation and inflammation is ulcerative colitis. Again, this will cause the contents of the digestive system to be passed through so fast that there is not enough time for bile, and its green pigment, to be fully broken down.

7. IBS

For most of us, there are a handful of foods that we need to avoid because they can give us an upset stomach. It is often spicy foods but different people are able to handle different foods better than others. For some people, the range of foods that upsets their stomach is considerably wider than normal. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition in which patients are very sensitive to a wide range of foods.

This can make life very difficult for them as they will often experience associated symptoms that include stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and mucus in stools. It can also lead to green poop.

Green Poop

8. Surgery

Depending on what type of surgery you undergo, it can have quite an impact on the body and on your bodily functions. Organs in particular are very important and having one of these removed and/or replaced can be a considerable shock to the system. One fairly common procedure is a cholecystectomy, which is basically having your gallbladder removed.

Having your gallbladder removed means that there will no longer be a place for bile to be stored after it has been manufactured by the liver. This, in turn, means that more bile will be present in your poop, potentially turning it green.

9. Iron Supplements

Iron is a very important metal for us because it allows our blood to transport life-giving oxygen around the body to where it is needed, while it also helps in some other important bodily functions. The food that we usually eat has all the iron that we need but there are still instances where supplements are necessary. One example of where iron supplements may be necessary is in instances of iron deficiency anemia.

These supplements are generally harmless, even beneficial, but patients might experience unwelcome side-effects if they are not careful. Patients using these supplements might sometimes find that their poop turns green.

10. Cancer?

Whenever something is not quite right with our bodies, it can be easy for our minds to turn to one condition that can be a terrifying thought for anybody cancer. The good news is that it is very unlikely green poop means you have cancer. Cancers can cause a discoloration of your stools, but they will usually cause them to become black in color.

Cancer will also likely cause your stools to take on a tar-like consistency. So, there is no need to panic, but green stools are still something that should encourage you to see a doctor if you are unable to identify what the cause is yourself.

Green Poop

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