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Stool Color Chart

Waste products of digestion are excreted by man as stool. The food we ingest is normally broken down to smaller pieces in the digestive tract by a series of contractions that propel the food into the lower gastrointestinal tract. During this process substances like gastric juice, pancreatic juice, bile and enzymes are added to the mixture to aid in digestion until nutrients and water can be extracted and absorbed into the blood stream. Particles that cannot be absorbed such as fiber and other waste materials are left in the large intestine (colon) until they can finally be excreted.
Different people have various conditions that may influence how the final waste product appears, including his state of hydration, the nutrients ingested and the presence of any disease that can affect how food and other substances are excreted. This stool color chart will help you understand why we should care about the color of our stool.
Table 1: Stool Color Chart
Light to medium brown
Normal stool

Very light brown
Fatty stool
Too much fat in the diet; too little fiber intake; Liver problem; malabsorption
Constipation or diarrhea
Improve your diet; liver and colon cleanse

Black
Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding; dietary changes
Gastric or duodenal ulcers; bleeding esophageal varices; other types of bleeding in GI tract; increased iron intake; eating dark colored foods; too much alcohol intake; certain medications
Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, dizziness
Stop taking too much alcohol; reduce iron intake; avoid medications that can cause gastric irritation; consult a doctor to rule out upper GI bleeding

Dark red or maroon
Lower GI bleeding
Intestinal parasites or infection, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), GI tumors, polyps, ulcers, or esophageal variances; eating red colored foods; too much alcohol; certain medications
Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, dizziness
Stop taking too much alcohol;avoid medications that can cause gastric irritation; treat infections or parasite infestation; consult a doctor to rule out lower GI bleeding

Bright Red
Lower GI bleeding
Hemorrhoids, polyps, anal fissures, colorectal cancer
Constipation, pain during defecation
Take more fiber and fluids; colon cleansing; consult a doctor to rule out bleeding from cancer

Orange
Fast transit time of stools, with insufficient exposure to bile
Bile salt production low; bile flow obstruction; liver or gall bladder disease; eating orange-colored foods or medicines
Abdominal discomfort or pain possible; bloating; diarrhea
Liver cleanse; increase fiber intake; consult a doctor to rule out liver or gall bladder disease

Dark green
Fast transit time of stools, with insufficient exposure to bile
Bile salt production low; bile flow obstruction; liver or gall bladder disease; ulcerative colitis; IBS; eating green-colored foods or medicines
Abdominal discomfort or pain possible; bloating; diarrhea
Liver cleanse; increase fiber intake; consult a doctor to rule out liver, gall bladder or colonic disease

Yellow
Malabsorption; fatty stool
Malabsorption of fat, parasitic infection, pancreatic cancer, Gilbert's Syndrome; eating too much yellow foods
Abdominal discomfort or pain; diarrhea; bloating
Take more fiber and fluids; colon cleansing; consult a doctor to rule out pancreatic or liver disease

Gray or Clay
Malabsorption; insufficient exposure to bile
Bile salt production low; bile flow obstruction; liver or gall bladder disease
Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes); loss of appetite; weakness
Liver cleanse; supportive nutrition and supplements;consult a doctor for definitive treatment

Diagnosis of Stool Color Changes
A normal stool is usually light to dark brown. However, slight variations in this color may occasionally be noted and these do not necessarily mean that the individual is ill. Sometimes, dietary changes, like eating too much colored foods, or intake of certain substances like alcohol or medicines that are very irritating to the gastrointestinal tract can affect the color of the stools.  Sometimes, stress can cause constipation or diarrhea, which can also influence the appearance of one's stools.

To determine if stool color changes are due to temporary changes in the diet or lifestyle or if they are caused by some health problem, one must consult a doctor especially if these changes are accompanied by other symptoms like abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, loss of weight, diarrhea and other unusual problems.

During medical consultation the physician will obtain a thorough medical history of your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. Laboratory examinations may include:

  • Blood tests - complete blood count, blood chemistry tests, blood tests for coagulation, liver enzyme tests, pancreatic enzyme tests
  • Stool examination for parasites
  • Stool examination for occult blood, which can screen for lower gastrointestinal bleeding due to cancer and other diseases
  • Immunological test to detect blood in the stool
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy procedure to examine for bleeding from the esophagus and stomach; endoscopic procedures involve the use of small instruments with a camera which are inserted to visualize the inside of hollow organs.
  • Colonoscopy, an endoscopic procedure to examine for tumors or bleeding from the lower GI tract
  • Tissue biopsies may be taken during the endoscopic procedures for final diagnosis
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography involves the use of an injected dye to examine for obstructions in the flow of bile in the ducts
  • Other imaging techniques to examine for tumors or other changes in the gastrointestinal tract include CT scan, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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Quick travel time of stools, with inadequate presentation to bile, Bile salt creation low, bile stream impediment, liver or annoy bladder infection, eating orange-shaded nourishments or meds. Stomach distress or agony conceivable, bloating, looseness of the bowels Liver purify, increment fiber consumption, counsel a specialist to preclude liver or rankle bladder infection
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