Stool Color Changes
Stool Color Quick Overview
- Normal stool color is brown. This is due to the presence of bile in the stool. Normal stool color can range from light yellow to brown to almost black.
- If stool is red, maroon, black, clay-colored, pale, yellow, or green this may signify a problem.
- Some causes of stool color changes include
- bleeding in the stomach,
- bleeding in the lower parts of the intestines or colon,
- certain vegetables with deep colors, green foods,
- food dyes (especially red, green, purple),
- iron pills,
- bismuth-containing medications (such as Pepto-Bismol),
- biliary obstruction,
- cystic fibrosis,
- chronic pancreatitis,
- obstruction of the pancreatic duct that carries the enzymes to the intestines (most commonly due to pancreatic cancer),
- celiac disease,
- high fat foods,
- weight loss medications that limit the amount of fat absorbed by the intestines, and
- Symptoms of stool color changes are usually related to the underlying cause and often there are no accompanying symptoms. When there are, they may include
- Treatment for changes in stool color depends upon on the cause and can vary widely.
- If stool color changes only happen once or twice (are transient) they are less of a concern than those that are persistent. Contact your doctor if the stool color changes are persistent.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/16/2015
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