What It Means If You Have Green Poop

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What It Means If You Have Green Poop

It can be an extremely uncomfortable moment when you look down to notice something's not right after a trip to the restroom. With health being internal, our minds start to wonder and race when elements of our wellbeing are out in the open for us to see (even when we don't want to).

So, what does green poop mean and why is it this color? Before you start worrying and frantically Googling, know that it can even be a sign of a healthy diet. But it could also unfortunatley be something more serious if you notice you're not taking care of your body or going through new changes in medication.

We spoke with Dr. Niket Sonpal, a New York City-based Internist and Gastroenterologist, about all the potential reasons our stool may be green. Read on to see if any of these causes of green poop could be the reason for your symptoms.

RELATED: 3 Things Your Poop (Yes, Your Poop) Says About You And Your Health

1. Your diet

This is the most common reason for green poop and is based upon your diet and what you're eating. "Green stool is usually the result of a high quantity of leafy, green vegetables in one's diet. It is the chlorophyll in the plant that produces the green color," says Dr. Sonpal. Aside from veggies, "in pediatric populations, parents may notice their kid's poop turned green and is usually from the food coloring that is used in frosting, aka what I call Birthday Cake Syndrome." 

Along with leafy greens and frosting, our stool can also be impacted by the color wheel. "By eating blue or purple berries, you can actually give yourself green stool, because blue tones mixed with yellow from the stomach's bile can equal bright green. This it usually the most surprising to my patients and tends to be the most fun to teach in the exam room."

2. Bacterial infections

As bacterial infections can mess with your gut flora, it's no wonder they can affect the color of your stool. In fact, Dr. Sonpal claims that infections strong enough to cause diarrhea can give you green stools.

"If you have an infection from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, clostridium diffisicile, viruses or parasites like giardia, these can bring on diarrhea and increased bowel movements. This fast-moving stool doesn't allow your naturally green bile to become brown, and come out still green."

Dr. Sonpal caveats that if you notice this happening to your body, see you doctor right away. 

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3. Gallbladder surgery

"Once your gallbladder is gone, your body no longer has a place to store bile," advises Dr. Sonpal. "That means all the bile your body makes comes flying out constantly. So be patient. Usually eight weeks after surgery, patients can experience green stools and diarrhea. But do not worry; it is not for life, and usually gets better on its own as your intestines get used to the increased volume of bile and adjust the absorption."

During the recovery process, make sure to pay attention to your body and keep close contact with your doctor. If the coloring goes on longer than eight to ten weeks, consult your physician. 

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4. Antibiotics and medications

"Certain antibiotics can cause your stool to change color," warns Dr. Sonpal. "This is because it kills bad bacteria, but it also kills the good ones too. Without the good ones, we get occasional green stools from changes in the microbiome of our guts.

Depo-Provera works to suppress ovulation and has been associated with bloating or weight gain in some women, but I have had some women who notice green poop most commonly after their first few doses. We still do not know why this happens, but it's nothing to be concerned with and usually self-resolves. My person belief is it stimulates extra bile release, but we have no concrete proof yet."

While on antibiotics and medication, try implementing a probiotic routine, whether this is over-the-counter pills, or implementing diet changes like kombucha and kimchi.

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Elizabeth Blasi is a New Yorker. A lifestyle and travel writer, who is often seen with a suitcase in hand, jetsetting to her next location. But as a true Digital Nomad, her love of writing and romance novels means her laptop is always beside her.