What Does Green Poop Mean?

8 Possible Causes

Green poop can mean that you've been eating green foods or green, blue, or purple food coloring. It can also be caused by an illness that causes diarrhea or loose stools.

Stool tends to be brown. But a green poop color change is common and in the normal healthy stool color range. That said, you should see your doctor if the green poop (or another stool color change) is ongoing, or if you have other symptoms, like fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or pain.

This article discusses eight possible causes of green poop (whether it is dark, bright, light green, or floating). It also covers reasons for green poop in pregnant women and infants, and when to see a doctor.

causes of green poop include various foods, food poisoning, and some health conditions
Verywell / Joshua Seong

Green Foods

Your poop can be green after eating meals with green vegetables, such as:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Bok choy
  • Arugula
  • Watercress
  • Green beans
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers

Green fruits like these can also cause green poop:

  • Avocados
  • Green apples
  • Green olives
  • Kiwi
  • Green grapes

Green poop after eating these foods doesn't mean there’s something wrong. Dark green, leafy vegetables and green fruits are rich in chlorophyll—the pigment that gives plants their color. Any of these plant foods can cause green poop if you eat enough of them.

Nuts like pistachios, seeds like hemp seeds, and herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro are also rich in chlorophyll. Matcha, a type of powdered green tea, can also make stools a bright green hue.

A small serving may not be enough to give you green poop. Green poop is more likely if you’re eating large servings, like those found in smoothies, juices, pureed soups, large salads, or guacamole.

Some foods contain green (or blue and yellow) food coloring that may turn your poop green. These dyes are sometimes used in canned green peas, green beer, breakfast cereal, candy, jarred pickles, salad dressing, drinks, icing, and sweets. You'll also see these dyes in holiday food.

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This video has been medically reviewed by Chris Vincent, MD.

Blue and Purple Foods

Deep blue or purple foods can sometimes lead to green poop. This includes blueberries, grapes, and red wine.

Purple (or red and blue) food coloring can also cause dark or bright green poop. These dyes are in:

  • Drink mixes
  • Grape Kool-Aid and soda
  • Frozen ice pops
  • Cake icing
  • Blue juices
  • Packaged fruit snacks
  • Licorice
  • Grape-flavored Pedialyte

Food dye colors are often used during Kwanzaa, Easter, Eid Al-Fitr, Saint Patrick's day, and Halloween.

Recap

Eating large amount of green fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, or herbs can give you green poop. You might also have green poop after eating deep blue or purple foods. Foods that have green, blue, purple (or red and blue) food dyes can do it too.

Coffee, Spicy Foods, and Alcohol

As bile moves through the small intestine to the large intestine, it changes color from green to yellow to brown. This is due to how bacteria in the large intestine acts on bile salts.

Coffee, alcohol, jalapeños, and chili pepper can make you have to poop more quickly. These foods cause a laxative effect that makes food rush through your intestines too fast for it to change from green to brown.

Vitamins, Supplements, and Drugs

Taking iron supplements can change the color of your poop to dark green (or black). Other vitamins, supplements, and teas that can cause green poop include:

  • Senna, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, and fiber supplements
  • Supplements that contain chlorophyll, like wheatgrass, spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, and blue-green algae
  • Yerba mate tea
  • Medication that can cause diarrhea as a side effect, like metformin, Lexapro (escitalopram), Nyquil, Zoloft (sertraline), or antibiotics like ciprofloxacin

Special Diets

Eating lots of green veggies and fruits can make you have green poop. Juicing or juice cleanses will also up your chlorophyll intake and make green poop more likely.

If you are doing a colon cleanse, you might have green stools too. That's because a colon cleanse causes food to rush through your intestines.

A high-fat diet like the keto diet may give your poop a bright green hue. With a high-fat diet, your body makes more bile to digest these fats. So, your stool may come out with more green bile.

Recap

Doing a colon cleanse or consuming anything that has a laxative effect, such as coffee, fiber supplements, or spicy foods, can make your poop green. These items cause stool to rush through your intestines too quickly for your intestinal bacteria to turn the stool its usual brown color.

Green Poop In Pregnancy

Green poop can occur during pregnancy. Some women get it in the earliest weeks of their pregnancy. In many cases it happens before they even know they are pregnant. Other women get it because they take iron supplements or prenatal vitamins, which have more iron than the typical multivitamin.

Green stool can also happen during the third trimester. Some women get loose green stools in late pregnancy when food often moves through the intestines fast.

Babies, Toddlers, and Older Kids

An infant's first poops tend to be green to black in color. This is known as "meconium." It usually stops after they are three days old.

Dark green (or green-black) poop in babies may be caused by iron supplements and iron-enriched foods, like baby formula. If your baby’s poop looks black or dark, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor or pediatrician.

If a breastfed baby has green poop, it could be something in the mother’s diet, like green veggies or food made with green or purple food coloring. In some cases, it could be that the mother or baby is sensitive or allergic to something in their diet.

Green poop in breastfed babies (particularly "EBF" or exclusively breastfed babies) can be a sign that the baby is getting too much low-calorie, low-fat foremilk (the milk that comes first in a feeding) and not enough hindmilk, which is higher in fat.

It could also mean that the baby isn't feeding long enough on each breast. The baby may not be draining the breast enough. Or, there could be an oversupply of breast milk. A lactation consultant may be able to help find the issue.

Kids often eat foods that have food dyes, including green, purple, blue and yellow, or red and blue coloring. They are found in grape Pedialyte and some kids’ breakfast cereals, drinks, candies, birthday cakes, and cookies.

Recap

Stool can be green during pregnancy in the earliest weeks of pregnancy and in the third trimester. Pregnant women may have green stool due to their prenatal vitamins or iron supplements. Breastfed babies may have green stools because of something in their's or their mother's diet.

Medical Conditions

Diarrhea causes stool to move faster through the bowels, so any condition that causes diarrhea can cause poop, such as:

Can Liver Issues Cause Green Poop?

Bile is a a greenish-yellow liquid made in your liver. If you have green poop or green diarrhea, then there may be excess bile in your stool. Some types of liver disease that cause increased bile production can result in yellowish or green, watery diarrhea. This effect is seen in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

When to See Your Doctor

You should talk to your doctor if your green stools are ongoing and/or you also have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Stomach aches or pain
  • Blood in the stool (or black stool)
  • Watery or liquid stool
  • Any other unusual symptoms

A rare but serious cause of green poop in kids and adults is poisoning by chemicals such as paraquat, a pesticide in weed killers.

Green stools that have visible mucus could mean the lining of your intestines is inflamed. If you notice this often, it could be a sign of a condition that may require treatment, especially if you have other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, pain in your abdomen, nausea, or vomiting.

Like green poop, floating green stool is often normal and due to what you ate. In some cases (particularly if it's an ongoing concern), floating stool could mean that your intestines aren't absorbing fat properly.

Summary

Stool is normally brown because of how the bacteria in your intestines gradually changes its color during digestion. However, green poop is common at any age.

Stool typically turns green because of something green that you ate or drank, and it usually returns to brown within a day or two.

Stool can also turn green if you are doing a colon cleanse, eating something that has a laxative effect, or have diarrhea. This is because the stool is rushing through your intestines so quickly that there's not enough time for your intestinal bacteria to make it brown.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is baby poop green?

    Certain formulas can make a baby's poop green. Other reasons include a sensitivity to something in their mother's diet (if they are breastfed), a newborn's first stool (meconium), a viral or bacterial infection, or being introduced to solid foods like vegetables.

  • What does the color of your poop mean?

    The color and shape of poop is due to a few factors. Diet, health conditions, and medications can change your stool. For example, stool that is black or tarry (like coffee grounds) can mean there is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. See a doctor for this right away.

  • What shape should my poop be?

    Poop should look like a long, s-shaped tube because of how it forms in the intestines. Poop that has a different shape could be a sign of a health problem, for example, poop that is thin and stringy or looks like pebbles. Take note of your poop's shape, and talk to your doctor about any ongoing change.

  • What is COVID poop?

    Green poop or green diarrhea can be a sign of a viral infection, such as COVID-19, which is known to cause gastrointestinal symptoms. This may include diarrhea and impaired liver function.

  • Does green poop mean gallbladder problems?

    A problem with your gallbladder doesn't typically cause green poop. An infection or inflammation in your gallbladder is more likely to cause pale, yellowish, or clay-colored stool.

A Word From Verywell

Green stools can fall within the normal color range for poop colors. If the change in your stool color is ongoing or you have any other unusual symptoms, it's best to talk to your doctor to rule out an underlying health condition. 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.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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