Green stools: why they appear, causes and treatment

Green stools

The stools may have different and different colors, and they can become a sign of our health , because when there is no type of pathology and before a normal deposition, they tend to acquire a brown color as a result of the joint action of both intestinal bacteria and bilirubin. In fact, the bilirubin ends up transforming into estercobilin at the end of the process, that brown pigment that is the final responsible for the color of the stool.

Within the different shades or colors that may have stool not only influences our health, but also what we eat. In fact, consuming a lot of iron can cause the stool to turn black. So, It is always essential to observe the poop when we go to the bathroom , without obsessing, but this simple action will allow us to discover if our feces will be normal or not.

For example, if our poop is brown or has a brown tone you can be calm, since this tone is the normal color of the stool. However, some yellow stools may be a possible symptom of celiac disease, while black or red stools they can indicate the existence of a possible internal hemorrhage. However, did you know that your stool can also turn green?

What are the causes of green poop?

Before talking about why green stools appear, it is extremely interesting - and almost essential - to know what the process that exists is and is produced before the expulsion of the feces themselves.

As you surely know, the liver secretes bile , a bright green liquid that is either stored in the gallbladder, or goes to the small intestine. This greenish liquid is essential for the absorption of both fat-soluble vitamins and fats, and besides being responsible for the color of the poop helps to soften them.


As bile gradually passes through the intestines it tends to progressively change its color, turning from green to yellow and finally to brown as a result of the action of bacteria in the large intestine.

This translates into something very simple. When stools are green they often indicate that food has passed faster than normal through the intestines ; that is, the intestinal transit time has been reduced and not at all normal, not giving possibility or time that the stool could have changed from green to brown.

Explained in another way, what we have ingested has passed so fast through our digestive system that at the moment of expelling the bile it has practically not been modified , so that biliverdin has not been reduced to bilirubin.

Do not miss: How are normal and healthy stools

A common cause of green stools is the appearance of diarrhea , which decreases the intestinal transit time, whatever the cause that has originated its appearance: from an intestinal infection to the consumption of antibiotics or other drugs, as well as the existence of inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease or lactose intolerance.

For this reason, we can summarize in the following section which are the main causes that cause the appearance of green stools:

  • Diarrhea, whether infectious or traveler.
  • Celiac disease and lactose intolerance.
  • Consumption of antibiotics or laxatives.
  • Food in poor condition.
  • Crohn's disease.
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Bad absorption


On the other hand, there are also certain foods that can cause the color change of stools . It is the case of spinach waves algae , that can endow them with this tonality. The iron supplements wave chlorophyll they can also produce it, although it is true that iron supplements tend to cause the appearance of black or dark poop.

What do you do when you have green poop?

The best thing to do is to wait and see how the next poop is, especially if you are not sick or suffer from an intestinal disorder (such as viral gastroenteritis). If the main cause is diarrhea, we must follow a soft diet and drink plenty of fluids, to replace those that we lose every time we go to the bathroom.

For example, it may be necessary to take serum, which is much more appropriate than some rehydration drinks that have recently become famous for the treatment of gastroenteritis, but which are not suitable due to their high sugar content.

You can also ask yourself if you have been able to eat something that could have caused the change of tonality, such as spinach, iron supplements, seaweed ... If so, the most common is that the next time you go to the bathroom, the stool will acquire a tonality more normal.

But going back to the beginning, in case the cause is related to the appearance of diarrhea, it is best to go to the doctor to analyze it.

For example, in case of diarrhea due to viral infection, it is best to hydrate well and drink plenty of fluids, leaving the stomach to rest. However, if the diarrhea is too close or strong you should also go to the doctor, since you run the risk of suffering from dehydration.

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