What Are the Possible Different Colors of Stools?


Quick Answer

Stools can be brown, green, white, clay-colored, yellow, black or even bright red, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stool is normally green or brown, but can be a range of colors, some of which may indicate intestinal issues.

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When stools are green, it is potentially an indicator that food is moving through the intestine too rapidly, explains the Mayo Clinic. This sometimes occurs because of diarrhea, but diet can also play a factor. Foods with green food coloring, leafy green vegetables and iron supplements can all turn stools green. White or clay-colored stools or other light-colored stools may indicate a lack of bile that may be due to an obstruction in the bile duct. Stools of this color can also be caused by medications, including Pepto-Bismol and other drugs that are recommended for treating diarrhea.

Yellow may indicate fat in the stool, which can caused by celiac disease or other malabsorption disorders, states the Mayo Clinic. Gluten, which is found in pasta and bread, can cause yellow, greasy and foul-smelling stool. Black stools can be indicative of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. However, Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, black licorice and iron supplements can also cause black stools. Bright red stool may indicate bleeding in the lower part of the intestinal tract, sometimes due to hemorrhoids, It can also be caused by eating foods with red food coloring, beets, cranberries or other red foods.

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