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Once you receive your consultation voucher (included in your package), call 1-800-492-4984 or email customercare@puristat.com to schedule your appointment.


Understanding Bowel Movement Stool Color

Did You Know? You can see the early warning signs of many digestive diseases including colon cancer, parasitic infection, Crohn's disease, & IBS simply by looking at your stool color before you flush?

When it comes to wellness (including digestive wellness), perhaps no other doctor comes to mind as quickly as Dr. Mehmet Oz. Regarding the important topic of bowel movement color including blood in the stool, he was recently quoted as saying:

"C'mon, you've done it before! You should look twice - look at the shape and then, the color." ~ Dr. Oz

While most people don't examine their stool after having a bowel movement, it may be one of the most important things that you can do for your digestive health. The color of your stool can tell you all sorts of things about the health of your digestive system, ranging from what you ate the previous night to having dangerous bleeding in your colon. Before we take a look at all the different colors in our chart below, be sure to...

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We've included the reference chart below. Print it and keep it handy in the event you need a better understanding of your stool color.


Stool Color Name Stool Sample Color What It Could Mean Possible Health Causes Possible Dietary Causes Solutions And Suggestions

Black

 
Melena, Blood in stool (usually from upper GI tract)
Esophageal Variances, Mallory-Weiss tear, Bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer, Gastritis, Trauma, Bowel ischemia, Vascular malformation
Black licorice, iron, lead, bismuth medicines (Pepto-Bismol), blueberries • Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use

Tarry

 

Blood in stool which has been exposed to digestion

 

Esophageal Variances, Mallory-Weiss tear, Bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer, Gastritis, Trauma, Bowel ischemia, Vascular malformation
Black licorice, iron, lead, bismuth medicines (Pepto-Bismol), blueberries, exposed to digestive juices • Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Maroon
 
Hematochezi, Blood in stool (usually from lower GI tract)
Diverticulitis, Vascular malformation, Intestinal Infection (including parasites), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Tumors, Polyps, Colon Cancer, Ulcers, Gastritis, Esophageal Variances
Red colored gelatin, popsicles, Kool-Aid, tomato juice, soup, beets. • Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Red
 
Blood in stool from very late in GI tract
Red colored gelatin, popsicles, Kool-Aid, tomato juice, soup, beets. • Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Orange
Transit time of stool is too fast, not sufficiently exposed to bile during digestion.
Low bile salt production, Consumption of medications containing beta-carotene or aluminum hydroxide, obstructed or diseased liver
Carrots, Sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, thyme, artificial orange food coloring • Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Yellow
Possible malfunction of digestive system
Carrots, Sweet potatoes, artificial yellow food coloring • Digestive Enzymes
• Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Green
Transit time of stool is too fast, not sufficiently exposured to bile during digestion
Green leafy vegetables, dark purple/green food coloring, foods containing chlorophyll • Digestive Enzymes
• Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Clay
Stool is not being properly exposed to bile during digestion.
High amounts of fatty foods • Digestive Enzymes
• Cleanse your liver & colon
• Digestive Health Nutrients
• 25-30 grams of fiber/day
• Reduce aspirin/Ibuprofen
• Reduce alcohol use
Puristat Stool Color Chart - Copyright 2014 Puristat, Inc.

Black, Maroon and Tarry Bowel Movement Stool Color

Black, tarry and foul-smelling stools may be referred to as "Melena" by your doctor. The color may be because of blood in the stool, which indicates an injury or disorder somewhere in your digestive tract.

If the amount of blood is enough to change the appearance of your stool, your doctor may ask the exact color. This will determine the origin point of the blood. Black bowel movements generally mean the blood is coming from the upper section of the GI Tract. That means the esophagus, stomach or first section of the small intestine. The tar-like consistency in the stool means the blood has been exposed to digestive juices.

Stomach ulcers caused by ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin are also common causes of upper GI bleeding. Other causes may include:

  • Esophageal variances (e.g. heavy consumption of alcohol for long periods)
  • Mallory-Weiss tear (a tear in the esophagus from violent vomiting)
  • Bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer
  • Gastritis
  • Trauma or foreign body
  • Bowel ischemia (a lack of proper blood flow to the intestines)
  • Vascular malformation

Certain foods and medicines can also contribute to a black or tarry-stool color. Black licorice, iron, lead, bismuth medicines (Pepto-Bismol) and blueberries can contribute to black stool color.



Prevention and Treatment of Bloody Bowel Movements

Here are some do's and don'ts to help prevent the causes of all types of blood in your stool:

  • Increase your daily fiber intake to 25-30 grams a day. This can help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulosis, IBS and even colon cancer.
  • Cleanse your colon and liver with our Colon and Liver Cleanse
  • Take a Digestive Health Multivitamin
  • Avoid excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs for long periods of time. (e.g., aspirin, Ibuprofen) They irritate the stomach and cause ulcers.
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol. It irritates the lining of the stomach and esophagus.
  • Quit smoking. Peptic ulcers and cancer of the GI tract are linked to smoking.
  • Reduce stress. It's been linked to peptic-ulcer disease.
  • Practice prevention. Support your liver, cleanse your colon and take a good multivitamin every day.

Red or Maroon Colored Bowel Movement

Red or maroon colored stools can also mean the presence of blood in your stools; in the medical field this condition is called hematochezi. The difference between this color and the black or tarry color is the location of the bleeding. A red or maroon colored stool usually indicates a fresher blood and therefore lower GI bleeding.

Maroon colored stools may indicate bleeding from:

  • Diverticulitis
  • Vascular malformation
  • Intestinal infection
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Tumor
  • Polyps
  • Colon Cancer
  • Bleeding Ulcer
  • Gastritis
  • Esophageal variances (e.g. heavy consumption of alcohol for long periods)
  • A tear in the esophagus

Bright red colored stools may indicate bleeding from:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal Fissures
  • All the causes of dark red and black stools

Not all red colored stools are caused by bleeding, as some foods can have the same effect. If you've recently consumed red-colored gelatin, popsicles, Kool-Aid, tomato juice, soup and/or beets, you may experience reddish stools.


Orange Bowel Movement

If your stool shows orange coloring, it can usually be attributed to foods or medications that you may be taking. Certain medications with beta-carotene (such as a form of vitamin A) can cause orange coloring of your stool. Antacids which contain aluminum hydroxide can also cause orange stool.

Foods that are high in beta-carotene can have the same orange effect on your stool. These include; carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. Lastly any foods that have yellow or orange artificial colorings can also cause orange colored stool.

If you can't attribute your orange stool with anything you ingested, then it may be caused by a lack of exposure to bile salt. Stool starts out as green, and then turns to a yellow-orange in color before being exposed to bile and bacteria which turns the stool brown.

Low exposure to bile salt can be caused by a couple different factors. First, your transit time is so fast that your stool is being pushed through your digestive system too quickly. This quick movement of stool reduces the exposure to bile salt resulting in orange stool.

Second, your liver may not be producing enough bile salt or your bile glands may be obstructed. If it's the latter, you may want to consider liver cleansing or liver support supplementation.


Yellow Bowel Movement Color Is Rare

A pale or yellow colored stool is rare and can be caused by a few different malfunctions of the digestive system.

The first is known as Gilbert's Syndrome, which mainly affects males in their teens. If you suffer from this ailment, it means your liver doesn't process enough red blood cells. Broken down, red blood cells give stool much of its color. When fewer cells are processed, the stool can appear a pale brown or yellow in color.

A more serious problem is yellow stool resulting from malabsorption. When your body doesn't properly absorb fats from the food you eat, the excess fat passes through your colon and into your stool, giving your stool a yellowish hue.

A parasite infection known as giardia, in which protozoans invade the intestines, results in diarrhea that is yellow in color.

Lastly, in some instances, a change in stool color to yellow can be an indication of pancreatic cancer, so it’s a good idea to go for testing.

Green Bowel Movement

Like an orange stool, a green stool can usually be attributed to something you have ingested.

The most obvious is green foods that you have eaten, such as green leafy vegetables, or foods with a lot of dark purple or green food coloring like Kool-Aid or gelatin. It can also be caused by vitamins that contain chlorophyll. These may not appear green, but the chlorophyll in them will turn stool a green color.

Food and medicine are not the only reasons for green stool; again a fast transit time can cause a stool to turn green. If your stool is passing too rapidly through your intestines, it does not allow bile to break it down. Before being broken down by bile, stool is green. It is the bile that actually turns stools brown in color.


Clay Colored Bowel Movement

A stool that appears clay in color is often seen in cases of mal-absorption, hepatitis, or gallbladder disorders.

Hepatitis and gallbladder disorders often interrupt the flow of bile out of the liver. This disruption will cause the clay color of the stool. Mal-absorption also disrupts the output of bile by increasing the amount of undigested fat in the stool. Bile is responsible for breaking down stool and making it brown in color. When the production is lowered the stool can appear clay in color.



Prevention and Treatment of Bloody Bowel Movements

Here are some do's and don'ts to help prevent the causes of all types of blood in your stool:

  • Increase your daily fiber intake to 25-30 grams a day. This can help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulosis, IBS and even colon cancer.
  • Cleanse your colon and liver with our Colon and Liver Cleanse
  • Take a Digestive Health Multivitamin
  • Avoid excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs for long periods of time. (e.g., aspirin, Ibuprofen) They irritate the stomach and cause ulcers.
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol. It irritates the lining of the stomach and esophagus.
  • Quit smoking. Peptic ulcers and cancer of the GI tract are linked to smoking.
  • Reduce stress. It's been linked to peptic-ulcer disease.
  • Practice prevention. Support your liver, cleanse your colon and take a good multivitamin every day.

Never Hesitate

Never hesitate to call your health care practitioner if you find blood in your stool. A proper diagnosis should be made as quickly as possible, even if you think its just hemorrhoids or anal fissures.

In children a small amount of blood in the stool usually is linked to constipation, milk and dairy allergies. However, it is still a reason to call your child's doctor, even if he or she does not recommend a full diagnosis at the time.

The earlier colon cancer is detected, the greater the likelihood of successful treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends the following tests for adults over fifty for early and pre-cancer screening tests.

  • Fecal occult blood testing every year.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy or barium enema every five years.
  • Colonoscopy every ten years.

If you have a family history of colon cancer, screening should be started earlier and done more often. Be sure to discuss family history with your doctor.



Summary

Paying attention to how and what you eliminate will not only improve your quality of life, but it could also save your life. Your digestive habits will tell you how efficiently your body is working and how well you feel, and it's your job to listen.

Consider supporting your body with a prevention approach as recommended on this site. Supporting your liver and colon with cleansings can benefit you a great deal. Supplement with a good multivitamin every day and be sure to also intake the proper amount of fiber.

As always, pay attention to your stool color and consult your doctor if you have ongoing concerns.



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