Green bowel movements are caused due to excessive consumption of leafy greens and artificially colored food. There are several other factors that also result in this condition.
Bowel movements are indicators of one’s overall health condition. An unusual bowel movement implies that there is something wrong somewhere in the digestive tract. Generally, the color of a bowel movement in a healthy person will range in the color of yellowish brown to brown. However, when the bowel movement is green, there definitely is a problem. Relax, let’s not panic! Green bowel movement doesn’t imply your life is under threat and is not a dangerous condition. So calm down! Let’s find out what causes it, and then look at the ways to help prevent it.
Consumption of Greens
A green bowel movement is usually the reaction to a certain constituent in the diet. Sounds bizarre, isn’t it? However, it’s true! Consuming large number of leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc., may conduce to green bowel movements. The high chlorophyll content in the vegetables causes the greenish color. What goes in, comes out! So, how do you expect the bowel movement to not be green after ingesting all those bundles of leaves?
Food Coloring and Additives
Besides the consumption of greens, the other causes of the same are consumption of foods and beverages with green food coloring like sherbet, ice creams, etc.
Consumption of Iron Supplements
Consumption of iron supplements can also result in green bowel movements, although it appears in the form of black tarry stools in many people. In children, it is seen due to the milk formula given to them which is rich in iron content. The excess iron not processed by the body leaves the body in the bowel movement, imparting a green color.
Excessive use of laxatives also results in green bowels. This is because the laxative causes the bowels movements to take place very quickly, thereby causing the bowel to end up with discolored wastes.
Food poisoning is another reason for green bowel movements. Failure of the body to absorb certain components can result in its excretion, thereby imparting green color to the stool.
Green bowel movements can also be caused by some other conditions such as:
- Infectious diarrhea (Giardia or salmonella)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
- Overgrowth of harmful intestinal bacteria
- Crohn’s disease
One need not panic when one observes the symptoms. A change in diet can help reduce the green color. Refraining from artificially colored foods and reducing the amount of iron intake will also help. However, if you experience abdominal pain or discomfort, general malaise, weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, fever, etc., along with green bowel movements, then, there is the need to visit the health care provider. It is better to get the condition checked medically and confirmed that it’s not being caused by some serious illness. Moreover, if you are on some antibiotic treatments and you have green bowel movements, then you should inform your medical practitioner of the same.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.