As uncomfortable as it may be for a person to discuss their stool and bowel habits in casual conversation, in a general surgeons office is all too common. Just this morning Mrs. Johnson noticed a change in the color of her stool. She wondered whether or not this could be related to how poorly she’d been feeling over the last two weeks. I assured her that it’s true that the color, consistency and shape of your stool can reveal a lot about your health. Any changes that you might notice can be a sign of a serious disease. So, they should never be ignored.
The color still can be very revealing, the normal color stool is a hue of brown. It can vary slightly based on the foods that are being consumed and the frequency of illumination. Change for no obvious reason warning sign of a more serious condition. For example white gray or clay -colored stool may represent a lack of bile. Bils normal pigment is green and as it is converted in the digestive tract it contributes to the brown color of stool.
A sudden color change from brown to white therefore can signify a problem with the liver or gallbladder system whereby was formed. It can represent anything from gallstones to cirrhosis. Green colored stool can be considered a normal variation especially if one has a diet high in green colored foods. Spinach, kale, broccoli, avocados, cucumber and zucchini are rich in chlorophyll makes them green. However if food is not the reason, green colored stool means that food is passing through the digestive tract to quickly, and not enough bile is recovered.
Yellow stool, sometimes color covered in an oily covering, or even noticing drops of oil in the toilet can be assigned of high fat content in the stool. This change in color can represent block bile ducts, or poor digestion of fat. Another reason could be a lack of pancreatic enzymes relatable to chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease. Black stool color can be explained by medicine consumption. Iron supplements, ibuprofen, and aspirin have all been found to cause like stool. Blood digested in the gastrointestinal tract can also contribute to dark-colored stool.
That happened to be the culprit for Ms. Johnson Mrs. Johnson! She had a small bleeding ulcer found on upper endoscopy that required a change in her medications in order to heal. But her attentiveness to the color for stool allowed us to intervene early. She didn’t even require surgery.