- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
The normal color of a healthy stool is brown or any shade of brown. This brown color is formed as the food is being digested by the body. As the broken down food enters the small intestines, a yellow-green colored bile is excreted by the liver and mixes with the food breaking it down into a form that can be absorbed by the body. It is in the small intestines where the nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed by the body are being absorbed. Only after all the nutrients are absorbed does the food left over becomes brown and are transported to the large intestines to be excreted as feces or stool. Green diarrhea or having stool of a different color may happen due to a number of reasons.
Green diarrhea is a condition when you’re stool is green in color. Although this may not happen at a daily basis, green diarrhea may or may not indicate a problem with a person’s health. One major reason of having green diarrhea is related to a person’s diet. Eating a lot of green vegetables may cause your stool to be green. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, the green pigment that plants use in the photosynthesis process. When a person eats a lot of green vegetables, some of this green pigment may be left behind during the digestion process causing you to have green diarrhea. Eating other foods with artificial coloring such as popsicles or green Kool-aid can also cause people to have green stool. Iron supplements when taken at high concentrations may also cause the stool to become green. Having green diarrhea because of this reason is just temporary, harmless and may easily be corrected by changing your diet.
Another reason for having green diarrhea is if when food passes quickly through the intestines. The green color of the stool is caused by the green bile secreted by the liver. When food travels quickly through the intestines, there is not enough time for the nutrients to be absorbed. This means that the green bile is still mixed with the food which causes it to become greenish in color. People taking laxatives or have chronic diarrhea will often excrete green stool.
Green diarrhea is often temporary and isn’t something to get panic about. Green stool is often caused by a person’s diet. However, if the person is suffering from green diarrhea for more than a couple of days, that person must consult a doctor since the cause of the diarrhea might be more than just a dietary problem. There are a number of diseases or biological factors that can cause chronic green diarrhea. These include colon cancer, celiac disease, malabsorption, Crohn’s Disease, Salmonella Poisoning, Ulcerative Colitis, Infectious Diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Having green diarrhea is not as serious as many people think it is. Eating a balanced diet will often prevent the occurrence of green diarrhea. However, if green diarrhea is occurring for a prolonged period of time, a person should consult a doctor.