By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Dark green stool
The color of stools are an indication whether you are suffering from an underlying disease. They may also be a result of something you recently ate.
Stools can turn dark green in color due to a number of reasons, including diet, medications or some health issues.
Usually, artificial colors result in bright green color stools, whereas the stool color after ingestion of naturally green foods is usually darker in color.
The color of the stools may remain dark green for four to five days after the ingestion of above mentioned foods and is nothing to worry about, as long as there are no other associated symptoms.
Certain medications and supplements can give green color to the stools.
Again, this is not of a matter of serious concern.
If you are concerned, talk to your doctor about changing the brand of medication or supplement. You may also avoid eating foods that contain artificial flavors or fructose.
Other associated symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue and at times fever. Consult your health care provider if you suspect the symptoms of infection or food poisoning.
Bile is an important part in the process of digestion. While it is true that it gives a green color to stools, intestinal bacteria and enzymes that should be present in colon turn it brown.
However, any condition that decreases the transit time of stool through the bowel may not give intestinal bacteria enough time to do their work. This can lead to green stools.
The conditions that may affect the bowel transit time include:
All these health conditions are chronic in nature and require an adjustment in diet and lifestyle, and should be monitored by a doctor.
It is possible to have dark green stools and yet struggle with constipation.
If this is the case, increasing daily fiber intake from vegetables, fruits, whole grain products and products containing bran is usually a first step to constipation relief.
If you are like some people and extra fiber seems to increase constipation problems, you may want to consider taking a daily magnesium supplement.
Magnesium is a natural osmotic laxative that draws extra water into the colon, helping to hydrate stools. A moist stool is soft, slick and generally easy to pass.
Since most of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diet, taking a daily magnesium supplement may result in numerous health benefits.
As we have discussed above, it is important to be in tune not only to what is going on in your body, but also with what comes out. Your bowel movements can be barometer of overall health.
Paying attention to minor details such as the color of your stool can help in identifying an illness at an early stage.