Stool Color and Texture Changes
(Black, Red, Maroon, Green, Yellow, Gray, Tarry, Sticky)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- What color is normal stool?
- What causes normal stool color?
- How do changes in bilirubin affect stool color?
- How does intestinal bleeding change stool color?
- What other things can cause changes in the color of stool?
- What are the symptoms of stool color changes?
- Patient Comments: Stool Color & Texture Changes - Personal Experience
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What color is normal stool?
Stool (feces) is most commonly brown in color, and many people become curious or concerned when the color of their stool changes. Most stool-to-stool changes in color have little meaning; however, some changes, particularly if the changes are consistent from stool-to-stool and not present in only one stool, can be important.
What causes normal stool color?
The color of stool is normally due to the presence of bile, specifically, the bilirubin in bile. Bilirubin is formed from hemoglobin after hemoglobin is released from red blood cells during their destruction, a part of the normal process of replacing the red blood cells in blood. The released hemoglobin is modified chemically and removed from the blood by the liver. In the liver the chemically changed hemoglobin (called bilirubin) is attached to other chemicals and secreted from the cells of the liver into bile. Depending on the concentration of bilirubin, bile can vary from almost black to light yellow in color.
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