What Your Stool Color Says about Your Health

What comes out of your body can tell you a lot about what's going on in your body. "Look before you flush!" ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. 

Get the scoop on your poop with this handy chart!



What It May Mean

Possible Dietary Causes


Food may be moving too quickly through the large intestine, likely due to diarrhea. As a result, bile doesn't have time to break down completely.

Green, leafy vegetables, green food coloring, such as in flavored drink mixes or ice pops, iron supplements.

Light-colored, white or clay-colored

A lack of bile in stool. This may indicate a bile duct obstruction.

Certain medications, such as large doses of bismuth subsalicylate and other anti-diarrheal drugs.

Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling

Excess fat in the stool, likely due to a malabsorption disorder, such as celiac disease.

Sometimes the protein gluten, found in breads and cereals. See a doctor for evaluation.


Bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach

Iron supplements, bismuth subsalicylate, black licorice.

Bright red

Bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, such as the large intestine or rectum, often from hemorrhoids.

Red food coloring, beets, cranberries, tomato juice or soup, red gelatin or drink mixes.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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