Green Poop Symptoms
It’s probably safe to assume that you don’t have a detailed study of this aspect of your life, or a written log for reference. However, as far as you know, your poop (or "stool") has been a consistent color, brown, for a really long time. But then, something suddenly changes, enough to capture your attention. Green poop isn't always normal, but it's certainly not time to panic.
While the shade can vary from light to dark, most people's stool is brown, and doctors agree that brown is the most common color. Stool color is impacted by a variety of factors including diet, medications, and some gastrointestinal disorders. In most cases, green is the least abnormal color, and some even consider it to be on the spectrum of normal stool. Besides brown and green, other more concerning colors include red, black and white – each caused by particular problems best evaluated by your doctor.
Green stool can be accompanied by the following symptoms:
Green Poop Causes Overview
The normal brown color of stool comes from bilirubin, a product produced by the liver when it routinely breaks down old blood cells. Bilirubin is released into the intestines, where it mixes with digested food, enzymes and gut bacteria. If stool travels through the intestines at a normal speed, bacteria interacts with the stool content and turns it brown. Any changes to this process, such as during illness, can mean that stool is processed differently and will turn out to be a different color.
Some common causes of green stool include:
- Dietary changes: The most common cause of green stool is eating green food, such as leafy greens like spinach or kale. Food coloring found in certain foods such as gelatin or ice pops can also be to blame.
- Gastroenteritis: An infection that causes diarrhea forces stool to move through the intestines much more quickly than usual, so bacteria in the gut do not have time to digest normally.
- Bile: This substance, produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps digest fats and is naturally green in color. It is usually broken down in the intestines but sometimes it remains in stool.
- Gastrointestinal diseases: Conditions like Crohn's Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome impair absorption in the intestines and change the normal makeup of stool.
- Antibiotics: While you may take them for an infection elsewhere in the body, antibiotics also have a strong effect on the normal bacteria in the gut that process stool.
- Other medications: Certain painkillers and over-the-counter supplements may change the color of stool depending on how they are digested.
- Parasites: Though uncommon in the developed world, parasites can cause green stool and should be considered if you have traveled outside of the country or have eaten raw food.
- Young age: Newborns may have green stool in the first few days of life before it changes to a yellow or brown color.
A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Green Poop
The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced green poop. This list does not constitute medical advice.
1.Non Specific Stool Change
There are many factors affecting the appearance of someone's stools. Often a variation in stool color and/or consistency is caused by food or medicines. Leafy greens and certain vegetables like spinach and kale can make stool look green. Iron supplements and medicines containing bismuth like Pepto-bismol can turn stools black. It looks like your stool change is probably a variation of normal.
A few days
- Top Symptoms:
- black stool, green poop, dark brown stool, red stool
- Symptoms that never occur with non specific stool change:
- tarry stool, weight loss, rectal bleeding, fever
- Wait and watch
2.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause stomach pain, cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Doctors think that IBS is caused by the brain sending wrong messages to the bowels, such as during times of high stress, causing physical changes.
IBS is a chronic condition that may last for years, but it is not life-threatening and does not damage the bowels or lead to more serious illnesses.
- Top Symptoms:
- fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, constipation, stool changes
- Primary care doctor
3.Normal Variation of Constipation
Constipation is a very common condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by difficulty passing stool, or passing stool less often. Commonly it is linked to not eating enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough fluids, or not getting enough exercise. Some medications can cause constipation as well.
Variable, but can resolve in days to weeks
- Top Symptoms:
- abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, constipation, constipation
- Symptoms that always occur with normal variation of constipation:
- Symptoms that never occur with normal variation of constipation:
Green Poop Checker
Take a quiz to find out why you’re having green poop.Green Poop Quiz
4.Viral (Norovirus) Infection
Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. These viruses cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.
Usually resolves within 2-3 days.
- Top Symptoms:
- diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
- Symptoms that always occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
- diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
- Symptoms that never occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
- severe abdominal pain, throbbing headache, severe headache, tarry stool, vaginal bleeding, alertness level change
5.Normal Occurrence of Diarrhea
Diarrhea has numerous causes including bacteria, viruses, parasites, medications, food intolerance & digestive system diseases.
- Top Symptoms:
- diarrhea, mild diarrhea
- Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of diarrhea:
- Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of diarrhea:
- bloody diarrhea, severe diarrhea, worsening diarrhea, being severely ill, ill appearance
6.Possible Early Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause stomach pain, cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Doctors think that IBS is caused by the brain sending wrong messages to the bowels, such as during times of high stress, causing physical changes. The formal criteria for this diagnosis requires 3 months of symptoms. Therefore you may have an early presentation.
IBS is a chronic condition that may last for years, but it is not life-threatening and does not damage the bowels or lead to more serious illnesses. The formal criteria for this diagnosis requires 3 months of symptoms. Therefore you may have an early presentation.
- Top Symptoms:
- fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, stool changes, constipation
- Primary care doctor
Green Poop Treatments and Relief
In the majority of cases, green stool may indicate a slight change in the digestive system but is not a major concern.
If you find the color change disconcerting, there are some simple steps you can take at home to set your mind at ease.
- Keep track of what you're eating: Since dietary changes are the most common cause of green stool, it can be reassuring to keep a food diary and compare meals to stool output. In most cases, you'll find green stool in the day or so after you've indulged in that kale salad or green smoothie.
- Review your medications: Prescription labels will often indicate if changes in stool may occur after taking a certain medication. Over-the-counter medications and natural supplements are among the most common overlooked offenders.
- Be patient if you're ill: Most infectious causes of stomach upset and diarrhea resolve on their own with hydration and rest. While your stool may turn green while you're ill, it will likely return to its normal color after the illness has run its course.
It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for more concerning symptoms that may warrant a trip to the doctor, including:
- Diarrhea that does not resolve after a few days
- Stool changes with severe, persistent abdominal pain
- Foamy or foul-smelling stools
- Other changes in stool color, including red, dark black, or very pale stool
- Recent consumption of raw or undercooked food
- Camping or travel abroad
Seek help right away if you have:
FAQs About Green Poop
Here are some frequently asked questions about green poop.
Can green poop be caused by stress?
Generally, no, green poop is not caused by stress. It is most often caused by leafy green vegetables, green food coloring, or green foods. However, it can also be caused by increased gut motility (speed). Food moving faster through the gut gives the gut less time to break down bile, a green substance that the body naturally produces to digest fats. If bile is not digested, poop may appear dark greenish.
Can green poop be a sign of infection?
No. It is uncommon to produce green poop as a sign of infection. However, if an infection causes your bowels to move more quickly, you may produce green poop as a result. As stated in the prior question, fast-moving food may not give bile a chance to be digested causing green (bile-colored) poop.
Why is my poop green when I'm pregnant?
Green poop is generally not used to diagnose any illness. It can occur because of so many other causes, and many of which are normal, that physicians do not use it often as a sign of a particular diagnosis. Green poop while pregnant may be a sign of iron pills, which are often given to pregnant women or leafy greens which pregnant women may try to eat more consistently.
Does teething cause green poop?
No, teething does not cause green poop. Changes in an infant's diet that occur concurrently with teething, however, may produce green poop. Some parents will introduce their child to green baby foods or more partially solid food when they begin teething, and this may change the color of their feces.
Why does my green poop smell like sulfur?
Green poop can take on a sulfur smell. Sulfur-smelling or foul-smelling stools can be a sign of a gastrointestinal infection, most notably, giardia. Most gastrointestinal infections resolve within a week to 10 days. If your symptoms persist, or you begin to feel weak or are unable to keep fluids in without vomiting, you should seek a medical professional.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Green Poop
- Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
- Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
- Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
- Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?
If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our green poop symptom checker to find out more.Green Poop Quiz
Green Poop Symptom Checker Statistics
People who have experienced green poop have also experienced:
- 15% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
- 9% Diarrhea
- 7% Nausea
People who have experienced green poop were most often matched with:
- 75% Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)
- 25% Normal Variation of Constipation
Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).