The Changing Colour Of Poo

Learn signs and symptoms of healthy and unhealthy poo with our easy to use colour chart.

Learn signs and symptoms of healthy and unhealthy poo with our easy to use colour chart.


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Fact Sheet For<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Changing</strong><br />

<strong>Colour</strong> of <strong>Poo</strong><br />

Have you noticed your poo colour will vary<br />

at different times? <strong>Poo</strong> also known as stool,<br />

faeces, or poop, consists of waste products<br />

that need to be eliminated from the body and<br />

it can vary in colour, texture, volume, and smell<br />

from person to person. It is the presence of<br />

bile in the stool that gives it the characteristic<br />

brown colour.<br />

Any shade of brown ranging from<br />

light to very dark brown is considered<br />

normal. Certain foods will temporarily<br />

change the colour of your poo, and<br />

once they are digested your poo will<br />

return to a brown colour. If colour<br />

changes occur only irregularly, they are<br />

less of a concern than those that are<br />

persistent. Please contact your doctor<br />

if colour changes are persistent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> colour of your stool can be a helpful indicator about what’s going<br />

on inside your body.<br />

Black<br />

If it’s not sticky in texture and has no odour, the black colour<br />

can be caused by the ingestion of substances such as<br />

iron supplements, black liquorice, and bismuth-containing<br />

medications. Black poo that is sticky, tar-like and foul smelling<br />

may be an indicator of gastrointestinal bleeding.<br />

Red or Maroon<br />

Vegetables with deep colours such as beetroot, cranberries, or<br />

red and purple food dyes can turn poo red or maroon or may<br />

indicate gastrointestinal bleeding. Small amounts of blood in the<br />

stool may indicate haemorrhoids.<br />

White<br />

If it’s white, grey or clay-coloured, the poo contains little or no<br />

bile which may indicate a problem with the liver or gallbladder.<br />

<strong>The</strong> colour change usually occurs gradually, as these medical<br />

conditions progress relatively slowly, and the stool becomes pale<br />

over time.

Yellow<br />

If it’s yellow, greasy, and foul smelling, it may suggest the<br />

presence of undigested fat in the poo and problems with<br />

the pancreas causing a reduction in the delivery of digestive<br />

enzymes to the intestines. Ingestion of very high-fat foods can<br />

cause yellow, soft, and foul-smelling poo. Weight loss medications<br />

can also lead to bulky, yellow, and greasy stools.<br />

Orange<br />

<strong>The</strong> large consumption of orange coloured foods that are rich<br />

in beta-carotene such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin<br />

can create orange coloured stools. It may also be an indication<br />

of blocked bile ducts or certain medications including some<br />

antacids.<br />

Green<br />

Eating excessive amounts of green foods, foods with green or<br />

purple dyes, and vegetables can cause poo colour to turn more<br />

green than normal. When a poo passes through the intestines<br />

rapidly (diarrhoea), it can appear green due to the rapid transit.<br />

What to look out for<br />

<strong>Of</strong>ten your body will experience various symptoms,<br />

letting you know it’s time to contact your doctor:<br />

• Persistent change in the<br />

colour of the poo<br />

• Greasy fatty stools<br />

• Pain when passing a stool<br />

• Diarrhoea<br />

• Bleeding when passing<br />

a stool<br />

• Excessive straining when<br />

passing a stool<br />

References:<br />

• https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320938#normal-poop<br />

• https://www.emedicinehealth.com/stool_color_changes/article_em.htm#what_is_the_prognosis_for_a_person_with_stool_color_changes<br />

Independence Australia specialises in bowel care related products.<br />

Visit store.independenceaustralia.com or call 1300 788 855<br />

© Independence Australia Group 2021. No part of this fact sheet may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission.

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