The color of the stool varies depending on many different factors, most often on the food that has been eaten. It is not rare for the people to have green stools occasionally, but for some persons it may appear strange because green is not the color we usually associate with the stool.
Sometimes the reasons for green feces are quite simple and harmless, however if they persist over an extended period of time and if they are accompanied by other symptoms, it is recommended to consult the family physician.
Here are some of the factors that may cause green stool in adults and babies.
An increased intake of iron supplements, sometimes even any intake of these supplements at all, may cause green stool, especially in young children and babies. This happens because the body can only absorb a certain quantity of iron and it excretes iron salts, which can give the stool a green tinge.
Sometimes after taking a course of medication a green stool may appear, especially in babies. This happens because their digestive system is more sensitive. Infants can have green stools after taking infant Tylenol or similar over the counter medications and it can happen after the administration of antibiotics as well. Since this is a common side effect of some medications, it is not the reason to panic, however if the green feces persist for a longer period after the medication has been completed, a doctor should be consulted.
Green stool can happen after eating foods that are contaminated with bacteria, especially with E. coli. Poison food passes through the system as quickly as any other food so the symptoms of poisoning, which may include fever, nausea, pain and diarrhea (which can be light green or dark green in some cases) usually do not last longer than a day.
Eating green vegetables
Green, especially leafy vegetables contain chlorophyll, which can give the stool a dark green or a light green color. If a person has spinach, broccoli or other green vegetables for dinner and has green stool in the morning or during the next day, the reason for the color is obvious and it is certainly nothing to worry about. Green vegetables are very healthy as they are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins and their consumption should not be stopped just because sometimes they turn the color of the feces into green.
In most cases the reasons for the green stool are not dangerous or harmful for the health. However, any change in the color of the stool may indicate that there is something wrong with the functioning of the digestive system and if those changes persist it is best to see a doctor and find out the underlying cause.