Fresh + Informative Health News

The scoop on poop

We're serious...you should take note of the color of your bowel movements.

Article Author: Johnny Woodhouse

Article Date:

poop emoji
Brown is the color of healthy poop. Any other color could point to a health issue.

In the 1993 film “Jurassic Park,” Dr. Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist, can’t be sure what ails a sick Triceratops until she examines the dinosaur’s droppings.

Fortunately, that's not the case with humans.

infographic explaining the "colors of poop" each color associates with a different color on toilet paper

What different poop colors mean

The color and consistency of your stool is one way doctors can tell if your gastrointestinal tract is functioning properly or not.

Brown poop

Brown is the color of healthy stool. Any other color could point to a health issue.

Black poop

Most cases of black stool are from eating dark foods (such as black licorice) or from taking iron supplements. The most common condition that causes black bowel movements is a bleeding ulcer.

Green poop

Green comes from eating lots of, you guessed it, green vegetables. Taking iron supplements can also turn your poop green.

Yellow poop

Light yellow/fatty stool indicates a lack of bile, a fluid that digests fats, which could be a sign of a blockage in the bile duct.

Red/bloody poop

Bloody poop indicates bleeding in the lower area of the colon, which is a sign of inflammatory bowel disease. If blood in the stool is suspected, you should contact your physician as soon as possible.

"Bloody stools should not be assumed to be hemorrhoids and should definitely be medically evaluated," said family physician Patricia Calhoun, MD, of Baptist Primary Care. "Black tarry stools can sometimes indicate a condition called melena, which is associated with bleeding from a point higher up in the GI tract."

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns

If you need a primary care physician to evaluate your overall health, call 904.202.4YOU (904.202.4968), or visit Baptist Primary Care to make an appointment.

Find a Primary Care Office

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