There you are, tending to your morning rituals, and like clockwork it’s time for your post-coffee number two. You sit on the toilet like its business as usual, but then you get the sense that something isn’t quite right. You turn around, and upon further inspection, you’re taken aback! Shocked, you wonder: why is my poop green!?
Before your thoughts spiral into a worst-case scenario situation, there are a couple of perfectly reasonable explanations. Let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. Instead, let’s put our social taboos aside to discuss the perfectly normal reasons behind your abnormal poop color.
What is making my poop green?
- Your diet – Are we really what we eat? Well, our stool definitely is! Stool can change in color depending on the food we eat. Have you been eating a lot of green vegetables lately? This could easily explain the green color of your poop (1).
- Your supplements – Iron supplements or other supplements containing green dyes have been known to turn poop green. Have you added anything new into your supplement routine? Something to consider if you notice your poop looking greener than usual.
Why is my poop green and my stomach hurts?
- Diarrhea – No need to panic just yet, as acute diarrhea is actually quite common (2). Diarrhea is typically the result of a viral infection. In this case, your poop might be green because your stomach bile, which is green in color, wasn’t fully broken down before you went number two. If your diarrhea lasts more than a couple weeks, this could be a sign of chronic diarrhea, in which case you should consult your doctor (3).
- Antibiotics – Antibiotic use can also result in diarrhea. Antibiotics kill off the bacteria in our digestive tracts – both the good and the bad. This can result in changes in color and frequency of your poops. Usually, the symptoms will subside once you stop taking the antibiotics (4).
Still freaking out? Green tends to be one of the safer poop colors. If you notice a color other than green, for instance, more of a yellow color and a greasy consistency, it could indicate issues with absorption or celiac disease. Whitish, clay-colored stool could be from a lack of bile (1).
Seeing red? If you haven’t eaten beets recently, this may indicate bleeding in the lower part of the digestive tract. Black stool can also indicate bleeding, but in the upper part of the digestive tract. In those cases, talk to your doctor right away (1).
Green poop is not an indication of anything serious and will likely go away on its own. If you have diarrhea, the best thing you can do is drink lots of fluids and replace your electrolytes (1). This might mean skipping out on after work margaritas to go home and drink bone broth – but that’s the worst news we have for you here.
What does normal poop look like?
Taking a poop shouldn’t cause too much straining, but it also shouldn’t release at the speed of a freight train. Eating enough fiber and drinking enough water should keep your poop at a normal, solid consistency and relatively easy to eliminate.
Why is poop brown? This color is the result of bile having been metabolized by bacteria in the intestines. Although poop can vary on a spectrum of brown colors, as long as you are on that spectrum, your poop is considered normal (1).
Floaters or sinkers? A healthy persons’ poop should sink, not float. The causes of floating poop are usually not serious and are often related to gas or malabsorption issues (9). So if your poops make a little splash and noise, bonus points for you.
Before you go, here are a few facts you’ve never heard before about poop:
- Everyone has a different ‘normal’ – a 2010 study found that people poop between 3 times per day to 3 times per week. Whether you go every couple of days or a couple times before dinner, you are still considered to be within normal range (10)
- Periods and pooping – did you know that most women report increased frequency at the start of their period? This could be because of an increase in prostaglandins released at the start of your monthly cycle. Some of these prostaglandins promote cramping. This can affect not only the reproductive system but also the digestive system, stimulating more frequent bowel movements (11).
- Ginormous poop – the biggest poop ever found was a t-rex poop excavated in Alberta, Canada. It measured more than 25 inches in length (12)… yowza!
- Rye Bread might help you go – an article published by the Journal of Nutrition in 2010 concluded that eating rye bread can be useful in alleviating mild constipation. The study found that rye bread works better than some commonly used laxatives, without any adverse effects (13).
The takeaway: Green poop is a relatively normal occurrence. If you have pressing questions or concerns about your BM’s, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional. After all, everybody’s doing it (literally).