Dark Green Stool


The appearance of green stool often perplexes the individual. Is it a normal occurrence? Is it common? Or is it something to be worried about? The stool is the waste from the human body which includes bacteria. Its appearance depends on the type of diet the person is having, the individual’s general health and the status of the digestive system. Green stool is but one of the many forms the human waste can take. Read more about bowel movements, colors, shape etc.

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Generally, green stool is considered normal if it is due to the constant intake of green, leafy vegetables or certain medications such as iron supplements. In infants, its appearance is actually quite common if the babies are breastfed. In other cases, however, this indicates a complication with digestion of the food due to a certain disorder or disease.

Causes of Green Stools

Generally, the regular color of stool is from dark to light brown. The color of the stool is taken from the bile which is a yellow-green liquid generated within the liver that helps in the digestion of food. When the food passes through the digestive tract, the enzymes present in this area break the bile down which results into different shades of brown stool. When the person has a problem with digestion of food due to certain diseases, the food passes through quickly without giving the enzymes a chance to do their role and turn the color of the stool to brown.

Medications or foods that contribute to green-colored stools are:

• Laxatives

• Iron supplements

• Consumption of green crayons

• Breast milk

• Some types of antibiotics

• Green leafy vegetables, especially ones that are dark in color and rich in iron

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• Food coloring with green color, those that are commonly seen in desserts, drinks or popsicles

Symptoms Associated with Green Stools

In some cases, certain symptoms also appear around the same time as green stools make their presence. In other cases no symptoms occur at all, which indicates that the green stool is normal. The following symptoms may occur together with the green-colored stools:

• Poor appetite

• Burning sensation on the anus or rectal pain

• Foul-smelling stools

• Flu-like symptoms such as aches, pains, cough, headache, sore throat, fever and fatigue

• Indigestion and flatulence

• Diarrhea

• Weight loss

• Cramping or abdominal pain

There are certain cases where the green-colored stool is associated with diarrhea and other symptoms. The symptoms below indicate a more serious situation that can be life-threatening:

• Weakness of the body

• Severe diarrhea

• Acute abdominal pain

• Bloated abdomen

• Breathing or respiratory problems like shortness of breath, choking, not breathing, wheezing, labored breathing or difficulty breathing

• Tachycardia or fast heart rate

• Fast breathing or tachypnea

• No urine production or infants do not produce the usual number of wet diapers

• Severe rectal bleeding

• High fever

• Dizziness

• Unresponsiveness or change in the level of alertness or consciousness

When the above-mentioned symptoms occur together with green stool, it is recommended to seek medical attention right away or better yet proceed to the ER for prompt treatment.

Read more about black stool and causes

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