Why is my poop green and what does it mean? | The Sun
1st December 2022

FROM time to time the colour of our poop may look a bit off.

And even though it's true to say that poop can come in all different shapes, sizes and colours – some better than others.

This can be down to several factors including your diet and lifestyle.

In fact, poop can say a lot about our health. It may indicate you need to tweak your diet, or even signify a killer disease – bowel cancer.

Why is my poop green?

Even noticed your poo looks a bit green?

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Your poop may be green because you include lots of greens in your diet, such as kale, broccoli and spinach.

Green poop can also be a result of eating blue foods, like the superfood blueberries, and purple and black foods.

Greenish poop is also caused by bile, which is a sign that your liver and pancreas are working well.

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But on a more serious note, green poo may signify you have a bacterial infection.

If you feel unwell and have diarrhoea, it may be a bug in your gut like salmonella, giardia, or norovirus.

Because these bugs cause diarrhoea, your poop passes too fast through your intestines for bile to break it down properly, and turn it brown.

Medications can also turn your faeces green, including some antibiotics, contraceptives, and iron supplements.

Normal for you

When it comes to going for a number two, plenty of people aren’t really sure what’s normal.

Keeping an eye on what's 'normal' for you though is crucial, as is being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

If you notice any changes to your usual habits, don't be embarrassed, speak to your GP.

And if you are eligible for a bowel cancer testing kit, make sure to do on.

The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April 2018 – to call on the Government to lower the bowel cancer screening age to 50 and raise symptom awareness. 

As a result, people in their 50s started to be invited for screening last year.

Is green poop bad?

Not necessarily.

Green poo often shows that you are eating plenty of green vegetables, so is a good sign.

Your liver produces bile to aid digestion, and sometimes this can make your stools greenish. It’s usually not a problem, just a healthy system.

But a drastic change in your bowel habits could indicate something more serious.

You should seek medical advice if:

  • You are feeling unwell and your poo has become green but you have not suddenly started on a green veg blow out.
  • The consistency of your number twos has changed along with it becoming green, and you aren’t scoffing loads of greens.
  • You haven’t made any dietary changes and your usually brownish poo is suddenly green.
  • Your stools have become green after a recent bone marrow transplant, because it can indicate rejection.

How many times a day should you poop?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to regularity of poops, and this differs from everyone.

Dr McClymont says that this differs for everyone and that many people pass one stool every day.

"But others may pass 2 a day or one every 2 days. The key is to consider what’s “normal” for you.

"If the frequency of your poo suddenly changes, and you become constipated or start passing multiple stools a day when you usually only pass one, it’s best to talk to a doctor."

If you're still concerned about your poop then you should contact your GP.

How do I stop green poop?

This depends on what is making it green in the first place, but here are some things to consider:

1. Eat a balanced diet, of which green vegetables are a part, alongside healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

2. Help your liver and gallbladder by eating fermented or sour foods like kimchi and lemons.

3. Boost your gut bacteria, which contribute their own waste to yours to generate its brown colour, by taking a probiotic.

What colour should poop be?

Dr Rhianna McClymont, lead GP at Livi said stools can be any shade from brown to purple.

She said: "Beetroot, for instance, can cause a red-pink tinge, which might be quite concerning at first glance."

Some causes of coloured stool are more serious.

Red or black in poop can signify bleeding, which may be related to haemorrhoids or bowel cancer.

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Pale or "clay-coloured" poop is a warning sign the liver, gallbladder or pancrease is not working well, and therefore you should see a doctor.

Hepatitis, liver disease and some cancers can cause pale poop.

What should your poop look like?

There are seven types of poop, according to the Bristol Stool Chart, and the type you expel depends on how long it spent in your bowel.

But your overall health also plays a role in what your poo looks like.

Based on the stool chart, types one and two indicate constipation, types three and four are the ideal poos and types five to seven indicate diarrhoea.

Type 1: Seperate hard lumps

Type 2: Lumpy and sausage like

Type 3: A susage shape with cracks in the surface

Type 4: Like a smooth, soft sausage or snake

Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges

Type 6: Mushy consistency with ragged edges

Type 7: Liquid consistency with no solid pieces

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