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Dark Green Poo

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

The colour of your poo can tell you a lot about your body, from what it is experiencing (illness) to what you have ingested (from medications to food). You may experience a green tinge or green colour to your poo and surprisingly, although alarming, this is a fairly common complaint.

What are the common reasons for green poo?

One of the reasons you might experience green poo is what you are eating. If you eat lots of green vegetables or fruits for example this can cause your poo to change colour. This can also extend to eating processed food with lots of food dye.

Antibiotics can also change your stool colour, so if you have recently had a bacterial infection and required medication for it, this may be another cause for it.

Other medications like iron tablets and the contraceptive injection can sometimes be known to cause green poo, as a side effect.

Are there any other causes?

Bacteria causing a stomach bug can give you diarrhoea. When food passes through your gut quickly, there isn't enough time for it to be broken down by bile, and this can lead to a green change in the colour of your poo. This can also happen in conditions such as IBS or inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Green poo can also rarely be a sign of liver or gallbladder issues.

When should I see my doctor?

Green poo on its own is usually not anything to be worried about. However, if the change in colour persists alongside diarrhoea and is not improving, or you have other associated symptoms such as abdominal pain or weight loss then you should contact your doctor for further advice.

What will my doctor do?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, how long they have been present, and any other associated symptoms. They will also ask you about your medical history and any relevant family medical history. They will then examine you and if necessary send you for further investigations such as blood tests or imaging (X-ray, ultrasound).

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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