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What Does Green Diarrhea Mean?

The short answer:

Green diarrhea could result from the rapid passage of your loose stool with unbroken bile secretions. These conditions include infections, certain antibiotics that could destroy the gut’s normal flora, laxative abuse, and green diarrhea secondary to other diseases such as Crohn’s syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Find more about green diarrhea in this article.

Key facts:

  • Diarrhea means you have 3 or more bowel movements per day.
  • Green stool may be due to something you ingest such as green leafy vegetables (contain chlorophyll green pigment).
  • Green diarrhea could be due to the rapid evacuation of bowel content containing bile secretion before their enzymatic breakdown therefore, it gives it a green appearance.
  • It could also result from infections, overdoses of laxatives, and certain types of antibiotics.
  • Some diseases such as IBS and Crohn’s syndrome could lead to green diarrhea.

What does green diarrhea mean? | Casuses | Treatments | FAQs

What is green diarrhea?

The color of your stool is greatly affected by the content of your meal. The most common and normal color is brown. This color comes from the action of the bile on your stools.

The Bile is yellow-green secretions that help to digest fats in your diet. The bile within your intestine is chemically altered by the action of intestinal flora and enzymes hence, their pigment changes from green to brown. This makes your stool in shades of brown colors.

The change in your stool color may be due to something you have eaten or drank, or maybe a health problem.

Causes of green diarrhea

Several causes may make your stool green including:

Green diarrhea due to bile pigments

When you have diarrhea. Your bowel movement increased. This causes a rapid passage of your stool through your intestinal tract. Thus, the bile pigments don’t have sufficient time for enzymatic breakdown to brown color. Consequently, the bile-green pigments make your stool green.

This means when you have green diarrhea, you don’t need to have a serious cause of this color change. In this condition, the green diarrhea is temporary and could be resolved in a few days without management (Ref).

If green diarrhea lasts for more time, you have to seek a clinical professional for help. It may indicate a serious condition.

Green diarrhea due to infections

Green diarrhea could be due to certain infections. Bacterial infections such as salmonella which cause food poisoning, make your loose stool green in color. Also, parasitic infection, giardia, and norovirus could lead to green diarrhea.

In the case of green diarrhea caused by infections, it is commonly associated with symptoms such as bloating and excess gas, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of appetite.

These infections increase your bowel movements and lead to rapid evacuation of your stools. As previously mentioned, the rapid evacuation of your stool makes it green as there is no sufficient time for bile breakdown

Green diarrhea secondary to other diseases

Certain medical conditions may cause you to have green diarrhea this including:

  • Crohn’s syndrome: It involves inflammatory problems in the intestinal tract. This leads to rapid evacuation of your stool. Accordingly, rapid clearance of bile secretions occurs. Thus, your stool becomes a loose green one.

Other diseases that cause you to have green diarrhea include:

Green diarrhea due to overuse of laxative

Patients suffering from recurrent constipation use laxatives frequently. The overdose or excessive use of laxative lead to green diarrhea.

This is due to the rapid passage of unstained stool with unbroken bile secretion.

Green diarrhea due to antibiotic

Certain types of antibiotics, stronger ones, could affect your normal flora. Normal flora is a beneficial bacteria in your intestine. This bacteria is responsible for the breakdown of your bile which makes your stool brown in color. When this bacteria is killed by antibiotics, your stools turn green. As the bile is still unbroken and gives your stool a green appearance.

In this case, your stool turns normal color recently after you finish your antibiotics course.

Probiotics may help you to restore your intestinal bacteria.

Green diarrhea due to the effect of what you eat or drink

Simply, your stool may turn green as a result of your diet. When you eat a large quantity of green vegetables. The green chlorophyll pigment in plants could make your stool green. For example, Spanish, broccoli, and kale.

Also, children may have green stools after excessive eating of artificially colored frosting.

How to treat green diarrhea?

The treatments of green diarrhea are based on the main cause. In many cases, green diarrhea needs no treatments especially if it is caused by foods you ingest. However, treatments for green diarrhea could be achieved by the following:

  • Eat food rich in fiber which increases the bulk of your poop.
  • Fluid intake to avoid dehydration from excessive water loss.
  • Avoid medications that could induce green diarrhea
  • You may need to take antibiotics in case of green diarrhea caused by bacterial infections


1. Does green diarrhea mean infection?

Yes, green diarrhea may be due to infections.

Infections such as salmonella which causes food poisoning, parasitic infection, giardia, and norovirus could lead to green diarrhea.

2. Does green diarrhea indicate cancer?

Cancer commonly changes your stool color. However, it gives your stool a black or tarry color. Red stool may also occur with cancer due to bleeding (Ref). Thus, don’t panic when you have green diarrhea. It is not reported that cancer makes you have green diarrhea.

3. Can iron cause green diarrhea?

Yes, iron supplements could lead to diarrhea with the color of your poop becoming greenish or grayish-black. this could be attributed to the unabsorbed amount of iron in your bowel.