What Is a Normal Bowel Movement Color?

Normal Stool Color

Color of a normal bowel movement in most people is any shade of brown, including light brown (described as yellow by some), but this is  not the same as bright yellow).

The following stool colors may be also normal, if they result from ingested substances:

  • Green stool may result from ingesting a large amount of leafy vegetables, artificially-colored drinks, black licorice, iron or vitamin supplements. Other causes of green bovel movement.
  • Black stool may be from blackberries, blueberries, iron in red meat, spinach, iron supplements or Pepto-Bismol. Other causes of black bowel movement.
  • Red stool may be from beets, artificial colors in drinks, sweets, or ice creams, red gelatin, tomato juice or soup. When not sure, blood in the stool has to be considered.
  • Orange stool may be from vitamin A, antacids, artificial colors, butter-fish, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, fresh thyme.  Other causes of orange bowel movement.

Bile, as excreted from the liver into the duodenum, is green due to contained bilirubin. Normal intestinal bacteria will change bilirubin to yellow/orange and then brown color in several hours. So, normal stool will be brown, but when stool travels through the intestine fast (like in diarrhea), it will be yellow or green, since bacteria have no time to change its color.

Bright yellow bowel movement, orange or green bowel movement are not normal, if they result from rapid intestinal transit. Red, or black bowel movements, if not from ingested substances, result from the blood in the stool. Pale or gray (colorless), or white bowel movement are never normal.

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