The colors of poop in particular can be good indicators of health issues and provide a warning that it is time to get 'the scoop' on your poop.
We are taught as kids not to talk about it. So we don’t. Except maybe as grown-ups, and then, only reluctantly with our doctors.
But paying attention to your poop is important because what your body expels outside can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside. May people ask about whether tan colored stools are normal. They are not. Pay attention to the color!
If your gastrointestinal tract is not functioning properly, you may have loose, frequent bowel movements, or just the opposite, difficultly passing stools. You might also experience bloating, indigestion constipation or irritable bowel. Your stools might present irregular shapes, texture, sizes, colors, and smells when your digestive system is not optimal. The colors of poop in particular can be good indicators of health issues and provide a warning that it is time to get ‘the scoop’ on your poop.
So here’s a quick look at what’s normal and when it’s time for concern.
The Scoop on Your Poop
The food we eat, our levels of bile (a detergent like substance that emulsifies fat and gives stools their brown color) and time spent in the gastrointestinal tract are just several factors influencing bowel movement colors.
While opinions vary, most agree normal bowels are regular bowels. Anything less than that indicates the food is stagnating, or worse, rotting in your gut.
Medium shades of brown are best. You can remember this by thinking “MBBM is normal”. Even brownish green is considered normal from eating green foods unless the green comes from excessive diarrhea. Pregnancy can bring a number of changes to your stool as well.
Find out why your tools may be green during pregnancy here.
Yellowish or greenish stools that are greasy and foul smelling may be due to malabsorption disorders, such as celiac disease, or parasites such as giardia when accompanied by diarrhea.
Tan colored stools suggest you may have difficulty digesting your fats, which causes congestion in the liver and gall bladder. IBS and yellow stools sometimes occur together. Tan colored stools are not normal, and should be taken seriously because they can be a warning sign of gallbladder disease, gallstones, blockage in the biliary tree, or problems with your liver.
Gray/white ashy colored or clay like stools can indicate pancreas or liver problems. Also, possibly gallstones pancreatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.
Red, dullish colored stools may be from eating red foods, such as beets and may also be related to certain medications. But red can also indicate diverticulitis,
hemorrhoids and bleeding in the lower GI tract.
Black, tarry like stools are in need of urgent care because that is a sign of dangerous, deadly internal bleeding in the upper GI tract.
When Ick Might Mean Sick
But there is one place where conversations about the inner workings of your gastrointestinal tract are encouraged and that’s at the Digestion Relief Center. Because talking about your bowels is the first step to normalizing healthy digestion and elimination.
To find out how you, or someone you love can live life free of the pain and embarrassment of bowel problems, call our office at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, founder of the Digestion Relief Center, in Chico California, specializes in natural relief for food sensitivities, intolerances and digestive problems. In the last 19 years Dr. Patrick has helped thousands of people from Chico, Redding, the Sacramento Valley, and Northern California live their lives free of bowel problems and food sensitivities. Dr. Patrick can be reached at 530-899-8741.