Stools are one of the most common indications that something is wrong with the health of an individual. This is especially true in case of children who often suffer from worms, diarrhea, food poisoning and allergies. This is because they tend to put anything and everything they come across like pens, pencils, toys, spoons, pebbles in their mouth. What goes into the mouth will land up in the stomach. Thus, infection causing microbes get a direct entry into the digestive system. From the digestive system they enter the bowels with the waste passed on by the body. Thus, the different stomach contents lead to diagnosis of a stomach ailment based on stool color meanings. Green stools in kids is a common observation made by mothers. Green feces in children are not always a cause of worry, but it is better to be sure than sorry later. Let us understand the various causes of green stools.
Causes of Green Feces in Children
Most of the time, it is due to something they eat. Other times, bile gets mixed into the stools. Some of the causes of green feces in children are explained in the following paragraphs.
It is quite common in newborns and infants. Dark green stools are generally passed by newborn babies. These dark green stools are called meconium which consist of all the matter the fetus consumed in the womb like intestinal epithelial cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, lanugo, bile and water. This meconium is sterile and has no odor. Newborns pass meconium for a few days and then gradually pass yellow-green stools due to digestion of breast milk.
The liver produces bile juice that is bright green in color. It is stored in the gallbladder from where it passes down to the intestinal tract. When it travels down the intestine, the color changes from bright green to brown. During normal digestion, the process takes enough time for the bile to change color. However, when bile reaches the intestine faster than normal time, it gets mixed up with the stools without change in color. This is called 'rapid transit' or 'decrease colonic time'.
Diarrhea is a type of stool that does not remain in the digestive system for the required time to harden. Children suffering from diarrhea often suffer from bright green stools. The reason being rapid transit. Bile does not have enough time to change color.
Light green stools can be result of taking too much of iron in diet. You may need to cut down on the iron tonics or supplements under the advice of doctors or change the child's diet of high iron.
Infants and children can suffer from light green stools due to intake of certain, vitamin supplements, Tylenol and over the counter medications. You need to speak to the doctor about this condition and ask for his advice, especially if your child is on antibiotics.
A child's digestive system is very sensitive to different foods. The most common cause of food poisoning in children is E.coli. This bacterial infection can lead to dark green or light green stools. If the child suffers from abdominal cramps, fever and green stool is visible for three consecutive days, take your child to a doctor.
Green leafy vegetables, ice creams, Popsicle, green colored sweets and candies can lead to this problem.
The artificial preservatives, food colors, food additives, etc. also cause green colored stools. Kids eating green Jell-O, grape-flavored Pedialyte can also suffer from this problem. You need to have a look into your child's diet and think about a change in your child's diet. Children who have a habit of chewing on to crayons, wax colors, etc. also may pass green stools.
Other Complaints that may Accompany Green Stools
When a child passes green stools, s/he may complain of other symptoms. These symptoms may be a sign of health disorder or disease. These symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Change in bowel movement (passing hard or loose stools)
- Gas, flatulence
- Presence of mucus in stools
- Burning sensation in rectum
- Unexpected weight loss
- Foul-smelling stools
There can be different cause of this condition and if you are unsure of what could be causing it, speak to a doctor.