Is dark brown a normal colour for stool?

Updated July 19, 2017

Dark brown coloured stools are in the range of normal colours for human stools. Stool colour is influenced by a person's diet and bile levels. However, a patient's stool colours can change because of bleeding in the digestive tract or the food the patient consumes. If you're concerned about this aspect of your health then make an appointment with your GP for a check-up.

Normal stool colour

Normal human stool colours include any shade of brown or even green. However, you should seek medical advice if your stool changes from its normal colour, says Dr Rob Hicks of Boots WebMD.

Light-coloured stools

People with light-coloured, clay-coloured or white stools may lack normal bile levels in their stools and they may have an obstructed bile duct. Anti-diarrheal drugs and medications with bismuth subsalicylate can cause light-coloured stools.

Yellow stools

Stools with a yellow colour, foul smell and greasiness may include excess amounts of fat and may be caused by a malabsorption problem in the intestinal tract. Coeliac disease patients may have yellow stools after they consume gluten.

Black stools

People with bleeding in the upper digestive tract may have black-coloured stools. Black stools may also result from the use of bismuth subsalicylate or iron supplements. Always go to your GP if you have black stools.

Red stools

Red-coloured stools may be a sign of bleeding in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Red-coloured foods or food colourings may also result in stools that are red.

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Eric Smith has been a freelance writer since 2007 and has published articles on various websites. Smith specializes in a wide variety of topics, particularly health, travel and business. He has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Oakland University.