So What Color Is Your Stool?

So What Color Is Your Stool?

Leonard was not upset but his wife was. He felt bad after eating dinner but soon felt better when he moved his bowels. He had decided to follow his wife’s directions and ate much more fruits and vegetables. For some reason he loved the blueberries she had bought at the local farmers market. He couldn’t stop eating them and consumed two quarts while watching the Olympics on TV. He poured Splenda on them after washing them off. His wife did not really understand this and said that it totally destroyed the natural food pathway she was trying to achieve. When he moved his bowels they were first very dark and when he got a search flashlight out (5 million candlepower) he saw that the stool was a dark purple. First he was quite tremulous. Perhaps the boxes of Splenda had turned his stools a different color. When she looked at the stools she said “ here comes the blueberries, silly.” He quickly realized she was right again and felt poorly-this time mentally. Perhaps he could be right once. She reminded him of his poor mental reasoning scores on his SAT’s in high school and he felt worse. He still felt better that he could fix thing without education.

The next month, Leonard again felt bad. He didn’t want to admit it to his wife, Rebecca, but his stools turned quite black. They were glistening in the bathroom light and he felt a little dizzy. He also thought that they had a very peculiar, strong repulsive smell. It racked his brain to try and remember what he had consumed that would make this color. The last reference to his mental ability had really hurt his feelings but he wasn’t going to let Rebecca know. She would not offer any sympathy for his macho side.

So he decided on looking it up himself. He used two Internet search engines-Google and Yahoo and found that he may be bleeding! Should he tell her? She was so mean last time that he decided not to tell her. He began to feel dizzy and then he passed out. Rebecca called to get him to defrost some dinner but he didn’t answer the phone. She got very angry and drove her 4-runner home quickly screeching the tires around the turns and ignored the local police trying to catch her. She pulled up at her house and found him inside on the floor. She thought first he was faking but then realized he had passed out and she called 911. The police came in to give her a speeding ticket. She told them that the ticket would just have to wait until the ambulance came. She treated the police officer like a pet, just like her husband.

Our stools can change colors and most of the time they are benign causes by foods, dyes and medicines in our diet. We just have to make a mental inventory of what we have eaten recently. Below is a partial list of some different colors and what may have caused them. It is far from complete. Dark black tarry stools and red stools often can be from internal bleeding and require an assessment from a health professional as soon as possible.

Green – Green vegetables, food coloring, (Kool Aid), Popsicles, Jell-O, iron

Fast transit through intestinal tract

Breast milk (in babies, not adults)

Black – Iron, Pepto-Bismol

Blood in upper intestinal tract (ulcers, broken vein, tears, inflammation)

Black licorice, blueberries, and lead

White – Bile obstruction, antacids, barium (X-ray contrast)

Fast transit time of stools through the intestines

Yellow – Food coloring, too much fat eaten, poor food absorption

Red – Red foods or dye


Purple – Food coloring or blood

Beets, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb, purple cabbage

Orange – Carrots

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