Stool Color, Changes in Color, Texture, and Form
Table of Contents
- Stool color, texture, and form changes facts
- What are symptoms of stool color changes?
- What does it mean when your stool color changes in color, texture, or form?
- What is the color of normal stool?
- What are the causes of stool color, texture, and form changes?
- Green stools
- Yellow, greasy, and foul smelling stool
- Bright red stools
- Black tarry stools
- Light-colored white or clay-colored stools
- Maroon stools
- Mucous in the stool
- Drugs that change stool color
- Stool that floats
- Changes in the size and shape of stool
- What kind of doctor treats stool color changes?
- How is the cause of stool color changes diagnosed?
- When should I contact my doctor about stool color or texture changes?
- Stool color chart
What are the causes of stool color, texture, and form changes?
In most cases, stool color changes are not symptoms of disease. Changes in stool color may be due to:
- Diarrhea may cause green or yellow stools.
- Some foods (beets, Jell-O, licorice, green leafy vegetables)
- A few over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications
- Diseases affecting the liver, pancreas, and intestines
- Bleeding from the intestinal tract
If stool passes through the intestine too quickly, there might not be enough time for bile to be digested and broken down to provide the normal brownish stool color. Normally bile is chemically changed by bacteria in the intestine to a greenish-brown color. It takes time for the bile to be fully changed in the intestine and become brown again, and if the transit time is short, for example, when a person has diarrhea, the stool remains green colored.
Green stools may be a normal variant. They also can be caused by a diet rich in green vegetables, especially spinach. Iron supplements also may be a cause, though iron often turns stool black.