What Does The Colour Of My Poop Mean?

Check the state of your health by the clues provided by your poop colour.

How To Check Your Health From Your Poop Colour

Our stool colour can indicate the state of our health by giving us clues about our diet (state of hydration, nutrients ingested) and lifestyle (too much stress), or the presence of gastrointestinal infection of disease. Though slight variations in our stool colour may be temporary, it is still important to keep a lookout for abnormalities, and consult a doctor if necessary.

Brown Poop

The desired colour of poop should resemble that of a bar of milk chocolate. This brown colour is due to the presence of a compound called stercobilin, which is formed when the bacteria in our colon digest bile.


Most daily changes in stool colour is due to our diet of various foods and medications. However if changes in stool colour persist for long periods of time may signify some other illness or underlying gastrointestinal disorder.

Very Light Brown Poop

If your poop has a very light shade of brown, the common possible causes are: too much fat in the diet, too little fibre intake, liver problem or malabsorption.

Associated symptoms may include diarrhoea or constipation.

Resolve to improve your diet, and if necessary, consider getting a liver and colon cleanse.

Black Poop

Black stool is usually caused by foods that are high in iron content, iron supplements, black licorices (or other dark coloured food), bismuth compounds (eg. Pepto-Bismol), or dried blood (from higher up in the digestive tract). The latter indicates bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach, or having ulcers in the gastric or duodenal. In addition, too much alcohol intake may result in black poop too.


Associated symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and feeling weak.

Solutions include reducing alcohol intake, reducing iron intake and avoiding medications that cause gastric irritation. Do consult a doctor to rule out upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding too.

Green Poop

If your poop is green, it usually means it has moved through your intestines too fast to complete the process of turning brown, such as due diarrhoea. This is typically caused by diet or infection.

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, or green food colouring are the main dietary culprits.


Gastrointestinal infection by a bacterium called Clostridium difficile typically occurs after a course of antibiotics taken for some other infections. C. diff is a normal part of the flora in your digestive tract, but taking antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria that normally keeps C. diff in check. As a result, the bacteria may proliferate uncontrollably and cause serious stomach issues.

If your poop is dark green, it may indicate your bile salt production is low or there is obstruction of your bile flow. Other possible causes are liver disease, gall bladder disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), taking of certain medicines.

Associated symptoms may include bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort or pain.

Possible solutions include getting a liver cleanse or increasing your fibre intake. It is important to consult your doctor to rule out liver, gall bladder or colonic disease.

White/Grey Poop

After drinking barium before getting an X-ray or CT scan, you may notice your poo is white or grey in colour. Certain medications such as large doses of bismuth subsalicylate and other anti-diarrhoea drugs may render your poop white too.

However white poo usually means your liver is not releasing enough bile salts into the stool in your intestines. It may be caused by a blockage in the bile ducts, gallstones, or by various types of liver diseases. White poo typically develops over days to weeks, and sometimes with a simultaneous darkening of the urine too.


Associated symptoms may include jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), loss of appetite and feeling weak.

Possible solutions include liver cleansing, taking supportive nutrition and supplements and consulting your doctor for treatment.

Yellow Poop

The main cause of yellow stool is the presence of fat in it. This occurs when dietary fat is not being digested by the body and absorbed from the poop. Excess fat in the stool can be due to a malabsorption disorder such as celiac disease.

With celiac disease, your body is unable to tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Eating gluten destroys villi (the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining your small intestines) and you’re unable to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. This contributes to the loose stools you could experience several times a day.


Yellow, greasy and foul-smelling floating stool is usually a sign of medical problems with the small intestine, pancreas or liver. Examples are pancreatic cancer, Gilbert’s Syndrome or parasitic infection.

Associated symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort or pain.

Try increasing your fluid and dietary fibre intake. Consider colon cleansing, or visiting a doctor to rule out pancreatic or liver disease.

Blue Poop

Some forms of edible blue dye, when consumed in large quantities, can cause poop to turn blue. Artificial colouring in food and drink items such as grape soda, blue curaçao, coloured candy, ice-cream etc can turn poop blue. Especially if the stool passes too quickly through the digestive tract. Supplements containing zinc or vanadyl sulfate may result in very dark bowel movements.

Indirect consumption of pigments such as Prussian blue can also cause blue poop. Prussian blue capsules are used to treat patients who are suffering from radiation poisoning, cesium poisoning or thallium poisoning. As the chemical (Fe7(CN)18) is actually a dye, patients who have been administered a significantly high dosage of Prussian blue capsules might excrete blue poop until the pigment is out of their bodies.

Blueberries contain natural blue pigment in them and if one consumes a significant amount of blueberries within a short time, there is a good chance that the person might see blue poop.


Bright Red Poop

Bright red poop is usually a sign of bleeding in the lower intestinal tract – such as the large intestine or rectum, often from haemorrhoids. It may also be due to polyps, anal fissures or colorectal cancer.

Or it may also happen after eating huge helpings of beets, cranberries, tomato juice, red gelatine or foods containing red colouring.

If bleeding is suspected, a colonoscopy is performed to view the inside of the colon to check where the bleeding occur.

Common symptoms are constipation or experiencing pain during bowel movement.

Possible solutions include taking more fibre and fluids, colon cleansing, or consulting a doctor to rule out bleeding from cancer.


Dark Red Poop

The various possible causes for dark red or maroon poop are: intestinal infection, diverticulitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gastrointestinal tumours, polyps or ulcers. Other more innocuous reasons include eating red coloured foods (beets), taking certain medications or ingesting too much alcohol.


Associated symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and feeling weak.

Solutions can be as simple as reducing alcohol intake and avoiding medications which cause gastric irritation. More serious problems like lower gastrointestinal bleeding, infections or parasite infestation need to be treated by a qualified doctor.