4144 color poop
Colors of Poop in adult: From Brown, Green to Red and Black

Poo is usually brown, why?

There are seven types of poop, according to the Bristol Stool Chart, and they can vary in colour depending on a number of things

The brown colour of poo initially comes from the red of blood. Haemoglobin is the red protein in blood that transports oxygen around the body. It’s eventually broken down into a substance called bilirubin.

In the liver, bilirubin is used to form bile and is released into the small bowel to help digest food. Bile then passes into the colon and the bilirubin is broken down by bacteria.

The final stage in the process is the addition of a substance called stercobilin, which gives poo its brown colour.

A healthy poo should be a medium brown, but that doesn't mean it won't sometimes be another colour.

Green poo in adults

Stool colour is very heavily influenced by the substances in the gut that digest food and what you eat.

Green stools contain significantly more bile acids than brown stools. If food is moving through the bowel very quickly – if you have diarrhoea, for instance – there isn’t enough time for the green bile to break down completely, giving stools a green colour.

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce contain large amounts of chlorophyll (green pigment) bound to magnesium. This can lead to stools turning green.

Some green food dyes such as natural green 3 contain chlorophyll (green pigment) bound to copper which can turn stools a dark green.

Green stools can fall within the normal color range for bowel movements. While ongoing stool discoloration or the presence of other symptoms may signal something that requires medical treatment, in most cases, having the occasional greenish poop is nothing to worry about. If your green poop was caused by something you ate, your stools should return to their normal color within a day or two.

The colour can be caused by bile in the poo.This is usually nothing to worry about as it is often caused by a diet high in green vegetables, but if you have unusual symptoms with it speak to your GP.

Bile is a brownish-green liquid created by the liver that helps aid digestion, but it can sometimes turn your poo a little to the green side.

Why Dark/black poo?

This can be a sign of something quite serious - internal bleeding.

A black stool indicates bleeding from somewhere within the digestive tract so if someone presents with that you would really want to investigate both the bowel and the stomach.

Black poo is a red flag sign for bowel cancer, as well as bright red blood in the poo, so don't hesitate to speak to a doctor.

Why Red poo?

Red poo can also be caused by blood in the poo.

As well as bowel cancer this can indicate another condition called haemorrhoids, or piles.

These are swellings of blood vessels found inside your bottom.

They normally don't cause any pain or discomfort but can cause bleeding, itching and swelling.

If the symptoms persist you should speak to a doctor.

What is normal poop?

Healthy poop can be as varied and as unique as the individuals who make it. But there are a few general rules to follow if you want to assess your poo artistry for optimum health.


The poop emoji has one thing right — the brown coloring. Bilirubin, which is a pigment compound formed from the breakdown of red blood cells in the body, gets the credit for this oh-so-lovely shade of brown.


A somewhat loglike shape is how most poop should come out due to its formation within the intestines. However, as we’ll get to later, there are a variation of shapes that poop can have.

And when they differentiate from the log/sausage shape, that’s when your poop is trying to tell you something’s up.


Poops shouldn’t come out in small pellets (something else we’ll get to later) but instead should be a couple inches in length, comfortable and easy to pass.


Anywhere between a firm and soft consistency is pretty much normal. If it sways one way or another, it could suggest some digestion or fiber issues.

Length of time (how long it takes)

A commonly heard joke is that when someone takes too long in the bathroom, it must mean they’re pooping. A healthy poop, however, should be easy to pass and take only a minute to push out.

That said, some people do spend a bit more time on the toilet, so as a general rule, a poop should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

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