Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean if my diarrhea is a different color like green or yellow?

Bowel movements are typically brown because they contain bile salts -- substances made in your liver to help with digestion. If your stools are a different color, it could be caused by foods you’ve eaten -- either due to their natural color or the use of food colorings. But it could also be related to health concerns. For example: 

  • Green: Can occur with diarrhea or result from taking iron supplements. Can also be a sign that food and waste are passing through your colon too quickly. 
  • Clay or putty-color: May mean your liver isn’t producing enough bile, or the flow of bile out of your liver is blocked.  
  • Black or tarry stools: This could be a sign of bleeding in the upper part of your digestive system; it’s important to contact a health care provider you experience this. 
  • Red: Can be a sign of bleeding in the lower part of your digestive tract. 

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