“Changes in your stool color are almost always caused by the foods you consume and are usually not something to worry over, says Dr. Borkar. But there are a handful of colors that do warrant a call to the doctor.
Here are seven poop colors and what they mean, including when to call a doctor:
Green is likely due to your diet. Foods like green Jell-O, green ice creams, Spinach, black jelly beans and black licorice are all suspects, Dr. Borkar says. Your color should go back to normal after these foods pass through your body.
With diarrhea, your poop might appear yellow, says Dr. Wolf, a gastroenterologist. Diarrhea means your system is working too fast for stool to correctly form. So there is less chance for it to change into a dark color.
Yellow poop could also be due to too much fat inside your meals and might be a result of a high-fat diet such as keto.
Here again, it will be because of the foods you ate. With blueberries being the main cause of a dark blue stool that can almost look black, Dr. Wolf says.
This one is tricky. The cause could be totally simple, such as beets or red sports drinks, says Dr. Wolf. A cut on your anus, hemorrhoidal bleeding, or constipation are all possible causes.
But red poop could also have dangerous causes, like colon bleeding.
It could even be a warning sign of colorectal cancer; more symptoms include bowel habits changes that don’t go away after a few days, abdominal pain and weight loss.
5. Dark Red or Maroon
A dark red color might also come from bleeding in your GI tract, especially where the colon meets your small bowel, says Dr. Wolf. But also, colon cancer, inflammation in your colon, colitis and diverticulosis can all be the cause of this maroon color. Call a doctor if you have this color of stool.
You don’t want black poop. Black poop can be because of Pepto-Bismol, iron supplements or eating blueberries, says Dr. Wolf.
“Black stool might also be from bleeding from your esophagus, the small intestine or the stomach., Dr. Borkar says. That can be because of an ulcer in your stomach or in rare situations, a tumor in your GI tract. “The stool gets black because of the blood running through your GI tract where it is processed by enzymes., she says.
7. Clay, Pale or White
Anti-diarrhea medications, like Kaopectate, can turn your stools light colored. But clay-toned stools could also be a sign of obstruction in your liver or bile ducts, says Dr. Borkar.
A tumor or Gallstones in your pancreas could block these ducts. If you have this color, call your doctor immediately especially if you’re experiencing pain.