What the colour of your poo says about your health – from yellow to black

Michelle Geraghty-Corns, founder of eternalbeing, said the appearance of poo could indicate what you might be lacking in your diet and if you have an underlying illness.

The ideal healthy stool should be “medium brown, soft and formed”, said Michelle.

Certain foods could cause short-term colour changes, however, that should not be concerning,

Michelle said: “Beetroot, as an example, gives poop a red-pink tinge for those who cannot break down the pigment, which can sometimes last up to 48 hours.”

While green poo could be a sign you’ve been eating a lot of greens, such as broccoli, kale and spinach, it could also be a sign of a bacterial infection.

Green poo might be indicative of a bacterial infection if it has a very loose consistency (diarrhoea) and you generally feel unwell.

“With bugs like salmonella, giardia, or norovirus, there is not enough transit time for the stool to change colour to brown which causes the green tint,” Michelle explained.

Certain medications could cause green-coloured poo, such as antibiotics, contraceptives, and iron supplements.

If you haven’t been eating foods with yellow food colouring or turmeric, this colour of poo could be indicative of a health condition.

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Michelle elaborated: “If you have coeliac disease, your body cannot handle gluten.

“So if you eat foods which do contain the protein such as wheat, barley and rye, your intestines will not work properly.

“If you eat these foods and notice your poop is yellow, it is worth seeing a doctor.”

Dark poo “can be a sign of bowel cancer”, Michelle cautioned. “It can indicate dried or old blood from an upper part of the gut.”

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Michelle added: “If you experience dark poo, there could be bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract so it is important to see a doctor.

“It’s worth noting if you suffer from constipation your stools can also be very dark and hard to pass.”

Blood in your faeces could also be indicative of bowel cancer, particularly if it’s accompanied by:

  • A fever
  • Excessive weakness
  • Vomiting.

“If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately,” said Michelle.

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