We have to look after our health and the health of our loved ones. So we closely observe everything, especially our bodily functions. Some observations startle us. Hence we may ask, “why my poop green colour?” or “why my baby poop green?”
It is good if we pick up unusual or undesirable things in our everyday lives. In this way, we can take action early, and seek professional help.
Some issues that startle or worry us, are indeed potentially dangerous. Others are gravely serious. But others are actually harmless or of no consequence.
It would be very nice if we could be able to differentiate between dangerous conditions, and harmless ones. Articles like this one are written exactly to equip Readers with knowledge that can enable them to make that differentiation.
WHAT IS THE NORMAL COLOUR OF POOP OR STOOL?
Stool has various shades of colour which are perfectly normal. It is mostly different shades of brown or green. This is irrespective of ethnicity or part of the world you reside in.
The main determinant of the colour of stool is BILE.
Stool colour can of course vary from day to day, even in one person. This could be influenced by a number of factors:
– what food is eaten
– any strong natural coloration in food eaten
– coloured food additives
– medications being taken
– how well hydrated your body (and hence your intestinal contents) is
– then some minor disturbances in the body’s physiology e.g. mild diarrhoea can affect stool colour
WHAT IS BILE?
This is a fair question. What is bile? And what is bile made from? What is the function of bile?
Bile is a yellow-green liquid that is produced by the liver. After being produced in the liver, it travels through biliary channels, and gets stored in the gallbladder.
The function of bile is DIGESTION of fats. It enables such digestion by breaking down or emulsifying the fats. This is because of the chemical composition of bile.
The liquid that is bile, contains bile pigments and phospholipids. These components are kept in balance, so that stones are not formed. This solution is then able to travel through the bile duct, to meet food in the first part of the small intestines.
So bile gets squirted from the gallbladder into the small intestines during meals and shortly after. The more fat there is in the food, the more bile gets squirted.
The bile gets mixed with the food, thus aiding digestion. This mixture then transits the gut, with absorption taking place. Please remember that many other bodily chemicals get added too (e.g. acid in the stomach).
Apart from chemicals, the intestines contain billions of healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria also work on the food mixture.
As the mixture of food, bile, enzymes, acid, etc, goes through the gut, the bile pigments get converted to different shades of brown. The resultant brown compound is called “stercobilin”. This is mostly what gives stool its colour, under normal circumstances.
SO WHY WAS MY POOP GREEN?
If you have observed a stool that is not the usual brown colour, but was rather green, this could be due to a number of factors.
– the rapid transit of food mentioned above, does not give the bile (pigments) the time to change to brown
– a lot of green, leafy vegetables in your diet
– food additives and colouring
And if you are asking Dear Reader, “why my baby poop green?” it most probably is because baby has a bit of a runny tummy. But also, though less likely than in an adult, baby could have ingested green coloured food or medication.