What Stool Color Says About Your Health

Usually brown is the normal color of the feces. However, the color of your stool might change due to several reasons. Usually your diet determines the color of your stool. Nonetheless, abnormal color of the stool might be the sign of an underlying illness.

Bile present in the stool gives it its normal color. The exact color of the stool depends upon the concentration of bilirubin in the bile. The damaged hemoglobin is converted into bilirubin in the liver. Bilurubin along with several other chemicals form bile. The normal color of the stool varies between black to light yellow.

Normal color of stool
The color of the feces also depends upon the speed of digestion. Stool that is dark to light brown in color is a sign of normal digestion.

Causes of green stool
If the contents in the intestine travel through the digestive tract at a rapid pace, the stool becomes green in color. The green color is a sign of minimal chemical changes in the bilirubin. Food moves through the intestines at a rapid speed during diarrhea. However, green stool can occur even without diarrhea. Diet rich in green leafy vegetables might give the stool a mild green color. Intake of foods with green coloring agents might make the stools green. Occasionally iron supplements are responsible for the green color of the stool.

Causes of light colored or white stool
White, gray or clay colored stool indicates absence of bilirubin in the stool. This is a symptom of a serious health disorder. Light colored stool is a symptom of an obstruction in the bile duct. Tumors in the pancreas or bile ducts prevent bile flow. Large doses of certain medications and anti-diarrheal drugs might produce light colored stools.

Causes of black stool
Intestinal bleeding is one of the common causes of abnormal stool color. Black colored stool is a symptom of bleeding in the upper intestine such as in the stomach or esophagus. Chemical reactions, which occur when the hemoglobin in the blood is exposed to the intestinal enzymes, alter the color of the hemoglobin, which blackens the stool. Iron supplements and black licorice could make your stool black.

Bright red stool
Bright red stool is a sign of bleeding in the rectum. Excess consumption of beetroot and beet juices could produce red colored stool.