- Keeping an eye on your poop, and any changes in it, is a convenient way to monitor your digestive health.
- Green poop is usually harmless and is likely a result of increasing your intake of dark green vegetables, taking a greens supplement, eating foods with dye in them or diarrhea.
- If your poop is discolored and you have other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, or blood, consult your healthcare provider, as it may be a sign of a more serious issue.
Poop is usually brown in color. The main factors that contribute to poop’s brown color are bilirubin and bile.
Bilirubin is a yellow substance found in the liver that is created when the body breaks down old red blood cells.
Bile is dark brown or green and is produced by the liver to help digest fats.
Both of these substances are secreted into the small intestine during digestion and slowly make their way into poop over the course of the digestive process.
When your digested food mixes with greenish-brown bile and yellow-colored bilirubin, the result is brown.
What Makes Poop Green After Drinking Greens?
There are many reasons your poop might be green, most of which aren’t any cause for concern.
Here Are A Few Of The Possibilities:
You’re Eating Your Greens
This is because they contain chlorophyll, the pigment that makes green plants green.
This is no reason for alarm – keep eating those greens!
You’ve Eaten Food With Dyes
Some foods contain food coloring that our body doesn’t always process properly.
This can result in your poop being a bit more colorful than usual.
The food coloring doesn’t even necessarily have to be green in order to make your poop green. Purple, blue, and black dyes can also lead to green poop.
While this isn’t a major cause for concern, it can be an indicator to reduce your intake of highly processed foods and up your water intake.
You Have Diarrhea
Stool can be a different color than normal when your food doesn’t spend enough time in your digestive tract, such as when you have a bout of diarrhea.
In that instance, the bile from your gallbladder doesn’t have enough time to break down fully.
This can leave a green tinge in poop because of the natural green color of bile salts.
Other Possible Causes
Green poop can also be brought on by:
- Some medications such as some antibiotics and iron supplements
- Gastrointestinal issues such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, and ulcerative colitis
- Some parasites, viruses, and bacteria
- Overuse of laxatives
Why Does Consuming Greens Cause Green Poop?
Suddenly upping your greens or including a greens supplement in your daily diet may have some digestive side effects such as:
These happen as your system adjusts to the increase in certain nutrients. For most, these symptoms are temporary and only last a few days.
Green poop is another side effect.
It occurs due to the chlorophyll pigment that’s found in dark green vegetables and many greens supplements. But don’t stress – it’s nothing to worry about.
Is Green Poop A Cause For Concern?
For the most part, green poop likely isn’t cause for concern if it happens occasionally and goes away.
However, if you feel like something isn’t quite right or your discolored stool is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, or blood, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.
It could be a sign you’re dealing with a more serious health condition that needs treatment.
Checking Your Poop
Keeping an eye on your poop, and whether there’s any changes in it, is a good habit to get into. Sometimes your poop might have some other colors in it that could indicate an issue.
For example, red blood in the stool or black tarry stool is not normal and should be addressed right away. This could be a sign of an upper digestive tract issue, such as stomach or small intestine bleeding.
And stool that is pale or is clay-like in color may be an indication of health conditions such as bile duct cysts, gallstones, or hepatitis.
If you have any concerns about the color of your poop, contact your healthcare provider.
How To Get Rid Of Green Poop?
Figuring out how to get rid of green poop really depends on what’s caused it.
A harmless bout of green poop should usually go away by itself.
If it’s from all the green veg you’ve been eating or your new greens powder, give yourself a pat on the back for getting those greens in!
But if it’s from food coloring, maybe lay off the St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes.
If your poop is green due to a more serious condition, your healthcare provider will diagnose it and offer you advice on how best to treat it.
Regularly checking your poop is a handy way of keeping up to date with your digestive health.
“Normal” poop can vary from person to person, so get familiar with what’s normal for you. Then it’s easy to tell when something’s not quite right.
Poop is usually a brown color due to the bile and bilirubin it contains. However, sometimes it may become a bit more colorful.
If you’ve noticed your poop is green, it’s probably because you ate something dyed, are having diarrhea, or because you’re just killing it with your veggie intake.
But, as always, if you’re worried, or if your discolored poop is accompanied by any other concerning symptoms, definitely consult with your healthcare practitioner for an evaluation.
Lucy Brennan is a registered associate nutritionist (ANutr) and freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition and wellness content. She holds a BSc. (First Class Hons) in Public Health Nutrition and has over 4 years’ experience working in health communication, which is where her passion lies.
She has worked in roles with The Irish Food Board and FleishmanHillard PR, on their healthcare team, working with national and international health companies. Using this experience, Lucy now writes content in a freelance capacity. Lucy is dedicated to providing evidence-based content that is both engaging and accessible and inspires readers to make informed choices regarding their health.