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Stools: what does the color say?

  1. Healthy stools have a light brown color, slightly peanut butter-like. But sometimes the poo has a different color. This may be due to diet or due to drug use. What does the color of your stool say and when do you need to see the doctor?

  1. Faeces (faeces or faeces) consist for the most part of water, undigested food residues and bacteria. The shape and color of the stool can vary from person to day.

Normal stools

  1. The color of the stool varies under normal circumstances from light brown (peanut butter-like) to dark brown (the color of chocolate spread). Dark brown stools mean it has stayed in the body a little longer. The brown color is caused by the conversion of bilirubin in the small intestine. Bilirubin is a breakdown product of hemoglobin, the substance that gives red blood cells their color. Sometimes the stool has a different color. This can have several causes. Often it is due to eating beetroot (red) or other foods, for example. Swallowing food supplements or medication, for example, can also affect the color of your stool. When the color of your stool suddenly changes - and you think it cannot be because of the above - it is important to contact your doctor.

White or gray stools

  1. When there is little or no bilirubin in the stool, it gets a light, gray color (putty faeces). This can be caused by a poor breakdown of bilirubin or a blockage of the bile ducts. If your stool has this color, consult your doctor.

Yellow and green stools

  1. Eating green leafy vegetables can cause a different color because of the leaf green (chlorophyll). But a yellow or green color of the stool can also have other reasons such as a gastrointestinal infection (salmonella for example), disorders of the liver and bile ducts, alcohol consumption (often yellowish stools), laxative use or food intolerances such as celiac disease. That is why it is always wise to visit your doctor with yellow or green stools that are not related to certain foods. An exception to this are infants who are breastfed. The faeces of these are also greenish-yellow.

Red and black stools

  1. Foods such as red cabbage and beets or food supplements with (a lot of) iron can cause red to black stools. Certain diarrhea inhibitors based on activated charcoal can also produce black stools.

Blood in the stool

  1. Another cause of red-black stools can be the presence of blood. Clear blood often comes from small cuts or hemorrhoids in the last part of the gastrointestinal tract or anus. When blood comes from higher parts of the gastrointestinal tract - and thus is digested - it turns black. It is very difficult to recognize blood in the stool with the naked eye. A laboratory test is often necessary to determine whether the stool contains blood. If you think you are seeing blood, contact your doctor. Also do this if your stool is black and smells strong. Infants are also an exception here: in newborns the first stool (meconium) is also black. [! 191815 => 1130 = 7!] Red stripe

  1. Red line: A red line in the stool can occur if a hemorrhoid is bleeding or a tear in the anus causes a blood vessel to leak during the stool.

White dots

  1. White dots can occur if worms (pinworms) or worm fragments come with the stool. In that case, a worm cure is recommended. These are freely available from chemist's and pharmacy.

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