Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Diseases / Overview of Green Stool: Meaning, symptoms, causes & treatment

Overview of Green Stool: Meaning, symptoms, causes & treatment

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

While it's not uncommon to pass Green Stool (GS) from time to time, it's essential to understand what causes it and when it may be a sign of a more serious issue. Usually, it can be noticed after consuming an excessive amount of green leafy vegetables, drinking coffee, or eating spicy meals. In this article, we'll explore the various factors that can contribute to GS, including diet, medication, underlying health conditions, and when to seek medical attention.




What does Green Stool mean?

Green Stool is a mostly harmless symptom that can occur as a result of the following.

  • Consuming iron supplements

  • Eating certain iron-rich foods, leafy green vegetables, or items containing green food colour. 

  • Intestinal disorders that disrupt digestion, such as Salmonella infection. 

As food moves through the digestive tract, a yellow-green fluid known as bile helps with digestion and changes colour, resulting in light to dark brown stool. When an infection, such as Salmonella, causes diarrhoea, food and stools move quickly through the digestive tract before turning brown. As a result, you may experience GS.

GS can also indicate an underlying medical condition such as an intestinal infection, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn's disease. However, these disorders are frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive gas, stomach swelling, fever, or loss of appetite. If you have GS for more than two days, or if you have additional symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, or vomiting, you should see your doctor for an evaluation and treatment as recommended.

Possible causes of Green Stools

There are many possible reasons that may lead to Green Stool.

1. Consuming too many dark green vegetables 

Broccoli, cabbage, chard, rocket, and spinach are high in fibre, which promotes digestive flow. They could be beneficial for both constipation and diarrhoea. However, when eaten in excess, they might cause soft or watery stools, resulting in diarrhoea. The green colour of the stool is caused by high concentrations of chlorophyll, a pigment found in green vegetables.

2. Bile pigment

Bile is a fluid produced by the liver and retained in the gallbladder. This fluid is greenish-yellow in colour. Bile helps your body break down more fat from the food you consume. This allows for more fat absorption in the small intestine.

However, the bile must be broken down by your body before it can be eliminated as waste. But when you have diarrhoea or other digestive disorders, bile cannot be broken down quickly enough. As a result, your stool may have a green tint due to the natural green colour of bile salts in your body.

3. Antibiotics

Antibiotics, such as cephalosporins and penicillins, can kill off large parts of your gut’s normal bacteria. This can interfere with water and nutrient absorption, resulting in a softer or watery stool. Bile digestion is also carried out by good bacteria in the intestines. When these bacteria fail to utilise bile properly, it remains green, resulting in GS.

4. Excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, or spicy food

Excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, or spicy foods may accelerate digestion and have a laxative effect. As a result, you'll have more liquid stools and diarrhoea. Because of the rapid flow, bile does not have enough time to turn brown, resulting in a GS.

5. Iron supplements

Using oral iron supplements to treat anaemia may change the colour of the stool and make it darker. This indicates that the body is absorbing iron appropriately. However, if iron supplements are not entirely absorbed in the intestine, you may get dark green or black stool as a side effect.

6. Parasites, viruses, and bacteria

Green, loose stool can also be caused by Salmonella sp. bacteria in the intestine. Salmonella sp. infections are typically caused by infected food, and symptoms include GS, vomiting, nausea, abdominal discomfort, fever, bloody stools, headache, and muscle aches.

Giardiasis is another infection caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which spreads through polluted water. Additional signs that may accompany liquid GS include gas, stomach pain or inflammation, fever, vomiting, nausea, reduced appetite, and dehydration.

7. Irritable bowel or Crohn’s disease 

GS can occur in individuals with intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis. This is attributed to inadequate fat digestion and irritation of the intestinal mucosa. These illnesses are distinguished by symptoms such as stomach pain or excessive gas. GS may also occur in patients who have had their gallbladders removed. 

When to see a doctor in case of Green Stool?

In certain cases, GS accompanied by severe diarrhoea or other symptoms, may indicate a serious illness that requires immediate treatment.

If you have any of the following symptoms, get emergency medical attention.

  • Foamy or foul-smelling stools

  • Diarrhoea that does not go away even after a few days

  • Dizziness is a variation in the degree of consciousness, such as passing out or being unresponsive

  • High fever

  • Severe rectal bleeding 

  • Difficulty making urine

  • A quick heartbeat or fast breathing

  • Breathing difficulties, wheezing 

  • A hard, board-like abdomen

  • Severe stomach discomfort

  • Severe diarrhoea and fatigue

GS can be healthy depending on the situation, but they can also indicate significant intestinal infections or other disorders. If you detect a persistent colour change in your stool, consult your doctor. You must adhere to the treatment plan that your doctor has designed specifically for you. This can help reduce any possible complications, including the following.

Diagnosing the cause of Green Stool

Your doctor may go through your medical history or physical examination to understand the cause of your GS. They may also perform the following tests to determine if there is any underlying condition.

  • Stool samples are examined to know  any specific abnormalities

  • Blood tests for allergies or other conditions, such as celiac disease

  • CT scans, MRI scans, and colonoscopies to determine the exact cause

  • Cultures of stools

  • Eating a meal laced with barium, which gets coated on the organs and makes them visible on an X-ray

  • Enema with barium

  • Endoscopy with ultrasound, which allows your doctor to inspect the oesophagus and stomach

Treatment for Green Stool

Following are the treatment options recommended for Green Stool.

  • Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor for bacterial illnesses.

  • Medication is sometimes used to treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Your doctor may prescribe diarrhoea-reducing medications such as loperamide if you suffer from IBS with diarrhoea. 

  • A gluten-free diet is advised for celiac disease. 

  • IBS therapies involve dietary adjustments as well as stress-relief techniques.

  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, like other digestive illnesses, often require modifications to the diet. In most cases, Crohn's disease patients require surgery to relieve their symptoms.

Also read: cashless family health insurance policy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of FAQs associated with Green Stool


What is the most effective treatment for Green Stools?

Treatment options recommended for GS may include antibiotics for bacterial illness, loperamide to treat diarrhoea-induced IBS, antidepressants or antispasmodics for both constipation-dominant and diarrhoea-dominant IBS, gluten-free for celiac disease, stress relief techniques to ease symptoms of IBS, and surgery in some cases, such as Crohn’s disease.

What does Green Stool indicate?

GS may indicate a bacterial infection such as Salmonella or E. coli, a viral infection (norovirus), or a parasite (Giardia), which may cause a rapid movement of unabsorbed bile.

What can I consume to manage Green Stool?

Taking plenty of fluid, electrolytes, and probiotics may help alleviate the condition.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


Want to post any comments?


Protect your health with our comprehensive disease 🦠 coverage

✅ 100% Room Rent Covered* ✅ Zero deductions at claims ✅ 7100+ Cashless Hospitals

quote icon

Check health insurance

quote icon