When you have a bowel movement, your body is providing you with incredible insight as to the state of your health and digestion. If you don’t regularly check the toilet bowl after having a bowel movement then you should! Please note: “stools”, “crap”, “bowel movements”, “BMs” all refer to “POOP”. Here’s what you need to know:
Causes of black-coloured poop:
- iron supplements or foods high in iron
- Pepto-Bismol or other meds with bismuth
- acidified blood (blood from higher in the digestive tract)
- Tylenol and other pain meds
- black licorice
- large amounts of spinach or other greens
- other foods dark in color
Causes of red-coloured poop:
- blood (such as from hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or diverticualr disease)
- red gelatin, popsicles, or food containing artificial red coloring
- tomato juice or soup
- beets – this is a good reason for red poop!
Causes of pale or clay-coloured poop:
- a good indication you need to do a liver cleanse
- liver disease or congestion (such as hepatitis or obstruction of bile ducts)
- antacids containing aluminum hydroxide
- barium from a recent barium enema test
Causes of green-coloured poop:
- large amounts of green, leafy vegetables (ya! for you)
- green or purple artificial coloring (popsicles, Kool-Aid, gelatin)
- iron supplements
- infectious gastroenteritis
- rapid bowel transit from coffee or decreased colonic transit time (ie. constipation)
Causes of orange-coloured poop:
- some medications (such as beta-carotene and Rifampen)
- foods high in beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, winter squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mangoes. you would have to eat a heck of a lot of orange foods for this to occur
Causes of undigested food particles in your poop:
- Not chewing enough (remember your stomach does not have teeth!) and eating too fast
- Eating food that cannot be digested ie. corn, peanuts etc
- Consuming too many stimulants, forcing the evacuation of food from your gut before it’s actually ready ie. caffeine containing beverages
Ideal poop colour is chestnut brown.
BEFORE YOU GET PARANOID AND THINK SOMETHING IS WRONG, PLEASE NOTE:
Changes in the color, consistency, and frequency of your bowel movements is completely normal from time to time. Your diet and level of stress will immediately impact your digestion which will be visible going out the other end. As well, this advice is NOT meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor or qualified practitioner for advice or getting your poop in order.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Bleeding in the Digestive Tract.” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. November 2004. 22 Apr 2009.
A.D.A.M. Health Illustrated Encyclopedia. “Bloody or tarry stools.” A.D.A.M. 25 July 2007. 22 Apr 2009.
A.D.A.M. Health Illustrated Encyclopedia. “Stools – pale or clay-colored.” A.D.A.M. 8 Aug 2008. 23 Apr 2009.