By Cathy Wong, ND – Evaluated by a board-certified doctor. Natural medicine specialists frequently ask customers about their stool as part of the evaluation. Learn how they typically interpret green stool, light-colored stool, yellow stool, blood in stool, mucus in stool, pencil thin stool, infrequent stool and more.
Remember that you need to always talk to your doctor about any symptoms you might be experiencing.
What Does an Ideal Bowel Movement Look Like?
A perfect bowel movement is believed to be medium brown, the color of plain cardboard.
It leaves the body easily without any straining or discomfort and is the consistency of tooth paste. Approximately 4 to 8 inches long, stool needs to go into the water efficiently without sticking to the toilet bowl. There must be little gas or odor.
Stool That Sinks Quickly
Quickly sinking stool can indicate that an individual isn’t really eating enough fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and entire grains or drinking adequate water. This stool is often dark because it has actually been sitting in the intestines for an extended time.
Stool that light-colored (either pale, white, gray or clay colored) might be caused by a lack of bile in stool. Inadequate bile output or bile duct obstruction might be due to conditions such as cholecystitis, gallstones, giardia, parasitic infection, liver disease, chronic pancreatitis, or cirrhosis. Bile salts secreted by the liver give stool its character brownish color.
If there is reduced bile, the stool is much lighter in color.
Particular medications such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol ®, Kaopectate ® )or antacids containing aluminum hydroxide may likewise lead to a light-colored stool. Stool may momentarily end up being pale after a barium enema test. Pale stool might also be shiny or oily, float, and be foul-smelling, due to undigested fat in the stool.
Soft stool that drifts, has smell, adheres to the side of the bowl, or is hard to flush away may indicate there is increased fat in the stools, called steatorrhea. Floating stool can likewise be caused by excess gas. Find out more about the causes of drifting stool.
Seeing green stool in the toilet bowl can be worrying, however there are some common reasons why it occurs.
Mucus in Stool
Two typical causes of loose stool or diarrhea are GI tract infections or maldigestion (e.g. lactose intolerance, weak food digestion induced by stress and bad diet).
Pencil Thin Stool
Excess straining can lead to a stool that is long and pencil thin since bearing down causes the anal sphincter to agreement and slim the opening of the rectum.
Pencil thin stool can likewise be caused by a bowel obstruction. Benign rectal polyps, prostate augmentation, colon, rectal or prostate cancer are a few of the conditions that can cause obstruction.
Yellow stool can indicate that food is travelling through the digestive tract fairly quickly. Yellow stool can be discovered in people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, chronic cough, and wheezing. Symptoms are generally worse when lying down or bending. Foods that can intensify GERD symptoms include peppermint, fatty foods, alcohol (don’t consume alcohol, alcohol is harmful for health), coffee, and chocolate.
Yellow stool may likewise indicate problems with the gallbladder and liver. Bile salts from the liver give stool its brownish color and when bile output is reduced, it typically first looks like yellow stool.
If the stool is also greasy and foul-smelling, there might be excess fat in the stool– causes include malabsorption conditions such as celiac disease. If the start is abrupt, yellow stool can also signify a bacterial infection in the intestines. Extended yellow stool might likewise be caused by giardia infection or other conditions.
With constipation, irregular or hard stool is passed typically with straining. It is most typically connected with a lack of both dietary fiber and water. Learn more about the causes and remedies for constipation.
Stool That Comes Out in Small Pellets
Pellet stool is a stool that visits in small, round balls rather than long and smooth. It is typically due to a lack of dietary fiber, as fiber kinds a gel in the intestines when it is fermented by colon bacteria and combined with water.
Undigested Food in Stool
Particular plant foods such as corn and grape skins may appear in identifiable pieces in stool since human beings do not have the necessary enzymes to absorb certain parts of plant cell walls. Ginger tea might be suggested before meals.
Stool that is almost black, dark or tarry with a thick consistency might be a sign of bleeding in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. The most typical medical conditions that cause dark, tar-like stool consists of duodenal or stomach ulcer, esophageal varices and gastritis.
Certain foods, supplements, and medications can momentarily turn stool black.
This consists of:
- Bismuth substances (e.g. Pepto-Bismol).
- Activated charcoal supplements.
- Aspirin and NSAIDS (which can cause bleeding in the stomach).
- Dark foods such as black licorice, blueberries, Oreo cookies, blackberries, grape juice, or blueberries.
Dark stool can also accompany constipation. Dark green stool from bile may look black in certain lighting.
If you experience this type of stool and it is not from food or supplements, you need to see your doctor as quickly as possible.
Bright Red Stool
When there is blood in stool, the color depends on where it remains in the digestive tract. Blood from the upper part of the intestinal tract, such as the stomach, will look dark by the time it exits the body as a bowel movement.
Blood that is bright red, on the other hand, is most likely to come from bleeding in the lower digestive tract, such as the big intestinal tract or anus due to arteriovenous malformations, hemorrhoids, anal cracks, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, or colon cancer.
Intense red stool is typically caused by red food coloring (e.g. red or grape Kool-Aid or other drink blends, gelatin, ice pops, red candy, red icing, red licorice), beets, cranberries, or tomato juice or soup. Red medicines such as Amoxicillin might also turn stool red.
Blood in stool does not always appear bright red.
Blood might be also present in stool but not visible, called “occult” blood. A test called the Fecal Occult Blood Test is used to find covert blood in stool.
Disclaimer: This site is for information only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. You ought to look for prompt treatment for any health problems and consult your doctor before using natural medicine or making a change to your routine.