The color of your child's poop can change for a number of reasons. Although you may be used to the hue ranges from a deep yellow to tan brown, green can often fall within that spectrum under some circumstances. Green is a pretty common stool color for a small child who eats a variety of different kinds of food. When your child's poop changes color, pay attention to whether other changes may explain the situation. For example, note any differences in diet or medications. If your child is sick and has other symptoms in addition to a different color stool, consult your pediatrician immediately. Many times green poop is associated with temporary changes or minor illnesses, but repeated green stools may require medical attention.
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Your child's stool gets its color from a substance known as bile, a yellow-green fluid produced by his liver and stored in his gallbladder. Bile helps digest food, especially fat. With healthy digestion, enzymes break down bile as stool is formed and prepared for exit. This process can produce an astonishing array of colors, depending on the level of breakdown of bile. Your child's poop may be green because his stools exited his body quickly.
What goes in must come out. The coloring in the food your child eats may be a culprit behind his green stools. According to Children's Hospital Colorado, noticeably green poop is almost always due to food coloring or food additives. In addition to the artificial dyes in ice pops, candies, gelatin, soft drinks and other treats, green vegetables like spinach and broccoli can turn his poop green. Green vegetable contain large amounts of chlorophyll, which is a green pigment that can remain in the stool as it passes.
Supplements and Medicine
Sometimes, your child's green stools can be a response to supplements or medication he's taking. If he still takes formula, know that iron-fortified formula is a common reason for green poop. Antibiotics may also affect his stool color.
If your child's green poop is also loose, watery and comes out more frequently, he could have a case of diarrhea. Diarrhea happens when stool travels so swiftly that it doesn't have time to fully form and firm up. Consequently, it also doesn't have time to break down bile. Many issues may be causing diarrhea and related green stools, including intestinal infections, viruses, bacteria or parasites. Treatment of diarrhea and resolution of the stool color may be based on the frequency and consistency of stools. Generally it may involve replacing lost electrolytes and food changes. Ask your pediatrician if your child's diarrhea and green stools persist.
Watch for Other Colors and Symptoms
Red, white and black are stool colors that should set off alarm, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Fresh or old blood may be to blame. White stool may indicate a liver problem. No matter the color, you should also watch for other symptoms, such as pain, sweating, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, abdominal swelling, cramping, dizziness, itchy skin, pale color and general weakness. If you see these signs, get your child immediate medical attention.