Healthy stool color

Traditionally, bowel movements are thought to be brown. However, bowel movement colours can vary. Some bowel movement colours are healthy, while others are not.

Variables of Color

Diet, levels of bile (an enzyme that digests fat and turns stool brown) and time spent in the gastrointestinal tract are all factors influencing bowel movement colours. For example, a diet heavily enriched with green vegetables is more likely to cause green bowel movements.

Healthy Stool Color

Brown and green bowel movements are healthy stool colours. Green bowel movements can result from eating green foods or foods with green food colouring. Green bowel movements are also more likely when the stool moves swiftly through the gastrointestinal tract.

Unhealthy Stool Color

Yellow, whitish/clay colour, bright red and black stool are indicators of health problems. Bright red and black stool indicates blood in your stool.

Bloody Stool

Bloody stool can indicate several conditions; some serious like cancer and bleeding ulcers and some not so serious like haemorrhoids (occurs when anal blood vessels dilate). The darker the stool the more serious the issue is likely to be.


If you are experiencing unhealthy bowel movement colours, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should be able to diagnosis the reason for your unhealthy stool colour.

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About the Author

Zachary Fenell is a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame College of Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with minors in philosophy and writing. Fenell has been writing since 2002, when he joined his high school newspaper, "The Arc Light." In college Fenell won awards for excellence in English and communication.