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Change in stool colour: Stool Color Changes and Chart: What Does It Mean?


My stool has changed color. What does it mean?

Your poop (stool) can come in a range of colors. All shades of brown and even green are considered normal.

The two main causes of poop color change are diet and conditions that change how fast food travels through our intestine. The speed that food travels through our intestine is important, because a substance that mixes with food, called bile, doesn’t have enough time to break down if food is moving too fast through the intestine.

Bile is a yellow-green fluid produced by our liver and stored and released by our gallbladder. Anytime we eat food that contains fat, even a small amount of fat, a signal is sent to our gallbladder to release bile, which flows into the upper part of our small intestine through two small tubes (the cystic duct and common bile duct). As bile travels down our intestine it is chemically altered by enzymes, and the color changes from yellowish-green to brown. However, this process takes time and several different conditions can quicken intestinal transit time, meaning that bile retains some of its yellowish-green color.

The table below summarizes the most common color changes and possible reasons. Only rarely does stool color indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition. Generally, a color change accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramps, weight loss, or fever should be investigated further. Bright red or black poop may indicate the presence of blood and you should talk to your doctor straight away.


Medical Causes

Dietary Causes

Black stool

  • Bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol)
  • Bleeding within the GI tract (eg, from stomach ulcers)
  • Bowel ischemia
  • Cancer
  • Iron supplements
  • Varices
  • Vascular malformations

  • Blueberries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Iron supplements
  • Licorice

Blue/purple stool

  • Prussian blue (Radiogardase) – a medication used to move radioactive compounds from a person’s body
  • Porphyria

  • Blue food coloring
  • Blueberries/imitation blueberries
  • Blue drink mixes
  • Currants/raisins
  • Plums

Green stool

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Infection (eg, E. coli, Giardia, Norovirus, salmonella)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Medications such as Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone birth control shot), indomethacin, iron supplements
  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Broccoli, green leafy vegetables, kale, spinach, wheatgrass
  • Iron supplements
  • Licorice
  • Green or black food coloring

Light-colored or clay-colored stool

  • Celiac disease
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Giardia
  • Lack of bile (eg, from a bile tract obstruction)
  • Large doses of anti-diarrhea drugs or bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol)
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreas disease

Red stool

  • Bleeding in the lower part of the digestive system
  • Cancer
  • Diverticulosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Ulcerative colitis/ Crohn’s disease
  • Worming medications

  • Beets
  • Cranberries
  • Red drink mixes
  • Red gelatin
  • Red food coloring
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Tomato juice/soup

Yellow stool

  • Absorption disorders
  • Celiac disease
  • Infection
  • Liver and gall bladder disease
  • Pancreatic disorders

  • Carrots
  • Gluten
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow food coloring

These Foods Can Change The Color Of Your Poop

“It’s not blood, it’s beets.

There’s a monumental scene from “Portlandia” that all too accurately depicts what it’s like to see red in the toilet bowl and — in a moment of panic — forget that you’ve recently eaten beets.

Beets and beyond, there are some foods that tend to change the color of your stool. Sometimes a strange color can be a sign of a health issue — and when it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a reason for concern. But it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes food is the culprit of a wacky poo.

“Stool is made up of everything we eat, so basically what goes in, comes out,” Lisa Ganjhu, a clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU’s School of Medicine, told HuffPost.

“The digestive process with the enzymes and bile will change the stools to a general tone of brown,” she said, noting that stool color tends to range from a light brown to a dark brown because the food gets mixed with bile pigment to help with digestion.

So the next time you see something a little irregular in the bowl, think about whether you’ve consumed any of the foods below before you start to worry.


Rodrigo Zuñiga/EyeEm via Getty Images

Notice red poop after eating beets? It’s common.

The aforementioned root veggie causes many people’s poop to turn a dark red color that can sometimes look like blood. Scary!

Red beets contain betacyanin, which is what gives them their deep hue. While the digestive process breaks down most chemicals in ways that make them lose their colors, betacyanin is processed differently for different people. You may or may not notice a red tint to your poop (and pee!) post-beet-fest.

If you were indeed eating beets in the last few days before your reddish poop, you’re most likely in the clear. If you notice red streaks in your poop and have not been consuming beets (or any other red food items on this list), it could be blood. In this case, it’s best to consult with your doctor right away about what to do next.

Green Veggies

If you like to load up on greens like spinach, broccoli and lettuce, your poop may reflect that. Foods that contain a lot of chlorophyll, a green pigment present in many naturally green foods, may end up coming out in a color similar to the one they first began.

Green poop is usually benign, but it may sometimes be an indication of a potential health problem, according to Live Science. Infections like salmonella may sometimes lead to green stool — but these are often accompanied by other issues, including diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. Chances are if you’re feeling healthy and not experiencing any other symptoms, your green doo is just a sign that you’ve been eating your veggies.


BrianAJackson via Getty Images

Blueberries can cause your poop to have a blue or black tinge.

The color is in the name, so don’t let yourself be too surprised if your poop is having a Smurf moment after you’ve been noshing on blueberries. These small-but-potent berries may color your feces with a blue or black tinge; some people have reported seeing green from eating blueberries as well.

You know your poop is just reacting to your diet if you see a color change after loading up on berries. There is, however, a rare condition called porphyria that can lead to bluish-purple waste. The disorder often shows up with other symptoms, including nausea, breathing problems and seizures, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Food Coloring

In 2017, Oreo and Peeps teamed up to make Peeps Oreos, a novelty snack with a bright pink filling. Almost as soon as the product launched, people reported (on Twitter, naturally) pink poop.

The cookie sandwich relied on erythrosine, also known as Red No. 3, to get its bubble gum pink color that drew people to it in the first place. The body does not break down artificial coloring, Anish Sheth, a doctor specializing in gastroenterology told Mic back when the pink cookie debacle first surfaced.

It’s the same reason that Burger King’s black Halloween burger turned consumers’ stools green back in 2015; a combination of blue, red, yellow and caramel-colored food dyes turned the burger bun black but resulted in green-colored stool because of how the dyes were digested and mixed with other fluids in the body. Science! It’s cool. The green poop certainly gave consumers a shock, but was ultimately nothing to be concerned about.


Oleh_Kucheriavyi via Getty Images

Some medications can affect the color of your stool.

OK, this isn’t a food necessarily, but it is something you ingest so it’s worth mentioning. Certain medications may have an effect on your stool color.

Bismuth subsalicylate, the generic name for Pepto-Bismol, can make both your saliva and your poop go a little goth — but the change is temporary and harmless. Radiogardase (also known as Prussian blue), a medication that helps remove radioactive compounds from the body, may cause a person’s poop to turn blue for as long as the medication is taken.

Bottom line: If you know you ate something suspect, you’re probably OK. But if you’re slightly worried, it’s best to call up your doctor just to rule out any concerns.

While the color of your stool often reflects what you’ve been eating lately, certain colors, including white, black or red, can signal a more serious concern, according to Ganjhu. White, pale or gray stool is an indicator of a biliary obstruction.

“That means the bile duct can be blocked by a stone, a mass or cancer,” she said. “The bile is not making its way to the GI tract and the bile pigment is not getting mixed in with the stool.”

And black stool can be an indicator of digested blood. “If someone had a bleeding stomach ulcer, the blood makes it way down the GI tract, gets digested with enzymes and turns black,” Ganjhu said.

When stool is bright red or bloody, it’s possible there is bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. If brown stool contains a streak of blood, Ganjhu said, an ulcer, hemorrhoid or fissure could be a possibility, as can colon cancer. In the case of any of these funky poop colors, Ganjhu said it’s a good idea to be medically evaluated as soon as possible.

“The rest of the rainbow of stool color are based on your diet or what you put in your system,” she said. “When in doubt, please see a doctor.”

Bowel movements can reflect what you eat

Maggie O’Neill
 |  HealthSource

Like religion, politics and taxes, bowel movements fall into that realm of not-to-be-talked-about topics. However, bowel movements can tell a variety of details about the eating habits of a person, including the type of food consumed, the diet that is generally followed and even whether supplements or medications are taken.

“Bowel movements are part of our overall health,” said Tiffany Barnett, M.D., a doctor in family medicine with Renown Health Premier Care. “Every person has a unique bowel habit and timing, and what is normal for one person may not be normal for their spouse or neighbor.”

While it may be typical for one person to have a bowel movement up to three times a day, another person could have a bowel movement every two to three days, she said. However, a ‘typical’ bowel movement should be shaped and also be brown in color. It also should have a consistency much like soft serve ice cream, according to Barnett.

Nearly everyone knows the results – and unpleasant effects – of stools that are not regularly consistent. When stools become too loose, diarrhea occurs, but when stools become too hard constipation is the result, Barnett said. Many causes for constipation exist – and not just inadequate fiber intake. Other factors include changes in the diet, dehydration, decreased mobility, pregnancy, travel and narcotics, she said.

Causes for concern

It is when stools change from their typical appearance or when they cause discomfort during a bowel movement that it may be time to see a doctor.

“Most people do not think much about [bowel movements] too much and that is how it should be,” said Erik DeJonghe, an M.D. at Digestive Health Reno. “A change is always important from previous habits and should be looked at.”

Changes in stool can occur for a variety of reasons. One cause is medication, particularly medication that has been prescribed for cholesterol, depression, chronic pain or hypertension, said DeJonghe, who also has a master’s degree in public health. Another cause for a change is a viral or bacterial infection. Additionally, a chronic illness like diabetes or even a thyroid malfunction, can lead to changes in stool. Alcohol, chewing gum, caffeine, nicotine and soda also can have effects on stools.


“Certain medications, supplements and food items can cause harmless changes in bowel movement color and consistency,” Barnett said.

The color of stools can change day to day, depending on what was consumed. Consider that iron supplements and Pepto-Bismol can turn stools gray or black in color, as can medications and supplements, DeJonghe said.

Stools that are yellow-ish in color can be a reflection of excessive fat in consumed foods. Red-colored stools can be the result of eating beets, cranberries, Jell-O or red juices. Green-colored stools, along with diarrhea, indicate that the bile in the body has not had enough time to do its job, which is to break down food, DeJonghe said. Clay-colored stools signal that the bile in the body is not flowing properly, he said.

Staying regular

One of the best ways to stay regular is to consume 20-35 grams of fiber-rich foods daily, Barnett said. Not sure which foods fall into this category? Beans, fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains are among the fiber-rich options. And, of course, there are lower-fiber foods that should be avoided, particularly when the aim is to become more regular. Items on this list include cheese, ice cream, meat and processed foods. High sugar foods also should be avoided, she said.

Water is an essential component to good digestion and good bowel movements, too.

“You should also drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, reduce stress, exercise daily, avoid reliance on laxatives and do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement,” Barnett said.

What Causes Pale Stool? | Livestrong.com

Talk to your doctor about any change in stool color that lasts two weeks or longer.

Image Credit: Ivan-balvan/iStock/GettyImages

Do you sneak a peek after finishing your — ahem — business? If you do and you notice that your poop is oddly light, you may need to check in with your doctor. Pale blonde, white or clay colored stool can be a sign of serious digestive issues.

Read more:​ What the Color of Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Gut Health

“Pale stools could occur in the setting of serious medical conditions involving the liver or the pancreas,” says Kelly Krikhely, RD, CDN, a New York City-based registered dietitian/nutritionist and an adjunct professor at New York University. It could signal problems like a blocked bile duct or an inflammatory bowel condition such as Crohn’s disease.

Sometimes, however, oddly light stool may just be caused by taking certain medications or vitamins. For example, one harmless cause of pale stool comes from taking bismuth subsalicylate, commonly known as Pepto-Bismol, according to UC San Diego Health.

Pale stool also may occur if you’ve had an imaging test that includes the use of barium. Barium, which may be given in liquid or tablet form, makes parts of the digestive tract easier for doctors to see. After the test, the barium is excreted through your stool, possibly making it white, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“Having a discolored bowel movement one time, especially after consuming a food that you know typically changes the color of your stool, may not be concerning,” Krikhely says, noting that there aren’t a lot of foods than can cause very light stools.

However, pale stool may be the first sign of a serious problem. If your bowel movements are light, yellow, clay-colored or very light brown, you may have inflammation or an infection in your gallbladder, liver or pancreas, according to Penn Medicine. Gallstones or another type of blockage in the bile ducts also can cause oddly colored stools. Liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol (alcoholic hepatitis) is also known to cause lighter-than-usual stool.

Other Color Changes to Stool

Pale stool isn’t the only color change that may indicate a digestive issue. Black stool, like pale stool, can be a harmless change, particularly if you’ve eaten dark foods, like blueberries or black licorice, according to UC San Diego Health. Iron supplements can also darken your stool. More troubling reasons for black stool include an area of bleeding in the digestive tract, colorectal cancer or liver cirrhosis.

Red stool can also have a number of causes, and not all are worrisome. Red food dyes can change the color of your stool to red, as can eating a lot of red-colored foods like beets or cranberries, states UC San Diego Health. Sometimes women who have their menstrual cycle might notice a tiny bit of blood in their stool, Penn Medicine notes.

There are other, more concerning reasons you might have red stool. One is bleeding in the rectum or anus, and another is cancer is an area of your digestive tract, according to Penn Medicine. If the blood supply in part of your intestines is cut off or if you have swelling in your stomach lining, you may experience red stool. Red stool may also occur if something gets stuck in your digestive tract.

“Because change in stool color could result from serious medical conditions, it is always good to err on the side of caution and visit your primary physician for further evaluation,” Krikhely advises. “This is especially true if the color of your stool is consistently changed.”

In fact, let your doctor know about any change in stool color that lasts two weeks or more, according to UC San Diego Health.

Read more:​ What Your Frequency of Pooping Says About Your Gut Health

What Your Poop Color Says About Your Health

Ever gone number two and had serious shock set in after you’ve stood up (why is my poop green?!)?

“Diet, medications, stress, and lifestyle can all impact the color and consistency of stool,” says Samita Garg, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “Sometimes these changes are normal, but sometimes they can signal something more serious.”

Alyssa Zolna

Notice your poo is a hue other than brown? Don’t freak out just yet. We asked Garg about four shades of stool—and whether or not seeing them in the toilet bowl is normal.

If Your Poop Is…Green

It could mean: You had a smoothie for lunch. Some vegetables like spinach and other leafy greens packed with chlorophyll can change the color of your stool, says Garg. This has to do with the way your body processes these foods—and what’s leftover from that absorption process, she says.

The consensus: No need to panic: “To see some changes in the color of your stool based on what you eat is normal,” says Garg.

If Your Poop Is…a Greenish-Yellow

It could mean: Your body has bile—a greenish fluid produced by your liver that helps you break down fat. “Sometimes stools are green or yellow because of the color of bile,” says Garg.

The consensus: No need to panic: It’s typically normal, says Garg. But if you notice dramatic changes in consistency (you went from firm logs to long, thin, watery poops), frequency (you’re going all the time all of a sudden or not going at all), or are experiencing diarrhea, call your doc, says Garg. These bowel changes could signal other GI issues.

If Your Poop Is…a Reddish Hue

It could mean: There are a few explanations for this one. For one, your salad could be to blame. “Beets and other red-colored vegetables may color the stool a darker red color,” says Garg. (Cranberries and red food coloring can also turn your poop red.) The exception: If you see bright red in the toilet bowl or on your stools, this could signal other (more serious) issues like hemorrhoids, colon inflammation, or cancer, says Garg.

The consensus: A red stool with an easily identifiable cause (the beets or the cranberries) is nothing to fret about. But blood in the bowl is. GI health rule number one is if you see blood, call your doc. While a little bit could be nothing more than a small tear, physicians worry about more life-threatening conditions like colon cancer, too, so play it safe.

If Your Poop Is…Black

It could mean: Depends. Medications (like Pepto-Bismol or iron tablets) can color your stool seriously dark, says Garg. And while that’s usually okay, black poop can sometimes signal blood, too (which is something to worry about). This has to do with the way blood is processed and broken down in your body over time, says Garg. “Blood that has been in your GI tract a long time can be darker—as dark as black.”

The consensus: Tell your doctor what you see. “We as physicians like to tell people to do the best they can to describe the color and consistency and allow a doctor to help you decide next steps,” says Garg. While your meds could be to blame for darker-than-normal poop, black coloring—if from blood—can also point to infection, inflammation, or cancer, especially if the coloring is paired with other symptoms like exhaustion, nausea, and weight loss, says Garg.

Cassie Shortsleeve
Freelance Writer
Cassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance writer and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on all things health, fitness, and travel.

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Is my poop normal?

The colour and consistency of your stool can tell you a lot about your health. Getting into the habit of checking might not seem like a particularly fun task, but picking up on sudden changes in colour can help you to understand how your digestive system is functioning.

Taking the time to check for things like the sudden appearance of blood may help you to catch some medical conditions before they can progress and become more serious.

Don’t be alarmed if you check your stool and notice that it’s suddenly become green or yellow – there’s often an explanation for a dramatic change in colour, and you don’t need to panic if you notice something out of the ordinary.

There are some colours that should worry you though. Black or red stools can be a sign that you are bleeding from the stomach, intestines or oesophagus, while yellow or green poop can be symptomatic of an obstruction of the bile duct, which is the small tube that carries bile from the liver to the small bowel.

Relatively small changes to the colour or consistency of your stool can be caused by medical conditions like Crohn’s disease, or more common illnesses like gastritis, so it’s always worth knowing what colour your poop should be, and why it can suddenly change.

You may also want to pay attention to the nature of your bowel movements, which enable stool to pass out of your body.

Healthy bowel movements should not cause you discomfort and should be regular and ‘normal’ for you.

What makes a ‘normal’ bowel movement?

People can have different bowel habits from one another and still be perfectly healthy. However, the nature of some movements may signify a problem.

A healthy bowel movement should:

  • occur regularly (between three times a day and three times a week)
  • be easy to pass (without excessive straining or the use of laxatives)
  • be painless
  • leave you feeling like you have completely emptied your bowels

To maintain healthy bowels, stay active and eat regular, well-balanced meals.
Aim to drink between six to eight cups of water everyday (unless you have been advised otherwise by your doctor) and try to get most of your fibre from fruits and vegetables. Eating too much of an insoluble source of fibre, like cereal, can cause bloating.

Don’t hold your stool in for prolonged periods and always give yourself enough time to carry out your bowel movement fully.

If you have problems passing regular stools despite adopting these habits, speak to your doctor for advice. They may suggest you try medications like laxatives, suppositories or mini-enemas.

You should also make an appointment with your doctor is you notice any unusual changes in your bowel habits. This includes symptoms of diarrhoea or constipation.

When to worry

In many cases, coloured stools are caused by:

  • food you’ve eaten
  • new medications
  • supplements
  • a mild condition like haemorrhoids

That said, it’s important to understand the difference between harmless changes in colour, and the signs of a serious medical condition.

Yellow or green poop on its own can just be caused by food moving through the digestive tract too quickly, but frequently passing pale yellow stool could be the result of a fat absorption problem, or a blockage in your bile ducts. Knowing when to seek medical attention can help to ensure that serious problems are treated properly.

If you find that your stool is an odd colour, and the colour doesn’t disappear after one or two days, you should book an appointment with your doctor.

You should also seek medical attention if your poop changes colour, and you start to experience other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, dark urine, swollen ankles, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Here, you can read more about the different colours of stool, and what they could mean. You’ll also find information that will help you to understand the consistency of your stool.

Black stool

Black or very dark brown stool can be a sign that you are bleeding from your stomach or oesophagus.

When you bleed from the upper parts of the gastrointestinal (or GI) tract, the blood is broken down as it moves through your digestive system and enzymes start to break down your red blood cells.

This process produces a distinctive type of black stool, called ‘melaena’. In most cases, melaena will be:

  • jet black
  • tar-like
  • sticky

It may also have a different smell, due to the breakdown of compounds in your blood.

According to medical publications like Clinical Methods, peptic ulcers are the most common medical cause of black stool. Other conditions that can make your stool black include:

Common causes of black or dark-brown stool also include iron supplements, antacids like Pepto-Bismol, or dark foods like blackberries or black liquorice which contain coloured pigments that can dye your poop.

If you have just started taking an iron supplement or using an antacid that contains bismuth, your stool may become grey or greenish-black. This might seem alarming, but try not to worry. The change in colour is most likely caused by unabsorbed minerals with a strong natural colour. If you are concerned, please see your doctor.

If your stool has turned black, and you’ve noticed a change in the texture or smell, you should go to hospital immediately. You should also go to hospital immediately if your stool has been black on more than one occasion.

Your doctor will be able to check for any serious medical conditions, and explain why your stool has turned black.

Yellow stool

Yellow stool can be relatively common, and there’s no need to worry if you pass the occasional yellow poop.

Food colourings, sweet potatoes, and carrots can all dye your stool a strange shade of yellow, and it’s important to note that your poop will be yellow if you haven’t had time to digest your food properly.

This means that conditions like diarrhoea could also turn your stool yellow for a day or two.

That said, yellow, grey or pale stool can be a sign that your body isn’t digesting fats properly, and you should seek medical attention if your stool is yellow on more than one or two occasions.

Healthy stool is brown because it contains a substance called bilirubin, which is added to your bile in the gallbladder, and then mixed into your stool to produce the colour that you’re familiar with.

Any condition that prevents bilirubin or bile from getting into your digestive system can cause your stool to turn pale. This includes conditions that block the bile ducts, such as:

It also includes any conditions which interfere with the production of bile, such as liver disease.

Conditions that prevent your body from absorbing fats can also cause yellow stool. This includes conditions like:

If your stool is yellow for more than one or two days, you should book an appointment with your doctor immediately. You should also book an appointment with your doctor if your stool is yellow, with a greasy texture or a foul smell.

Your doctor will be able to rule out serious medical causes, and help you diagnose the cause.

Green stool

Noticing a green stool can be alarming, but there are a number of perfectly harmless reasons for your poop to take on a greenish hue.

Iron supplements can sometimes make your stool look green, as can the chlorophyll in dark green vegetables like broccoli, kale, or arugula (rocket). Food colourings can also dye your stool green, so if you’ve eaten a lot of green food recently, or started taking an iron supplement, you probably don’t need to worry too much.

Changes to the bacteria living in your gut can also make your stool green. These changes are often caused by antibiotics, and tend to resolve themselves after you have finished the full course of your medication.

Consistent green stool can be a sign of a medical problem, however.

Bile, which helps your body to digest fat, is green when it first enters the digestive system. As waste matter moves through your intestines, chemical reactions break down your bile and give it the brown tint which turns your stool its familiar colour.

When the digestive process happens too quickly, your bile can’t be broken down, and it retains its green colour. This can be one of the causes of green stool.

As a result, green stool can be a sign of a problem that’s causing your body to push food through your digestive system before your body has had time to digest it properly. This includes conditions like:

You should book an appointment with your doctor if you notice green stool on more than one occasion, and you:

  • haven’t taken antibiotics recently
  • haven’t started a new iron supplement or multivitamin
  • don’t eat a lot of leafy, green vegetables

Your doctor will be able to diagnose the cause, and help to rule out any serious medical conditions. You should also book an appointment with your doctor if you have green stool, and begin to experience nausea, or an upset stomach.

Bright red stool

Red poop can be a sign that there’s blood in your stool.

Blood in your stool can also be a sign that you’re bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract. This can be a sign of more serious medical conditions, including:

The presence of blood in your stool can also be a symptom of a relatively common, but mild condition, such as haemorrhoids, which occur when blood vessels in the anus become enlarged or irritated, and burst during a bowel movement.

If your stool is bright red, purple or maroon, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to rule out serious medical conditions.

Although you should always see a doctor urgently if you develop blood in your stool, there are some harmless causes of bright red stool. Cranberries, beets, tomatoes and red peppers all contain coloured pigments that get passed through your digestive system, and end up in your stool. If you eat a lot of these foods, you may find that your stool becomes red or purple.

Certain medications – including the antibiotic amoxicillin – can also dye your poop red in the digestive tract. This is a natural side effect of taking these medications, and won’t cause you any harm.

White or pale stool

White or pale stool can also be a sign that your body isn’t producing enough bile. As mentioned in the section on yellow stool, your poop is brown because bile gets mixed into your food as it moves through the digestive system.

Bile helps the body to break down fats, but it’s also broken down as it moves towards the large intestine, which alters its colour, and gives your stool its characteristic brown colour.

If your body isn’t producing enough bile due to a problem with the pancreas, the gallbladder, or the tubes that deliver bile to the small intestine, your stool will be colourless, pale, or a light shade of yellow.

This could mean that you are suffering from:

In most cases, stool that is white or pale because it lacks bile will also have a clay-like texture. It may be accompanied by symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, or nausea.

If you notice that you are passing white or pale stools, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. They will be able to rule out any serious medical conditions, and help you to diagnose the change in colour.

What about consistency?

A change in the consistency or texture of your stool can also be alarming, particularly if you’re used to regular bowel movements. If you’re wondering why your poop is suddenly mushy or liquid, you’ll find more information in this section.

The Bristol stool chart

The Bristol stool chart is a reference guide that’s used to help people understand the consistency of their stool. It categorises seven different types of stool, as follows:

Cabot Health, Bristol Stool Chart CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hard stool

Hard stool is often a sign of constipation. Constipation occurs when the stool sits in your colon for too long and your colon absorbs so much water from the stool that it becomes hard and dry. Common causes of constipation include:

  • not eating enough fibre, such as fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • a change in your routine or lifestyle, such as a change in your eating habits
  • ignoring the urge to pass stools
  • side effects of certain medications
  • not drinking enough fluids

Constipation can usually be treated by making small changes to your diet or lifestyle, but if constipation is bringing you discomfort or you have been passing hard stools for more than two weeks, you should book an appointment with your doctor.

Cracked stool

Cracked stool can be a sign of dehydration, or a sign that stool is passing through your digestive system too slowly. When this happens, your colon will start to reabsorb water from your stool, making it appear cracked and hard.

If you are passing cracked stools, and are also:

  • feeling thirsty and lightheaded;
  • having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine; and
  • passing urine less often than usual

You are most likely dehydrated. Treating dehydration is relatively straightforward. In most cases, drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, semi-skimmed milk, diluted squash or fruit juice will be enough to remedy the problem.

If you are having trouble drinking enough, you should seek medical attention.

Mushy stool

Mushy stool is often indicative of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can be caused by stress, anxiety, medications, or a food allergy, but the condition is more commonly caused by gastroenteritis. Other causes include long-term health conditions like:

If you suffer from frequent diarrhoea, you should book an appointment with your doctor, and talk to them about your concerns. They will be able to test for the conditions listed above, and help you work out why your stools are looser than they should be.

Liquid stool

Liquid stool is caused by irritation in the small intestine, which forces the body to flush out the contents of your digestive tract before it’s had time to digest it properly, or absorb the liquid contents.

If you are passing liquid stools, you may be suffering from viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning, or a chronic condition like:

You should book an appointment with your doctor, so that you can determine the cause. You should also take steps to ensure that you stay properly hydrated, as passing liquid stool can cause you to become dehydrated.

Floating stools

If your stools float, it is because they contain too much gas or fat. This could be the result of flatulence, which develops when you eat foods that contain a lot of complex sugars. These sugars have to be broken down by bacteria in the small intestine, and produce a lot of waste gasses when they are processed.

Foods that are known to cause flatulence include:

  • whole grains
  • beans
  • vegetables like brussels sprouts, broccoli or cabbage
  • onions
  • fizzy drinks
  • hard sweets

Excess gas or fat can also be a sign of some malabsorption problems. Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, liver disease, and some forms of cancer can all prevent your body from breaking down certain nutrients, triggering the build-up of waste gasses, and causing your stools to float.

If you find that your stools are floating for more than one or two days, you should book an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to help you diagnose the cause, and treat the problem properly.


Oddly-coloured stool isn’t always a cause for concern, but you should check for ongoing changes in the colour, consistency, or texture of your poop. This will help to make sure that you’re aware of any changes, and enable you to seek medical attention whenever appropriate.

It’s easy to dismiss subtle changes in the colour or consistency of your stool, but any change which lasts for more than one or two days is significant, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if your stool is bright red, black or white, as these colours could indicate a serious medical condition.

Tronetti: Is your stool the right color?

 |  Brevard-Unknown


My receptionist Mandy came scurrying into the office: “Doctor, Mrs. Ferris is on the phone and she says she needs to bring her mother in right now because of a blue stool.”

Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. “You mean she fell off of a blue stool and hurt herself?”

“No, when she went to the bathroom… her bowel movement… it was blue!”

She stopped to take a breath. “And she’s bringing the sample in for you to send to the lab and do some tests.”

We all know that normal stools are brown… but why is that? We begin digesting our food as we chew — saliva actually contains digestive enzymes. The food then travels into the stomach where it is held and further broken down by stomach acids. It’s next stop is the small intestine where it is exposed to the digestive enzymes that are produced and secreted by the pancreas and the liver.

The liver produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder until it is needed. After a meal, the gallbladder squeezes like a bulb syringe to spray the food as it passes by. The yellowish-green bile changes color as it interacts with the food and the gut bacteria, giving the resulting stool its typical brown color.

Green stool can occur if the stool passes through the gastrointestinal tract too rapidly for the bile to change color. Green leafy vegetables, licorice and other candies can decrease stool transit time, causing a green diarrhea stool. Medications like indomethacin (an anti- inflammatory agent), iron supplements, progesterone, and artificial purple and green food dyes can result in a greenish color.

Pale, clay-colored stools can indicate a lack of bile within the stool. This is usually due to an obstruction of the bile ducts (gallstones, tumor) or liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis).

Yellow stools are often seen in diseases of the pancreas (pancreatitis, cancer) or malabsorption syndromes (cystic fibrosis, celiac disease). The yellow color comes from undigested fat. The stool is often greasy with the distinctive smell. Rhubarb and the natural laxative senna can also induce a yellow tinge to the stool.

The most common cause of concern is black or very dark stool. Certain medications such as iron supplements and bismuth subsalicylate, the active ingredient of Pepto-Bismol, can cause the stool to appear black.

Black, tarry, sticky stools can indicate bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract. This sort of stool warrants immediate medical attention. A maroon color can also indicate bleeding, usually from the lower colon. More benign causes of maroon or red stools include beets, cranberries, and red or orange food dyes (such as in gelatin, powered drinks or cheese-flavored snacks)

A small amount of bright red blood is often seen with hemorrhoids or fissure. A more profuse amount means that something in the lower colon or rectum is actively bleeding.

White stools are common after a medical test involving barium — like an upper GI study or abdominal CAT scan. Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide (Amphogel, Alternagel) and certain antibiotics can also turn the stool white.

Grey stool can come from cocoa, chocolate and the gout medication colchicine.

Purple stools can be caused by foods high in oxalic acids such as spinach, rhubarb, or chocolate. Beets are also notorious for causing purple stool. Of course, food dyes are also culprits.

But what about my patient? She brought in a small sample and they weren’t kidding — it was blue. I asked if she had been exposed to any deep blue chemicals such as Prussian blue (used as an antidote for heavy-metal poisoning) methylene blue (used in critical-care medicine), gentian violet (used for oral thrush) or chloramphenicol (a rarely used antibiotic). She wasn’t.

And then I asked the telling question. “Have there been any small children in the house recently?” No, but their weekend activities had included a neighborhood child’s birthday party with an ocean theme. There were bowls of candy set out on each table, including blue jellybeans, blue raspberry gummy bears, blue gumballs and blue taffy.

The medical mystery was solved.

Dr. Pamela Tronetti is an osteopathic physician who specializes in geriatric medicine at Parrish Medical Center. Although she writes on a variety of topics, her practice is limited to senior citizens, particularly those with dementia.

The identities and distinguishing features of any persons named or described in this column have been changed to protect their privacy.

90,000 Melena – causes, diagnosis and treatment

Melena are black tarry stools, which are formed with profuse (more than 60 ml) acute or chronic bleeding from different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The cause of the pathological condition may be primary lesions of the digestive system, disorders of the hemostasis system, and some infectious diseases. In order to identify the source and cause of hemorrhage, endoscopic, radiological and laboratory research methods are used.With a characteristic change in the appearance of feces, you should immediately consult a doctor.

General characteristics

In case of development of melena, the patient notices a sharp change in the consistency and color of feces – they become more liquid, “sticky”, acquire a black color (tarry feces). It is necessary to distinguish between melena and physiological changes in the color of feces due to the intake of drugs – the feces after the use of iron and bismuth preparations are formed, solid. Bleeding is accompanied by abdominal pain of varying intensity and other dyspeptic disorders, the severity of which depends on the level and degree of damage to the digestive system.

In some cases, with the appearance of blood in the feces, the pain syndrome subsides. Simultaneously with the onset of melena, vomiting of “coffee grounds” develops, the general state of health is disturbed: the skin and mucous membranes become pale, dizziness, weakness, and fainting are noted. With massive blood loss, collapse is possible, which is characterized by a frequent weak pulse, a sharp drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract is a symptom of serious pathological conditions and requires emergency qualified medical care.

Causes of melena

Most often, profuse bleeding, leading to the release of black tarry feces from the rectum, complicates the course of gastroduodenal pathology. A more rare factor causing the development of melena is profuse nasal and pulmonary hemorrhages, accompanied by swallowing of blood. Violation of the color and consistency of feces is observed in acute erosive esophagitis, nodular periarteritis, which occurs with the involvement of small vessels in the gastrointestinal tract.The altered blood that appears in the stool in the general serious condition of the patient may indicate a rupture of the aortic aneurysm into the lumen of the small intestine.

Gastrointestinal bleeding

The main cause of melena is the development of acute or profuse chronic hemorrhages from the upper segments of the gastrointestinal tract, associated mainly with ulcerative destructive processes in the mucous membrane. The dark color of feces appears when whole blood interacts with gastric hydrochloric acid and the conversion of hemoglobin to hematin hydrochloric acid.The appearance of melena is also caused by bleeding from the small or initial sections of the large intestine, provided that peristalsis is slowed down and the passage of feces is disturbed. Tarry stools are a symptom of gastrointestinal diseases such as:

  • Gastritis . Melena is often found in the erosive variant of acute gastritis, which is manifested by extensive superficial lesions of the mucous membrane of the organ. Bleeding occurs against a background of severe pain in the epigastric region, nausea and vomiting, changes in the nature and frequency of stools.The condition develops after poisoning with chemicals, taking drugs that irritate the mucous membrane.
  • Peptic ulcer . With a deep lesion of the ulcerative process of the wall of the stomach or duodenum, the vessels are destroyed, hemorrhage occurs. Bleeding may be minor or massive with signs of melena. A pathognomonic sign indicating the presence of an ulcer is a decrease or complete disappearance of pain after the onset of hemorrhage.
  • Mallory-Weiss Syndrome . A detailed clinical picture of the disorder often develops against the background of repeated vomiting, intense coughing, indomitable hiccups. The disease is more characterized by repeated vomiting with impurities of scarlet blood, but sometimes blood accumulates in the stomach and is destroyed by hydrochloric acid, which causes the appearance of tarry stools 6-8 hours after the first symptoms.
  • Stomach cancer .For tumors of the stomach, the combination of vomiting of “coffee grounds” and melena is pathognomonic. The condition appears in the late stages of neoplasm development, when the tumor tissue grows deep into the organ wall and destroys the blood vessels. Typical is persistent pain syndrome, frequent nausea, vomiting after eating, symptoms of cancer intoxication (weight loss, general weakness, lack of appetite).
  • Erosive Bulbit . Hemorrhage and melena are more often observed in acute variant of the defeat of the duodenal bulb.Other symptoms – dull epigastric pain, recurrent nausea and vomiting, instability of the stool with a tendency to constipation – are not very specific and occur with any lesions of the upper digestive system. Bleeding can be provoked by chemical damage, taking NSAIDs.
  • Occlusion of mesenteric arteries . Due to thrombosis and vascular embolism, there is a sharp cessation of blood supply to the intestine with ischemic and destructive changes in its wall.The first sign of occlusion is severe abdominal pain, accompanied by reflexive repeated vomiting with impurities of bile. The color and consistency of stool changes several hours after the onset of symptoms.
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis of newborns . The disease manifests itself mainly in premature babies 1-2 weeks after childbirth. Melena develops as a result of extensive ischemic and necrotic changes in the intestinal wall, caused by intrauterine hypoxia or asphyxia during childbirth.The disease is very difficult, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract is complicated by disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) syndrome, multiple organ failure.

Infectious pathologies

Melena in viral or bacterial lesions is potentiated both by the direct action of microorganisms on the walls of the digestive tract, and by an indirect effect through violations of the mechanisms of vascular permeability and hemostasis. The appearance of black fetid feces is accompanied by a general infectious syndrome: febrile fever, headaches, myalgias and arthralgias.Symptoms, pathognomonic for each pathogen, gradually develop. Of infectious diseases, melena is most often complicated:

  • Hemorrhagic fever . Viral damage to the organs of the reticuloendothelial system causes a pronounced lack of platelets, which, combined with pathological changes in the vascular wall, provokes melena, hematuria, and nosebleeds. In addition to the discharge of black feces, a hemorrhagic rash on the skin and mucous membranes is determined.In difficult situations, hypovolemic shock may develop.
  • Typhoid fever . At the stage of necrotic changes and cleansing of typhoid ulcers of the intestine, bleeding from damaged intestinal arteries may occur. Such a complication usually occurs at 3-4 weeks of typhoid fever with a typical staging process. It is also characterized by a discrepancy between the changes in the pulse and the degree of increase in body temperature – the heart rate of a normal frequency with high febrile fever.
  • Dengue Fever .Melena is detected in the hemorrhagic form of the infectious process. At the initial stages, patients complain of an increase in body temperature, malaise. Spontaneous bleeding from the digestive tract is observed after 2-3 days from the onset of symptoms, due to the predominant lesion of the capillaries in combination with changes in the rheological properties of the blood, a decrease in the number of coagulation factors.

Blood clotting disorders

Hemorrhage in the upper parts of the digestive tract can be associated with systemic hematological diseases, in which a tendency to hypocoagulation develops, the lack of coagulation factors, a pathological increase in the permeability of the vascular wall.In such diseases, melena is accompanied by nose, uterine and pulmonary bleeding. Hemorrhages in the cavity of the joints and pericardium are possible, which leads to the appearance of the corresponding symptoms. The main causes of tarry stools are the following hemorrhagic diseases:

  • Hemophilia . Massive bleeding, manifested by melena, is observed in moderate and severe forms of pathology, in which the level of coagulation factors is no more than 5% of the norm.In most cases, the onset of hemophilia occurs in early childhood. The main symptom that occurs in 80% of patients is hemorrhage in the joint cavity, also characterized by extensive hematomas after a stroke, hematuria.
  • Randu-Osler-Weber disease . Blood staining of feces indicates a severe course of the process with diffuse damage to small vessels of the digestive tract. With this disease, in addition to melena, nosebleeds often begin for no reason, which are extremely difficult to stop.A characteristic feature is hemorrhagic telangiectasias on the skin of the face, the mucous membrane of the lips and cheeks.
  • Thrombocytopenia . Hemorrhagic syndrome is provoked by a sharp decrease in the number of platelets, which may be of an autoimmune nature or develops secondary to other hematological disorders. Patients complain of the unreasonable appearance of bruises and bruises, the discharge of blood from the nasal passages. For thrombocytopenia, a combination of melena and pain in the left hypochondrium is typical, which is due to an increase in the spleen.

Liver pathology

Chronic liver diseases (fibrosis, cirrhosis), leading to portal hypertension, become the cause of gastric bleeding with the release of black “sticky” stools. Due to a violation of the outflow of blood, the collateral vessels of the lower third of the esophagus and stomach expand, and then rupture with an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity, which is accompanied by massive blood loss. In primary lesions of the liver, melena, as a rule, is combined with bloody vomiting, specific “hepatic signs”: palmar erythema, spider veins on the skin of the abdomen.


The patient is examined by a gastroenterologist; in case of massive hemorrhage, a surgeon’s consultation is required. Diagnostic search in the presence of melena is aimed at quickly detecting the source of bleeding, and, if possible, eliminating it. A complex of instrumental and laboratory methods is used, which are necessary to study the state of the digestive tract, assess the severity of the patient’s condition and the degree of hemodynamic disorders.The most valuable for diagnostics are:

  • X-ray examination . A series of radiographs with oral contrast of the gastrointestinal tract with barium sulfate is an alternative to the endoscopic examination method. With the help of radiography in 80-85% of cases, it is possible to determine the localization of damage, but the technique is not always informative for establishing the etiology.
  • Endoscopy . EGDS using a flexible probe is used not only to detect the site of hemorrhage, but also as a therapeutic method – special tools allow you to “cauterize” a bleeding vessel.In doubtful cases, to verify the causes of melena, a biopsy of the altered areas of the mucous membrane is performed.
  • Stool analysis . In order to confirm the presence of blood in the feces, a three-fold Gregersen reaction is performed, which reveals even a small amount of blood pigments. Be sure to perform a standard coprogram, according to indications, a bacteriological examination of feces is prescribed.
  • Coagulogram. The results of the analysis of the coagulation ability, the activity of the internal and external links of hemostasis are indicative for suspected hereditary hemorrhagic pathologies with clotting disorders.To control the dynamics of the patient’s condition, the study is done several times.
  • Blood tests . A general blood test is recommended for all patients with melena, which provides an approximate estimate of the degree of blood loss for the development of further treatment tactics. To exclude concomitant diseases, a biochemical blood test, liver function tests are necessary.

In case of massive bleeding and the impossibility of conducting a high-quality endoscopic examination, selective mesenteric arteriography is prescribed to visualize the exact site of vessel damage.As a screening test for unclear etiology of melena, the method of radionuclide scanning with labeled erythrocytes is used.

To detect traces of blood in the feces, an analysis of feces for occult blood is prescribed

Symptomatic therapy

Melena is a specific sign of profuse bleeding from the vessels of the digestive organs. Such a pathological condition cannot be eliminated independently at home. When tarry dark feces appear, it is necessary to immediately seek qualified medical help, since untimely diagnosis and treatment are fraught with massive blood loss, severe disturbances in the activity of all body systems.

Which doctor should I contact when a change in stool color appears

Moscow gastroenterologists – latest reviews

It can be seen that the doctor is a professional. Conducted an inspection. I wrote out the necessary treatment that is helping me.He ordered tests. But I really didn’t like the doctor’s not tactful behavior: rudeness and inappropriate jokes, stories about other patients. He communicates just awful!


August 22, 2021

Very Nice and helpful specialist!


August 21, 2021

The doctor helped in solving my problem for the first time and now too.The reception time was enough to get help and answers to all my questions. Dina Vladimirovna has already recommended to her friends.


20 Aug 2021

The doctor didn’t help.I came with a specific question. I had the test results, and as a result I had to prescribe treatment. To which the therapist said that he would not prescribe anything, since from his point of view, everything is normal for me. Violetta Valerievna is rather rude, not a competent specialist. For an amateur. My opinion did not coincide with her. I will not go again.


August 19, 2021

At the appointment, the doctor examined all my materials that I provided, listened to my complaints and, based on everything, sent them for further examinations in order to prescribe adequate treatment.Also, the specialist gave her advice and recommendations. The doctor is attentive, friendly, explains everything clearly and easily. I can recommend this specialist to my friends, if necessary, and I can also contact her myself. I was pleased with the quality of the reception.


20 Aug 2021

The doctor advised a lot, told me, prescribed treatment, everything is clear and clearly explained.This is not the first time I have seen her. I really like her as a doctor and as a person. She has a desire to help. In general, I am happy with everything. Everything suited me. I would definitely recommend this specialist to my acquaintances.


20 Aug 2021

The doctor is very good.I asked in detail about all the complaints. Examined, prescribed the necessary tests. He prescribed the necessary medications. In general, everything is very porno. Albina Kasimovna is a competent, responsive, understanding doctor. I would reapply, because of the ability to explain.


August 17, 2021

Lyubov Anatolyevna consulted me, prescribed treatment and prescribed treatment.As a doctor, she is competent and attentive. I think I will turn to this specialist again.


20 Aug 2021

– helped to solve the problem – she said that I was healthy.The problem was her over-commenting on my mental health and treatment. I consider the views that “all the troubles and sores from antidepressants” are rather outdated ideas.
Once again, I probably would not have applied.


August 17, 2021

Good gastroenterologist.A professional in his field! Maria Alexandrovna performed an examination. I asked about my complaints than I had been treated before. The only doctor who herself identified my problems, which I have not yet had time to say. I sent for the necessary tests and prescribed treatment. I was pleased with the reception. I will sign up to her again.


August 22, 2021

Show 10 reviews of 12 404 90 000 “Why is the stool black?” – Yandex.Kew


To date, science knows about 280 types of worms that can develop and live in the human body, parasitizing in various organs and tissues. The frequency of human worm infection depends on the climatic and socio-economic conditions of specific territories (in underdeveloped countries, especially in those located in the tropical and subtropical zones, the level of parasitic infections is much higher than in economically developed countries).According to statistics, in Russia alone, which is the habitat of 20 species of worms capable of parasitizing in the human body, about 15 million people are infected annually, of which 80% are children.

Ways of human infection with helminths

  1. Biohelminthiasis (infection from animals).
  2. Contagious helminthiases (transmitted from person to person).
  3. Geohelminthiasis (diseases caused by parasites that carry out one of their life cycles in the earth).

Factors affecting the manifestations of helminthiasis

  • The way the parasite enters the body;

  • The degree of adaptation of the helminth to the human body;
  • Population density (number) of parasitic individuals;
  • Habitat of the worm (tissue parasites live in the thickness of soft tissues, and luminal ones live in the gaps of hollow organs). Some helminths in different phases have both luminal and tissue forms.Larval and developing stages of worms, as a rule, cause more pronounced pathological changes.

In the absence of re-infection, the number of adult parasites in the human body does not increase. This feature significantly distinguishes helminthic invasions from diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa.

Worms in humans: symptoms

Helminthiasis is a disease characterized by 2 stages of the course (acute, from two weeks to two months) and chronic (from several months to several years).

Symptoms of the acute phase of helminthiasis

The first signs of the disease can appear at different times (most often after 2-3 weeks, with ascariasis – after 2-3 days, and with filariasis, the incubation period can last 6-18 months).

In the acute stage of parasitic invasion, the most characteristic symptom is an allergic reaction (antibodies are produced to antigens of migrating parasite larvae). Often in people infected with worms, itchy rashes appear on the skin, prone to a recurrent course, regional lymph nodes increase, generalized or local edema, muscle and joint pain may occur.Also, migrating parasite larvae can cause chest pains, coughing, choking attacks, upset stools, nausea and vomiting.

At the same time, the acute phase of helminthiasis may be accompanied by more serious disorders (severe forms of pneumonia, hepatitis, allergic myocarditis, hepatosplenomegaly (enlarged liver and spleen), meningoencephalitis).

In the blood, the number of eosinophils increases (eosinophilia) and the normal quantitative ratio between protein fractions is disturbed (dysproteinemia).

Signs of chronic helminthiasis

The symptomatology of the chronic phase directly depends on which organ is “inhabited” by parasites, and also their size and number play an important role.

Thus, when parasitizing in the intestines of single individuals, the disease may be asymptomatic (except for cases of infection with very large parasites). The characteristic signs of the chronic phase of intestinal helminthiasis are dyspeptic disorders.In children, asthenoneurotic and pain syndrome is more pronounced. With massive invasion of roundworms, the development of intestinal obstruction, obstructive jaundice and pancreatitis is possible.

Consuming all the substances necessary for their vital activity from the host’s body, helminths cause digestive disorders, impaired absorption of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. At the same time, the waste products of worms inhibit the normal intestinal microflora and reduce the body’s immune forces.

In people suffering from helminthiases, due to a weakened immune system and an increased process of cell division (a consequence of the constant restoration of tissues damaged by parasites), the risk of malignant tumors is significantly increased.

Types of helminths parasitizing in the human body

The causative agents of human helminthiasis are 2 types of worms: round (nematodes) and flat (tape and flukes).

Round worms


Parasites causing enterobiasis are small (up to 10 mm) thin cavity worms with a grayish-white coloration.Infection occurs alimentary (through the mouth). The reason for this is dirty hands. The eggs of the parasite can be in the ground, on the wool of infected animals, unwashed vegetables and fruits, etc. At the same time, with enterobiasis, cases of self-infection are frequent (especially in children), resulting from scratching of the itchy areas and subsequent ingestion of eggs. The pinworm larva develops within two weeks in the digestive tract. Having turned into an adult, the worm parasitizes in the lower sections of the small and upper sections of the colon.

Even in the larval stage, the pinworm begins to harm the body of its host, producing enzymes that irritate the intestinal walls and lead to the development of an inflammatory process. Adult parasites stick or penetrate into the deeper layers of the intestinal mucosa, disrupting its integrity and contributing to the attachment of a secondary bacterial infection. In the case of pinworms perforation of the wall of the small intestine, peritonitis may develop. Also, due to irritation of intestinal receptors, the motor and secretory functions of the gastrointestinal tract are disrupted, leading to the formation of gastroduodenitis, enteritis, etc.In childhood, long-term enterobiasis can cause nervous disorders and retardation in physical development.


Ascaris is a large spindle-shaped parasite of red-yellow color, reaching 40 cm (females) and 15-25 cm (males) in adulthood. Without suction cups or other fastening devices, the roundworm is able to independently move towards the food masses. The eggs laid by the female of the parasite are excreted along with the feces.

Infection with ascariasis occurs when mature eggs are swallowed with water or unwashed vegetables and fruits that contain soil particles. After the eggs enter the intestines, mature larvae emerge from them. Then, penetrating into the intestinal wall, they reach the heart through the bloodstream, and from there they enter the lungs. Through the pulmonary alveoli, the roundworm larva through the respiratory tract again enters the oral cavity. After repeated swallowing, the parasite reaches the small intestine, where it develops into an adult.The worm lives for 12 months, then dies and is excreted along with the feces. In the intestines of one host, both one and several hundred individuals can live.

In the intestinal phase of their existence, roundworms, endowed with the ability to spiral movements, can penetrate even the narrowest openings. This feature of the parasite often leads to the development of rather serious complications (obstructive jaundice or pancreatitis). Allergens secreted by roundworms can provoke severe allergic reactions.Large numbers of adults can cause intestinal obstruction, and worms that enter the respiratory tract sometimes cause suffocation.


Vlasoglav, the causative agent of trichocephalosis, is a white helminth parasitizing in the initial section of the large intestine and reaching a size of 4-5 cm. The parasite feeds on blood and tissues of the rectal mucosa.

The whipworm eggs laid by the female on the intestinal walls come out together with the feces.Their development takes place in the environment (optimally in the soil). Eggs with the larvae of the parasite ripened in them enter the body through alimentary means, through dirty hands, with water or unwashed vegetables and fruits.

With small numbers of worms, trichocephalosis is asymptomatic. In a severe stage (with massive invasion), the patient develops abdominal pain, severe diarrhea develops, sometimes accompanied by rectal prolapse. This condition is most often observed in debilitated children.With a moderate phase of trichocephalosis, a child’s growth retardation is possible.


The causative agent of trichinosis is a small round helminth reaching 2-5 mm in length. Infection occurs when eating poorly roasted meat (pork, bear meat, wild boar). Penetrating into the intestines, the larva of the parasite matures in 3-4 days to the state of a sexually mature individual. The life span of the worm is 40 days, after which the parasite dies.By piercing the intestinal wall, the larvae enter the bloodstream and are carried to all organs of the human body, settling in the muscles. In this case, the respiratory and facial muscles, as well as the flexor muscles of the limbs, are most often affected.

In the first days after the invasion, patients complain of abdominal pain. Then, after about 2 weeks, the body temperature rises to 39-40 C, itchy rashes appear on the skin, muscle pains develop, and the face swells. During this period, in the case of massive infection, there is a significant risk of death.After about a month, there is a recovery. The parasite is encapsulated in a spiral form, after which it dies within two years.

Hookworm and nekator

These two parasites are similar in biological characteristics, as well as in caused diseases. In this regard, it is customary to combine them under a common name (hookworms). Worms, reaching lengths of 10-15 mm, parasitize in 12-p. intestine. It should be noted that this is one of the most common, but, at the same time, quite rarely detected parasites.Worm larvae enter the human body through the skin upon contact with contaminated soil. Further, entering the bloodstream, they, like roundworms, migrate to the lungs, and then, through the bronchi, together with expectorant sputum, to the digestive tract. Ankylostoma parasitizes in the intestine, attaching itself to the intestinal wall. The parasite, which feeds exclusively on blood, bites through the blood vessels that penetrate the mucous membrane, injecting an anticoagulant component there. On average, an adult can absorb 0.05-0.35 ml of blood per day.Therefore, the most characteristic symptom of this helminthiasis is iron deficiency anemia, as well as a change in the ratio of protein fractions (dysproteinemia).

Flat worms

Wide ribbon

This is one of the largest helminths, reaching a length of 10-20 meters. The disease caused by this parasite is called diphyllobothriasis. The worm’s developmental cycle begins with freshwater fish or crustaceans.The larva enters the human body, which is the final owner of the broad tapeworm, along with eggs or infected fish fillets. Reaching the small intestine, the parasite attaches to its wall and grows to a mature individual within 20-25 days.

Diphyllobothriasis occurs against the background of disorders of the digestive tract and B12-deficiency anemia.

Hepatic fluke

The parasite that causes opisthorchiasis is a flat worm reaching a length of 7-20 mm.It should be noted that more than 50% of cases of infection with the hepatic fluke (also called the cat’s fluke) occur in the inhabitants of Russia. The larvae of the parasite begin to develop after the eggs enter the fresh water (from the snails that have swallowed them). Then they penetrate into the body of fish (carp, crucian carp, bream, roach). Human infection occurs when eating contaminated fish meat that has not undergone sufficient heat treatment. The larva of the hepatic fluke from the small intestine penetrates into the bile ducts and into the gallbladder, fixing there with the help of two suction cups.

In the acute phase of helminthiasis, the patient has soreness in the upper abdomen, body temperature rises, nausea, muscle pain develops, diarrhea, and skin rashes are possible. The chronic course of opisthorchiasis is manifested by symptoms of hepatitis, inflammation of the bile ducts, cholecystitis, disturbances in the digestive tract, nervous disorders, weakness and increased fatigue. The parasite leads to the development of irreversible changes, and even after its expulsion, the patient does not undergo chronic inflammatory processes and functional disorders.

Bovine and pork tapeworm

These parasites, almost identical in structure, reach a length of 5-6 meters. Infection with teniarinhoses and teniasis occurs due to the consumption of meat from cattle or pork infected by the Finns (one of the intermediate forms of helminthiasis). Viable Finns, presented in the form of whitish bubbles reaching 0.5 cm in size, attach to the wall of the human small intestine and turn into an adult in 3 months.The tape parasite, consisting of more than 2000 segments, is constantly growing. In this case, the end segments, containing eggs, break off and independently move along the large intestine to the anus, and then crawl out of the anus, or are released into the external environment along with feces. The most characteristic symptoms of helminthiasis is disruption of the digestive tract.


For this parasite, humans are an intermediate host.The worm parasitizes the human body in the form of the Finns. The final owner of echinococcus is a wolf, dog or cat. Infection occurs alimentary through contact with animals and with environmental objects seeded with Echinococcus eggs. After entering the intestine, oncospheres (six-hooked larvae) develop from them. From the intestines, they enter the bloodstream and are carried throughout the body.

The “favorite” parasitic sites of the worm are the liver and lungs. By settling in these organs, the larva turns into a Finn (echinococcal cyst), which, gradually increasing in size, begins to destroy nearby tissues.Often, echinococcosis in the diagnostic process is mistaken for a tumor of benign or malignant origin. In addition to mechanical impact (squeezing of organs and blood vessels), echinococcal cyst rupture sometimes occurs. This condition can cause toxic shock or the formation of multiple new cysts.


This parasite, considered a type of echinococcus, is the cause of one of the most dangerous helminthiases (alveococcosis), which is similar in severity to cirrhosis and liver cancer.Infection occurs when oncospheres (eggs with mature larvae) penetrate into the intestines. There, the embryo leaves the egg and, penetrating into the intestinal walls, enters the bloodstream. Further, with the blood flow, the parasite spreads to all tissues and organs of the body (most often it is localized in the liver). It is there that the main stage of development begins in the larvae (a multi-chambered bubble, laurocyst is formed). Each chamber contains the embryonic head of the parasite, which continues to develop gradually. Laurocysts are very aggressive formations that constantly grow due to enlarging bubbles, and also have the ability to grow into the liver, like cancer metastases.The nearby tissues, due to the disruption of the blood vessels, undergo necrotic changes. Spreading to nearby structures, the alveococcus forms fibrous nodes with inclusions of multicameral bubbles. This condition can last for several years, and therefore it requires mandatory surgical intervention.

Diagnostics of helminthiasis

Diagnostics of helminthic invasions includes the following activities:

  • a thorough history taking to help clarify the possible causes of infection;
  • laboratory tests of feces, blood, intestinal contents 12p, rectal and perianal mucus, muscle tissue, pulmonary sputum, bile.The analysis may reveal eggs, segments or fragments of parasites. At the same time, an increased content of eosinophils in the blood is also a signal of the presence of helminthiasis.
  • when diagnosing diseases caused by larval stages or tissue parasites, serological studies are carried out (ELISA, RSK, indirect agglutination reaction, immunofluorescence analysis, etc.).
  • for the detection of helminths that affect the liver tissue, ultrasound, CT and endoscopic studies are prescribed.

Worms in humans: treatment

In the acute phase of parasitic infection, the patient is prescribed detoxification and desensitization therapy. In severe cases of the disease (trematodes of the liver, trichinosis), glucocorticoids are used according to medical indications.

As drugs of specific therapy, taking into account the nature of the pathogen, special anthelmintic chemotherapeutic agents are prescribed.

In parallel, the patient is recommended to take antihistamines and enterosorbents.The final stage of treatment includes the use of probiotics that normalize the intestinal microflora.

A special gentle diet is also prescribed (food should be digestible and low in fat).

During the period of antihelminthic therapy, the patient is required to strictly observe personal hygiene (in order to avoid re-infection). At the same time, for many helminthiasis, all family members and persons who are in constant contact with the infected must undergo treatment.

Prevention of helminthiasis

  • Compliance with personal and public hygiene;
  • Strict adherence to cooking technology;
  • Regular examination and preventive treatment of pets;
  • Thorough washing of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs;
  • Correct handling of river fish;
  • Refusal to consume raw, slightly salted and dried fish.

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“What are the reasons for the appearance of light feces in adults?” – Yandex.Qu

Light colored stool in adults usually indicates the development of liver disease. That is why a detailed study of the body should be done in order to exclude, if possible, these dangerous diseases from your list of disorders and diseases in the future.

Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the bile pigment can be processed in the intestines, causing the staining of feces in exactly the same light color.This explains the infectious origin of the clinical pathology of the intestine.

Light-colored stools in an adult, all the reasons for which you will learn from this article, can appear quite often, because the color of the stool also directly depends on what the person ate the day before. So, for example, light food will color the stool in a light color, for example, if you drink a lot of milk or fermented milk products. The next time, the color may stabilize if such foods were excluded from the diet.

Why feces are light: causes in adults

Bilirubin, which is a constituent of bile, gives the normal brown color to feces of an adult. But white feces, this is already a consequence of a violation of the process of flow of bile from the gallbladder into the intestines.

There are a number of conditions that can cause feces to become light yellow in color.

  1. Hepatitis is the collective name for inflammatory liver diseases. Distinguish between infectious, toxic, alcoholic and other types of hepatitis.
  2. Cholecystitis. Inflammation of the gallbladder is accompanied by acute abdominal pain, decreased appetite, fever, and nausea. Feces with cholecystitis have a liquid consistency, sometimes with remnants of undigested food.
  3. Pancreatitis. The development of inflammation of the pancreas is based on: unhealthy diet, alcohol abuse, infections of internal organs, taking certain medications.
  4. Crohn’s disease is a disease accompanied by an inflammatory process that affects the entire digestive system.
  5. Cancer of the digestive tract. The development of malignant neoplasms on the internal organs is asymptomatic. The first signs appear when the tumor reaches a certain size. Among the symptoms, doctors distinguish: pain in the abdominal cavity, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and a sharp decrease in weight.

Light-colored feces in an adult may also appear due to the use of certain medications. First of all, it is:

At the same time, if this symptom appeared for the first time, then you should not panic.Just observe the color and consistency for 5 to 6 days.

Also, some medical experts say that the light color of the stool can be obtained from the consumption of butter, sour cream and some other fatty foods.

What does light brown feces mean?

Absorption of mainly plant foods by adults results in faecal clarification. This is not a disease and is not harmful to your health.With the accelerated passage of the digestive masses through the colon, the stool becomes light brown. Adding protein products to the diet and fractional nutrition normalize the digestive tract.

What does a very light color of feces mean?

If the color of your stool is very light, almost white, this may be evidence of a malfunctioning pancreas. In order to eliminate the likelihood


, consult with your physician and donate blood for analysis.Unfortunately, often very light stool is evidence of the appearance of malignant tumors in the pancreas, or one of the digestive organs, so do not delay visiting a doctor in any case.

You should be alert if the appearance of light stool is regular or repeated from time to time. An isolated case should not be considered a serious symptom. This is most likely due to the nature of the diet.

What does light yellow feces mean?

The color of feces is affected by


excreted together with bile by the liver.From a medical point of view, yellow stools in a healthy person are normal.

You should be worried about beige feces. This may mean that the liver is unstable in producing bilirubin or that the bile ducts are narrowed. To identify the causes of light yellow feces, contact your doctor, who will conduct an examination and prescribe the appropriate therapy.

What to do about such a problem?

If you noticed that the feces have an unusual color, but this is the only manifestation, you should adjust the diet and exclude fatty and fried foods, mushrooms, alcohol.If this produces the desired effect, it is worth taking more care of proper nutrition, and the health of the liver and


If discolored feces appear along with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, change in taste preferences, weight loss, you should immediately consult a doctor who will help determine the cause of such manifestations and help get rid of disturbing symptoms.

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Cat constipation or discoloration of stool

Lack of defecation is always a signal that the pet is unhealthy. At least one act of emptying per day is considered to be the norm.

If the act of defecation occurs untimely and with long delays, it can lead to intoxication of the animal and other serious negative consequences. If you notice that the cat does not go to the toilet or meows and makes other sounds during bowel movements, spends a lot of time on this process, but often without results, if the feces are dry and the amount is small, we can talk about constipation in the cat.Constipation can be caused by an unbalanced diet, low protein foods, dehydration, and hairballs in the esophagus. In cases of constipation and complicated acts of defecation of a pet, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian and take the prescribed treatment.

Discoloration of stool may indicate problems of various origins. Brown feces are considered normal. When the color is normal, but the stool is runny, it can be caused by eating poor quality stale food, as well as parasite infestation.But if the feces are of an unusual color?

If the stool is black, it may indicate the presence of digested blood, which indicates internal bleeding in the upper digestive tract.

If blood is found in the feces in the state in which everyone is used to seeing it, scarlet or bright red, it means that the blood has not been digested and bleeding takes place in the lower parts of the digestive tract. In any case, the presence of bleeding in any part of the digestive tract should not be ignored and prompt assistance from a veterinarian.

If your pet’s stool is greenish or yellowish, it may indicate digestion problems, dysbiosis, or other digestive problems. If the stool is completely light yellow or even beige, white is an indication of a malfunction in the liver.

Grayish feces indicate problems with the digestion of food. If the feces are oily or watery, then this may indicate a failure in the absorption of excess fluid by the intestinal walls.

In case of any of the listed manifestations of changes in the quality, quantity, consistency of stool in a cat, you should immediately consult a veterinarian, take stool tests and, having received the results and referrals from a specialist, begin treatment.

It is strongly not recommended to start treatment with human drugs and dosages on your own, as this can aggravate the condition of the animal, and precious time will be lost.

Changes in stool color after taking a probiotic – Question to the gastroenterologist

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Changes in stool color in children

Stool discoloration in children

In most cases, stool discoloration in children is caused by food. “However, if the stool has an unusual color for more than 24 hours, the parent should take the child or possibly a stool sample and go to the pediatrician. If the color of the stool is repeatedly light gray or white, almost colorless, you should definitely see a doctor, ”advises Pediatrician Dr. Monika Niehaus from of the Pediatric and Young People’s Union (BVKJ) in Thuringia .Medical advice is also needed if stool discoloration is accompanied by additional symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or fatigue.

– Light, clay-like stools are formed when there is a lack of bile, for example, as a result of a blockage in the bile ducts. Medicines for diarrhea may also be the cause. Light colored stools combined with dark urine are a warning sign of jaundice (hepatitis).

– Green vegetables (such as spinach) tend to color the stool green, which, however, may appear black under certain lighting conditions.It is the same when taking iron supplements. When diarrhea is severe, the stool may turn green due to its bile content.

– Red stools rarely indicate bleeding in the digestive system. In most cases, it becomes this way when eating red fruits or vegetables, such as lingonberries or beets.

– Black stools may indicate bleeding in the upper intestinal tract, but this color may also be associated with certain medications or licorice.

“If the doctor recommends bringing a stool sample, parents should wear disposable gloves, take a small amount of stool with plastic wrap and place it in a resealable plastic bag or in a specially designed plastic container. The container can be stored in the refrigerator until the visit to the doctor, ”says Dr.