Stool Color (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What are the symptoms of stool color changes?
Changes in stool color do not cause symptoms. Symptoms that accompany changes in stool color result from the process that causes the change in color. For example, a green color is associated with diarrhea of any cause, and is not necessarily associated with symptoms other than the diarrhea itself. Clay-colored stool may be associated with abdominal and/or back pain if it is caused by tumors that block the bile ducts; however, if the tumors are very small, there may be no pain. Pain or no pain, obstruction of the ducts causes jaundice. Needless to say, changes in stool color due to ingested of foods or medicines are not associated with symptoms.
Black, maroon-colored or red stools usually will be associated with symptoms of pain, upper abdominal or lower abdominal depending on the site of the bleeding and location of the ulcerations causing the bleeding. Nevertheless, ulcerations, particularly of the stomach and duodenum may be painless 20% of the time as is most bleeding from diverticuli of the colon. Bleeding into the stomach is associated with nausea and vomiting if the bleeding is heavy. Also, tumors of the colon, benign or malignant and a common cause of intestinal bleeding, may not be associated with pain.
REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding Clinical Presentation.
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