We all do it; after sitting on the loo to do your thang, you take a cheeky little sneak peek in the toilet bowl.
On a good day, everything is a comfortable and familiar brown color. But let's say on another occasion, your minding your own business while doing your business, and upon inspection, you notice various shades of green.
What gives? Are you sick? Did you eat something with radioactive food coloring that's wreaking havoc on your gut? Is someone playing a prank? No, you're probably dying.
Relax — you're probably going to be A-OK. Having random bouts of green poo is actually totally normal and quite common. In fact, there are a number of reasons why your bowels might take on a greenish hue.
Interested in learning more? Love Wellness has your back. Read on to get the scoop on why you might have green poop.
What Does a Healthy Bowel Movement Look Like?
Poop, stool, bowel movements, feces — whatever you want to call it, it's important.
What goes on in the toilet is often regarded as #TMI and rarely ever discussed, but we want to break the mold to get the convo going. Why? Because your bowel habits are a strong indicator of your digestive health.
Changes in the shape, texture, and color of your poop can reveal signs of infection, issues in the gut, or more serious health problems that require medical attention.
That said, what does a healthy bowel movement look like? Normal stool is generally:
- Soft to firm in texture
- Mainly solid inconsistency
- Pain-free to pass
- Passed once or twice daily
And, of course, brown.
Hold Up — Why Brown?
The iconic brown color of poo is due to a mix of dead red blood cells and waste from the bacteria in your bowels. The bile in your intestines is usually a yellowish-green color, but the little critters that live in your gut (aka, bacteria) add the rest of the hue.
Other than making your poop brown, bacteria perform a number of essential functions. Yup, it's true — intestinal bacteria:
- Control the growth of pathogenic bacteria
- Produce vitamin B12 and vitamin K
- Break down toxins in the large intestine
- Helps the body absorb nutrients from food
Needless to say, the bacteria in your gut are important. To help keep them healthy and happy, we recommend taking a daily probiotic — like Gut Feelings Probiotics.
Our innovative prebiotic and probiotic formula is your immune system's first line of defense— three billion CFUs of probiotic strains work in perfect harmony to support healthy gut function and digestion.
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What Causes Green Poop?
Okay, enough chit-chat on brown poo — it's time to discuss the green stuff.
Here are some of the most common culprits behind your green poop:
Reason #1: Green Foods
Everyone knows that a diet rich in leafy greens like spinach and kale is really good for you. The only downside is that the chlorophyll that gives these veggies their green color can do the same to your poop.
That said, it takes quite a bit of green to make this happen, but between bottomless salads, broccoli slaw, and kale smoothies, it's totally possible. Other potential foods that may turn your stool green include:
- Green apples
- Green vegetables
- Honeydew melon
- Hemp seeds
In addition, a less organic culprit — green food coloring — could also be responsible for the Hulk-like hue on your #2.
Reason #2: Medications
If you've recently taken antibiotics to combat an icky illness, it's not uncommon to notice a change in the shade of your poop. This is because antibiotics can alter the bacterial content of stool, which sometimes leads to green feces. Thankfully, this tends to clear up within a few days after completing your course of meds.
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Reason #3: Iron Supplements
Believe it or not, iron supplements are notoriously difficult on the stomach, with uncomfortable side effects like nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and bloating. Yup, it's true — this is why those with an ulcer or inflammatory bowel condition, like irritable bowel syndrome, want to check with their primary care provider before taking any iron supplements.
In addition to digestive upset, iron supplements can change the color of your stool to dark green or even black. Other supplements and vitamins that can cause your poo to go green include:
- Yerba mate tea
- Cascara sagrada
- Fiber supplements
- Greens powder supplements
Reason #4: Hormones
If you've recently started on birth control, you might be seeing changes to your poop. The birth control shot — namely, Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) — has been known to cause green bowel movements as a side effect.
As for why this happens, experts aren't totally sure, but anything that changes hormones can also affect the biliary system, including the gallbladder and liver, and if what you chow down on isn't being broken down as it should, your odds of green poo could increase.
Reason #5: Gastrointestinal Tract Conditions
If you have a gastrointestinal (GI) illness, especially one that causes diarrhea, bile may move through your intestines too quickly, resulting in green stool. Conditions such as Crohn's disease, IBS, ulcerative colitis, and food intolerances can all cause poo to turn green, too.
This is because the gallbladder, liver, and GI tract are intimately involved with each other — when one is not happy, the entire system is affected. Bile produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder can be green, so green poo might be a sign of an underlying medical issue.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If your green poo goes hand-in-hand with diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, seek medical care. Long-term diarrhea that goes untreated can lead to dehydration and poor nutrition.
Are you experiencing more severe symptoms, such as digestive upset, nausea, or bloody stool? These symptoms also warrant a visit to the doctor's office.
While it may be a bit awk to discuss your feces, a healthcare provider can review your diet, lifestyle, medical conditions, and more to get to the bottom of your green poop.
A Final Word
So, why is poo sometimes green, you ask?
Simply put, poop can be green for a number of reasons, ranging from diet and hormones to GI conditions and medications. That said, green stool is usually not a cause for concern, so there's no need to panic, but if other questionable symptoms accompany it, you may want to consider getting checked out by a doctor— just to make sure you're in tip-top shape.
Here at Love Wellness, we offer better-for-you products that support all areas of wellness, from vaginal and gut health to sexual and emotional health.
Whether you’re on a mission to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your GI tract or simply hoping to find awesome doctor-developed wellness products that actually work — you can count on us to have your back.
Check us out today and improve your overall wellness tomorrow. Trust us — you’ll be glad you did.