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Grayish colored stools: Alcoholic liver disease Information | Mount Sinai

Hepatitis Information | Mount Sinai

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis B is also known as serum hepatitis and is spread through blood and sexual contact. It is seen with increased frequency among intravenous drug users who share needles and among the homosexual population. This photograph is an electronmicroscopic image of hepatitis B virus particles. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Hepatitis C is a virus-caused liver inflammation which may cause jaundice, fever and cirrhosis. Persons who are most at risk for contracting and spreading hepatitis C are those who share needles for injecting drugs and health care workers or emergency workers who may be exposed to contaminated blood.

The liver serves a wide variety of body functions, including detoxifying blood and producing bile that aids in digestion.


Hepatitis can be caused by:

  • Immune cells in the body attacking the liver
  • Infections from viruses (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C), bacteria, or parasites
  • Liver damage from alcohol or poison
  • Medicines, such as an overdose of acetaminophen
  • Fatty liver

Liver disease can also be caused by inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis, a condition that involves having too much iron in your body.

Other causes include Wilson disease, a disorder in which the body retains too much copper and ingestion of toxic mushrooms.


Hepatitis may start and get better quickly. It may also become a long-term condition. In some cases, hepatitis may lead to liver damage, liver failure, cirrhosis, liver cancer or even death.

There are several factors that can affect how severe the condition is. These may include the cause of the liver damage and any illnesses you have. Hepatitis A, for example, is most often short-term and does not lead to chronic liver problems.

The symptoms of hepatitis include:

  • Pain or bloating in the belly area
  • Dark urine and pale or clay-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Low grade fever
  • Itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

You may not have symptoms when first infected with hepatitis B or C. You can still develop liver failure later. If you have any risk factors for either type of hepatitis, you should be tested often.

Exams and Tests

You will have a physical exam to look for:

  • Enlarged and tender liver
  • Fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Yellowing of the skin

You may have lab tests to diagnose and monitor your condition, including:

  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • Autoimmune blood markers
  • Blood tests to diagnose Hepatitis A, B, or C
  • Liver function tests
  • Liver biopsy to check for liver damage (may be needed in some cases)
  • Paracentesis (if fluid is in your abdomen)


Your health care provider will talk to you about treatment options. Treatments will vary, depending on the cause of your liver disease. You may need to eat a high-calorie diet if you are losing weight.

Support Groups

More information and support for people with hepatitis and their families can be found by joining a support group. Ask your provider about liver disease resources and support groups in your area.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook for hepatitis will depend on what is causing the liver damage.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

  • Permanent liver damage, called cirrhosis
  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek care immediately if you:

  • Have symptoms from too much acetaminophen or other medicines. You may need to have your stomach pumped
  • Vomit blood
  • Have bloody or tarry stools
  • Are confused or delirious

Contact your provider if:

  • You have any symptoms of hepatitis or believe that you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B, or C.
  • You cannot keep food down due to excessive vomiting. You may need to receive nutrition through a vein (intravenously).
  • You feel sick and have travelled to Asia, Africa, South America, or Central America.


Talk to your provider about having a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Steps for preventing the spread of hepatitis B and C from one person to another include:

  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes.
  • DO NOT share drug needles or other drug equipment (such as straws for snorting drugs).
  • Clean blood spills with a mixture of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water.
  • DO NOT get tattoos or body piercings with instruments that have not been cleaned properly.

To reduce your risk for spreading or catching hepatitis A:

  • Always wash your hands well after using the restroom, and when you come in contact with an infected person’s blood, stools, or other bodily fluid.
  • Avoid unclean food and water.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Guidelines for viral hepatitis surveillance and case management. www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/surveillanceguidelines.htm. Updated May 31, 2015. Accessed April 26. 2022.

Czaja AJ. Autoimmune hepatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 90.

Pawlotsky J-M. Chronic viral and autoimmune hepatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 140.

Takyar V, Ghany MG. Hepatitis A, B, D, and E. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2022. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:223-229.

Young J-A H, Ustun C. Infections in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplants. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 307.

Last reviewed on: 2/7/2022

Reviewed by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What the Color of Your Stool Says About Your Health: Betsy F. Clemens, M.

D.: Board Certified Physician

What the Color of Your Stool Says About Your Health: Betsy F. Clemens, M.D.: Board Certified Physician

Your stool is what remains after your gastrointestinal system breaks down and absorbs all the essential nutrients and fluid from what you eat and drink. Though mostly water, your stool also contains a mix of fiber, bacteria, cells, and mucus. 

Your bowel movements may not be a regular topic of conversation, but the color, texture, and smell of your poop can tell you a lot about your health. 

At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, we specialize in diagnosing and treating anorectal disorders like hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Your bowel movements may play a role in the development of these uncomfortable conditions.

Our board-certified family physician, Dr. Betsy Clemens, wants you to know what the color of your stool says about your health.

Any shade of brown

The color of your stool varies, depending on what you eat and drink, as well as how much bile remains in your waste after digestion. Bile is a yellow-green pigmented substance made in your liver that helps digest fat in your small intestine. 

As food travels through your digestive tract, enzymes alter the pigments in your bile, causing them to turn brown. 

Brown is the normal color of stool. If you pass any shade of brown stool, your digestive system is working like it should. 

Green stool

Green-colored stool means you have too much bile in your poop. This may occur when food quickly moves through your digestive tract, preventing the enzymatic changes that alter the pigments in your blile. You may see green stools when you have diarrhea.

However, leafy greens and foods with green food coloring may also cause your poop to turn green. So, green-colored stool may not alway be a sign of a serious health issue. 

When you have green-colored stool, keep track of what you eat to see if you can find a connection. If you feel the color of your poop has nothing to do with the color of your food, schedule a visit, and we can see what’s going on.  

Gray stool

Gray stool means there’s not enough bile in your poop. Having gray, pale-colored stools may be a sign of an underlying health issue involving your pancreas, liver, or gallbladder, such as:

  • Bile duct obstruction (usually from gallstones)
  • Narrowing of the bile duct
  • Infection or inflammation in your pancreas, gallbladder, or liver
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Viral hepatitis

You may also have jaundice (yellow-colored skin) with gray-colored stool. If your stools remain pale, gray, or clay-colored for several days, you should schedule an appointment. 

Black or red stool

Black or red-colored stool is usually a sign of blood in stool. Black stools may indicate you have bleeding in your upper digestive tract such as your stomach. However, if you’re taking bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®), this could be the reason for tarry-looking stools.

Bright red stool or stool streaked with blood may mean there’s bleeding in the lower part of your digestive tract, such as your large intestine. Hemorrhoids often bleed, causing streaks of bright red blood on your stool or in the toilet bowl.

You should never ignore black or red-colored stool because it may be a sign of a more serious gastrointestinal condition like stomach or colon cancer.

Yellow stool

Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling stools means there’s too much fat in your poop. This means you’re not breaking down and absorbing the fat you eat. You may develop yellow stools from an infection or a condition that causes malabsorption like celiac disease or pancreatitis. 

Checking out your stool before you flush may help you find problems before they cause major health complications. If you have concerns about the color of your stools, give our office a call at 636-228-3136, or schedule a consultation online with Dr. Clemens today. 

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Gray feces in a child: diagnosis and possible diseases

There are no parents who are not worried about the health of their baby. Upon visual inspection, parents may notice a lightening of the feces and immediately begin to sound the alarm. Gray feces in the absence of other signs are not a pathology. Feces with an ash-gray tint, which is accompanied by fever, nausea, bloating, indicate certain problems in the body.

Article content:

  • 1 Causes of gray stool in a child
  • 2 Possible diseases
  • 3 Diagnosis: fecal analysis
  • 4 Treatment

Causes of gray stool in a child

Possible causes that may affect the color of feces in a child

Child receives breast milk from the mother or is bottle-fed. In this case, the stool may change color, but is not the cause of the development of any problems in the body.

Feces change color within 8-10 months and this is normal. Sometimes mothers can find gray grains, lumps or clots in the feces of a child. This is not a pathology, but is associated with the immature physiological functions of the digestive organs. The main reason for the change in feces is the imperfection of the digestive system.

Gray stools in a child may appear when formula is introduced or when it is changed. Gray stool becomes gray with a silvery tint in babies whose mothers feed underdiluted cow’s milk. If the feces are hard and gray, then the child has constipation. It is important for parents to adjust the chair in the child.

Putrid stools, dirty gray with the smell of spoiled cheese, may indicate excessive consumption of protein foods.

In this case, the amount of protein should be reduced and more carbohydrates should be consumed. Then the dirty gray feces will return to normal. Feces can change color when using certain drugs: Ibuprofen, Augmentin, Paracetamol. With the abolition of these drugs, the color of feces returns to normal.

The color of the stool can come from the food the mother eats. The stool will become gray and light when eating dairy-vegetable foods. In this case, the mother needs to pay attention to the diet and, if possible, change it.

There are cases when a change in the color of the feces may indicate problems with the pancreas, liver, biliary tract.

Possible diseases

If the child’s feces are gray for a certain time, this may indicate the development of certain diseases:

  • Pancreatitis. Young children may experience inflammation of the pancreas. The causes of the inflammatory process are as follows: insufficient development of the digestive system, nutrition that does not correspond to the age of the child. In children older than a year, pancreatitis can develop with excessive consumption of sweets, flour products. The main manifestations of pancreatitis in children are bright, shiny stools with a fetid odor, abdominal pain, high fever, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Dysbacteriosis. It develops as a result of the use of antibacterial drugs during pregnancy, antibiotic treatment, maternal malnutrition. Dysbacteriosis occurs when the balance of microorganisms living in the intestine is disturbed. At the same time, the child has bloating and pain in the abdomen, light stools with mucus.
  • Hepatitis. Children attending school or kindergarten are often diagnosed with hepatitis A. This form of the disease occurs in children under one year old very rarely and is due to a violation of hygiene rules. The urine of the child becomes dark in color, and the feces gradually acquire a light shade.
  • Discoloration of feces may be observed with rotavirus infection. The child’s health worsens, body temperature rises. Liquid yellow stool gradually changes color and becomes light after 3-4 days after the onset of the disease.

All these diseases develop in violation of the digestive system. If there is a sharp change in the child’s feces or if it persists for several days, you should consult a doctor.

Diagnosis: fecal analysis

Biochemical and bacteriological analysis of feces

Examination of feces in a child with an infectious intestinal disease or other pathology is an important part of the examination.

A stool test is done to determine the health of the digestive system.

There are several types of stool tests:

  1. Bacteriological analysis, for the presence of helminths, for occult blood and dysbacteriosis. At the same time, microscopic, macroscopic and chemical studies are performed. Bacteriological analysis or bacteriological culture is used to detect bacteria and various pathogens. Various protozoan microorganisms live in the intestines of a child. Quite often, children have worms, which can lead to various health problems. To identify them, microscopic examination is performed. For diagnosis, such indicators as color, consistency, amount of feces and number of bowel movements, whether there is blood or mucus in the feces are very important.
  2. With the help of biochemical analysis, it is possible to evaluate the microflora living in the intestine, to establish the disease. Used in many cases to detect blood and other substances. The activity of microorganisms is determined by the concentration of short-chain acids in the feces.

More information about fecal analysis can be found in the video.

Correct stool collection is essential for an accurate diagnosis. To analyze for dysbacteriosis, collect feces in a sterile container. The amount of collected feces should not exceed a teaspoon.

Collect feces correctly from three points.

Should be delivered to the laboratory within 1-2 hours. For a scatological study of feces, you need to collect about 2 tablespoons. After the results of the analysis, the doctor will determine the exact cause of the appearance of gray feces and prescribe treatment.


Methods for normalizing the color of feces in a child

If the general condition of the baby is good, there is no temperature, and there are no blood clots in the feces, then within a few days the color of the stool should recover on its own, you need to observe the child.

If the stool does not return, the pediatrician should be consulted. Perhaps this is due to pathological changes in the body. If the mixture is the cause of the discoloration of the feces, then it is not necessary to cancel it. After a while, the child adapts to it and the stool will become a normal color.

The child should consume enough protein food. Mom needs to take care of this and monitor what the child eats.

In the treatment of rotavirus infection, it is necessary to normalize the water-salt balance.

If the cause of light stool is a pathology of the pancreas, the child is prescribed a special diet and bed rest. The first few days the child should be given plenty of fluids. Gradually introduce vegetable puree, cereals cooked in water, etc. into the diet. Further, the child can be given dairy products. To restore the digestion process, medications with enzymes may be prescribed. It is important to remember that self-treatment will only aggravate the situation, so the drugs and the indicated dosage should be used after a doctor’s prescription.

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What turns stool green

Creativity › What does it mean if › Green stool what does it mean if in an adult › What can turn stool green

Possible causes of green stool:

The most common cause of green stool without changing its other characteristics is the use of green vegetable food – spinach, sorrel, lettuce, etc. , as well as products containing green food coloring.

  • Green stools can be caused by eating green plant foods such as spinach or lettuce, or foods containing green food coloring.
  • The bile in the gallbladder is green, so in diseases associated with the gallbladder, feces may turn green.
  • Consumption of coloring foods, activated charcoal or iron preparations may color the stool dark red or brown.
  • With celiac disease caused by the use of products containing gluten, the stool may become grayish or gray-greenish.
  • The color of the stool may indicate digestive problems, colic or pancreatic insufficiency.
  • Some foods that affect stool color include leafy greens, colored caramel, cereals and muesli, sea fish and red meat, red beans, black licorice, fruit juices, and vegetable purees.
  • Eating green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli can also cause green stools.
  • Some medicines containing iron can change the color of the stool to green.
  • If green stools are not accompanied by other symptoms, this may be due to the consumption of certain foods and is not a cause for concern. However, if the green color of the feces is accompanied by other signs of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, you should consult a gastroenterologist.
  1. What color is the feces when bile is released
  2. What foods affect the color of stool
  3. Why gray green stools
  4. What will tell the color of stool
  5. What can turn feces green
  6. What food turns feces green
  7. Which medicines turn feces green
  8. What to do if you have green stool
  9. Why stool is green
  10. What does it mean if the feces are gray green
  11. What does the color of your feces mean
  12. What makes a chair green

What color is the feces when bile is released?

Bile (bile juice) in the gallbladder is green. When you suffer from gallbladder-related diseases, your stools may turn green, especially when the bile produced in large quantities is deposited in the intestines.

Which foods affect stool color

Eating coloring foods (beets, tomatoes, red berries and fruits), as well as activated charcoal or iron preparations, can color feces dark red or brown. This assumption is easy to check by removing all coloring foods and medicines from the diet for several days.

Why feces are grey-green

Celiac disease In celiac disease, indigestion occurs due to damage to the intestinal villi due to the use of products containing gluten. The disease develops mainly at the age of 6-12 months and is manifested by the appearance of fetid, fatty, grayish or gray-greenish stools.

What the color of stool tells

Dark brown color appears in case of insufficiency of gastric digestion, colitis, constipation. Light brown feces are excreted during accelerated evacuation. The reddish color is due to the content of fresh blood. Gray, pale yellow color is characteristic of pancreatic insufficiency.

What can make stool green

This color can cause stool:

  • green leafy crops: lettuce, dill, onion, broccoli, savoy cabbage, spinach;
  • coloring caramel;
  • cereals and muesli;
  • marine fish and red meat;
  • red beans;
  • black licorice;
  • fruit juices;
  • vegetable purees from the range of baby food.

What food turns stool green

Green vegetables:

If you eat a lot of greens, in particular spinach, broccoli, lettuce, then this can be reflected in the color of your excrement. Foods with a lot of green pigment can cause stool to turn green.

Medicines that turn stool green

Medications that contain iron can change the color of stool green, often prescribed to treat iron deficiency anemia.

What to do if you have green stools

If green stools appear without other symptoms due to excessive consumption of certain foods, there is no cause for concern. In other cases, when a greenish tint of feces is one of the signs of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, a person needs to consult a gastroenterologist.

Why stool is green

Small intestine diseases, dysbacteriosis, antibiotics for a long period of time can give green color to stool. In this case, the disease is accompanied by an unpleasant putrefactive odor.