HEALTH

What the Color of Your Poo is Telling You

This is a shitty post. Pun intended. Literally.

The color of your poo can tell a lot about your state of health. Not a normal conversation topic you would have…not even with your best friend. So, if you don’t have the stomach for it, here’s the warning: Stop here. Do not continue to read.

I have to be honest: I have been having dark greenish poo the last week or so. I wondered ‘Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing?‘. So, I called my husband (who happens to be my best friend too…poor guy) and he responded ‘What have you been eating?‘. Good question. Why didn’t I think of that?

I realized that, in the past week or so, I have been consciously adding more green leafy vegetables to my diet. I also started on a daily intake of wheatgrass juice extract. Maybe that could explain my poo’s dark greenish color.

More often than not, people do not pay attention to the color of their poo. And why would we?

But simply knowing what normal poo color should be, compared to what your poo color really is, can be a great help in early detection of diseases. This sparked my interest in understanding the different colors of poo. After all, if you are not talking to your girlfriends about it, how else are you going to know?

The Best Of Its Kind: Brown
Light to medium brown poo is the target of good health. The brown color is a pigmentation called bilirubin, which is essential red blood cells that have been broken down in the liver and bone marrow. It is released into the intestinal tract and exposed to bacteria. Bacteria changes the chemical nature of bilirubin, and when combined with poo, it turns brown. This is normal poo at its best.

If you are not getting the nice chocolatey poo colour, then the following is a list of what I call ‘Other Shades of Poo’.

Super Light Brown
When your poo is a pine wood brown, that means there is too much fat in your body, possible liver issue or constipation. There is insufficient fiber content in your diet. Try increasing your intake of fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables. Fiber-rich foods include apples, blueberries, carrots, strawberries, nuts and seeds.

Black
If your poo is a dark tarry-black color, it usually means there is presence of dried blood. Possibly intestinal bleeding somewhere along your intestinal tract. Don’t panic yet because the somewhat-ok news is, it is far away enough from your rectum that the fresh blood has had enough time to dry. Most likely somewhere in the upper section of the GI (gastrointestinal tract) like the esophagus or first section of the small intestine. This may occur if you consumed a high intake of iron supplements, have had large quantities of blueberries, olives, licorice or alcohol. Knowing this, you can tweak your diet a little and see if the color improves. I have had this before and the color goes back to a normal after two to three days.

Dark Green
Dark green poo (any shade of green for that matter) means there is a large quantity of undigested green vegetables in your system. How so? Well, bile is green in color. And normally when poo passes through the large intestines (at normal speed), it is mixed with bile and turns brown. When poo passes through the intestine too fast, it has no time to turn brown and comes out green. Having green poo is actually not a major health concern. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive (like me) tend to have greenish poo because we are probably taking in a lot of iron-rich supplements like folic acid, wheatgrass and chlorophyll.

Red
If the color of your poo reminds you of red wine or strawberries, it could indicate a number of things such as a bleeding stomach ulcer, digestive disorder, hemorrhoids, colon polyps and possibly even, colon cancer. Any shade of red is not a good thing when it comes to poo. On the other hand, there are certain foods that are rich in natural and artificial colors that can also make your poo go red such as beetroot, tomato juice/soup and licorice. If you haven’t had any red-colored foods and this is the color of your poo, you should consult your doctor.

Earth
What I mean by earth-colored poo is any shade that looks orange, yellow and clay. If this is the color of your poo, it generally means several things: 1) A high intake of  natural and artificial orange-colored food like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. 2) An intake of supplements and medication such as Vitamin A and aluminum hydroxide (found in stomach acid neutralizers like Eno, Alka-Seltzer and Mylanta). 3) Poo is passing through the body too rapidly. Reasons for this include diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. 4) Blocked bile ducts. Bile generated from gallbladder is not entering your intestines. As poo passes through your GI, it is not absorbing enough bile to make it turn brown. A blocked bile duct can be caused by the presence of gallstones, inflammation, cysts or tumors. Clay-colored poo is almost always a sign of an important health concern! When combined with symptoms of abdominal or back pain, you really need to consult your doctor.

The above descriptions are by no means to be used as an indication or certainty of a medical diagnosis. It just serves as a quick general insight on your general health status based on the color of your poo. In most cases, simple dietary adjustments should be able to improve your poo’s color toward the ideal medium brown. If not, it could be time to consult your doctor.

Intrigued by this topic and wish to read more? You may also want to read Are You Ready For A Colema?

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