The green feces may be the expression of several conditions and not pathological. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about why is my poop green? This symptom is often attributable to completely occasional changes related to diet or the intake of certain drugs. In some cases, however, green stools can signal the presence of some gastrointestinal or systemic disorders. Especially if this manifestation does not tend to regress within a day or two.
Green stools are mainly seen when the passage of ingested food through the intestine is too rapid. This is the case, for example, with conditions that involve the onset of diarrhea. The accelerated transit does not allow the bile to be metabolized. Therefore to give the typical brown color to the stool. If the anomalous staining of the fecal material should repeat itself with a certain frequency or for a continuous period, it is advisable to investigate the causes with a careful medical evaluation.
Why is my poop green: What are
What is meant by Green Feces?
The green stools represent an alteration of the normal brown color of feces. This manifestation is frequently observed in the case of diarrhea. And in many conditions characterized by the accelerated transit of food through the intestine. The rapid passage of the ingested material does not allow the bile to be metabolized. Therefore the manure remains green. It assumes the pigmentation of the bile metabolite as if it had just come out of the gallbladder.
The bile is a dense substance of yellow-green color. Which is produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and poured into the intestine. Where it aids digestion and the ‘ absorption of lipids food.
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The stool color is a signal of the state of health not only of the digestive tract but also of the organs involved in the digestive process: liver, pancreas, and gallbladder (or gallbladder ).
Stool color: why is my poop green?
Understanding the composition of feces is a fundamental step also to understand the causes at the origin of their discoloration: The stool is made up of 75% water and the remainder of bilirubin, fats, proteins, undigested or indigestible food (this is the case with dietary fiber and cellulose ), bacteria, cells of the digestive tract, and mucus.
As a rule, the color of the stool is brownish brown, more or less dark. However, it can vary according to the digested food. This characteristic is mainly due to the presence of bile pigments escaped. From intestinal reabsorption and metabolized by the local flora. The natural color of the feces is due, particularly to bilirubin, a substance contained in bile, derived from the degradation of red blood cells. In the intestine, bilirubin is first transformed into urobilin, then into stercobilin by the intestinal bacterial flora: it is the latter substance gives the stool its characteristic brown color.
It should be noted that bilirubin derives, in turn, from a precursor, called biliverdin, also present in the bile and, sometimes, in the feces, to which it gives a green color. This situation occurs when intestinal transit is so fast as to cause an incomplete transformation of biliverdin into bilirubin and derivatives. Therefore, green stools are a typical expression of diarrhea and of the conditions of a pathological and non-pathological nature (e.g., laxative abuse ) that cause it.
How should the color of the stool be?
Before going into the specific problem of green feces. It will be appropriate to go into the subject of feces and specifically the subject of their color. The feces of a healthy person are brown in color. Which can have different spectra, a sign of a healthy body, and a successful digestive process. Before reaching the intestine, the feces have a color between yellow and green (due to bile). But subsequently, thanks to the last stage of processing due to the bacteria of the intestinal flora.
In general, changes in stool color, even when they turn green, sign an unfinished digestive process. Which must be thoroughly investigated if it is not a sporadic episode. But rather what has become the normality. The normal color of the feces has been the subject of our in-depth guide. I invite you to read if you want to know the factors that affect our manure’s color.
What are the most common causes of green stools?
When the stool is green, the most common causes can be basically three:
- the massive use of antibiotics in the last period could have altered the normal functioning of the bacterial flora. Antibiotics could, in fact, weaken it and therefore make the last process that takes place in the intestine less intense, the one that transforms the stool from yellow/green to brown;
- a bacterial infection;
- a wrong diet.
When the problem is with food
Often the production of green poop is due to problems related to the diet. That you are following and in particular to certain foods that you are taking. For example, many green leafy vegetables (especially if the color is very dark, such as in cabbage) contain enormous chlorophyll, which ends up finding itself in the stool, making it green. If we had consumed a lot of green leafy vegetables and greens in the days before green defecation, there is nothing to worry about.
It will, in fact, be a temporary problem, which will disappear as soon as we return to a normal diet. This is an event that absolutely must not cause concern, as it does not signal any malfunction of our body or our gastrointestinal system. If, on the other hand, we have observed a normal diet without particular excesses, then the appearance of green poop may be simply due to the stationing of waste inside the intestine.
When antibiotics are to blame
In other cases, the cause of green stools can be attributed to particularly prolonged antibiotic-based treatments, which may have been prescribed by the doctor to counteract a bacterial infection that is difficult to eradicate. In this case, however, antibiotics can also destroy a large part of the bacteria that make up our intestinal flora, reducing its population.
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In the absence of the normally found bacteria in the last section of the intestine, the stool remains green without undergoing the last change that makes it brown. In this case, it is certainly advisable to contact the doctor who prescribed the treatment in question and point out that antibiotics, among the side effects, could have caused problems with the intestinal flora.
What parasitic and bacterial infections cause green stools?
The green feces can also be the result of infections that affect the intestinal tract. Which may be either parasitic nature of bacterial in nature. Salmonella is a bacterium that has a concise incubation period. And can affect even after only 12 hours the ingestion of food or liquids that contained it. However, it hardly manifests itself exclusively with the presence of green feces. In fact, these are accompanied by abdominal pain, often excruciating, fever, vomiting, and feeling of general malaise. In the case of salmonella infection, the feces become particularly liquid and dark green in color. Salmonella typically has positive outcomes and resolves without excessive complications.
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However, it is necessary to pay the right attention if the affected subjects were children or the elderly due to the strong dehydration that accompanies this disease. It is not a worrying infestation, but it still needs our doctor’s attention, who will propose the right treatment to overcome the problem.
When green feces affect the newborn: Why Is My Poop Green.
The newborn can often have problems of this type, especially in the first few weeks of life. However, this is a phenomenon that is quite normal in newborn babies and should not worry about the parents at all. These are green stools with this particular color due to the presence of bile, which can reach the child’s why is my poop green, without necessarily being in the presence of a problem.
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In any case, a brief consultation with your pediatrician can help you to reduce a condition that, very often, does not pose any risk or problem for newborns, especially before weaning. The situation is different in the case of strong bouts of vomiting and nausea and a sense of malaise at the same time. In that case, the pediatrician’s consultation is necessary, as it could be a sign of the presence of infectious problems.
Why is my poop green: Causes
What are the most common causes of green stools?
Green stools are most commonly found in cases of:
- Eating habits;
- Infections of the gastrointestinal tract, including gastroenteritis, giardiasis, and salmonellosis ;
- Antibiotic-based therapies.
- Green stools: non-pathological causes
- In many cases, green stools need not be a cause for concern, especially when sporadic.
Their occasional production can be related, for example, to the abundant consumption of vegetables rich in chlorophyll (a pigment that gives the plants their green color, mainly contained in spinach, rocket, parsley, green beans, and green leafy vegetables in general).
Certain medications, such as those used for iron supplementation, can also cause green stools. This staining is a fairly common side effect of some antibiotic-based therapies. Which can alter the normal functioning of the bacterial flora. Green colored stools and soft consistency can also be a reaction to laxative abuse.
Green stools: possible associated pathologies
If they do not tend to regress within a day or two, green stools can indicate some pathological problems and/or conditions, typically affecting the gastrointestinal tract. In most cases, this abnormal coloration of the manure is related to the presence of an enteric infection or other disease-causing diarrhea. Some antibiotic treatments or iron-based supplements can also give the same inconvenience.
Green stools can also occur in pathological states that interfere with normal nutrient absorption, such as celiac disease (or celiac disease ) and other malabsorption syndromes (a combination of nutrient absorption disorders digestion). Celiac disease is a genetic disease characterized by the intestine’s limitation to digest gluten properly; people who suffer from it often have diarrhea, intestinal spasms, and stool color changes. Green stools can be found as an expression of small intestine problems that lead to an increase in food transit speed and/or difficulty indigestion.
These conditions include inflammatory bowel diseases, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome ;
- Ulcerative colitis ;
- Crohn’s disease.
Among the causes of a pathological nature related to the symptom of green stools, we must mention some intestine tumors, such as that of the colon, which can induce symptomatology that alternates phases of diarrhea with constipation.
Symptoms and Complications: Why Is My Poop Green
Green stools manifest themselves with the evident alteration of the color of the excrement. If the alteration is not attributable to particular dietary changes or is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, weakness, abdominal pain, or dizziness, it is important to report it to your doctor promptly.
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Green stools: which disorders can they associate with?
Depending on the cause, green stools may be associated with other symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Among the most common ailments to always take into consideration we can find:
- Change in the frequency of defecation (diarrhea or constipation)
- Presence of an excessive amount of mucus ;
- Excessive fatigue;
- Loss of appetite
- Undue weight loss ;
- Nausea and vomiting ;
- Abdominal pain ;
- Swelling ;
Did you know that…
The color, consistency, and shape of the stool reveal information about the organism’s condition and the correct functioning of the digestive system. For this reason, it is advisable to check fecal waste daily.
Why is my poop green: Diagnosis
If the green feces’ issue was to recur frequently and last for more than a couple of days, a ‘requires a thorough clinical evaluation, especially. When they are associated with fever or intestinal activity changes; thus, it becomes of fundamental importance to act with a timely and, obviously, correct diagnosis.
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The diagnostic procedure to ascertain the causes of green stools involves, first of all, the anamnestic analysis and the physical examination of the patient. Your doctor may ask for further inquiries, including both the analysis of blood and urine, both the ‘ stool tests themselves.
In evaluating the causes of this symptom, chemical-physical (malabsorption), cultural (bacterial infection), and parasitological examinations of the fecal material are especially useful.
Also, in the presence of green stools, it is advisable to perform general blood tests, such as:
- Complete blood count (to rule out anemia);
- Liver function test ;
- Dosage of pancreatic enzymes.
The search for hidden blood in the stool can be performed to search for bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.
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Other investigations: Why Is My Poop Green
To establish the causes responsible for green stools, the doctor may indicate the execution of:
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGDS): endoscopic examination that allows you to view the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum ;
- Colonoscopy: allows you to examine the inside of the colon, identifying polyps or cancerous lesions;
- CT or MRI: imaging studies useful for highlighting some neoplastic lesions.
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Why is my poop green: Treatment
Regarding treatment, the options vary based on the cause that led to the green stool’s appearance. In many cases, it is not necessary to resort to special treatments. If the stools are green and all possible causes of a pathological nature can be ruled out. Then it is important to regulate your diet. Other times, however, green feces could indicate diseases that require specific therapies for their solution. To help solve the problem of green stools. The doctor may indicate the intake of lactic ferments to regulate intestinal functions through the bacterial flora’s normalization.