August, 2022

What Your Stool Color, Shape, and Smell is Telling You

Saturday, August 27th, 2022

It may be taboo to discuss, but your stool indicates your body’s general health. When a patient is complaining of gastrointestinal symptoms, one of the first questions a doctor will often ask is the size, smell, and shape of their stool.

This article will discuss the different characteristics of stool that you should be aware of if you’d like to better track your health from home. 

Stool Color

The color of your stool can be a great indicator of digestive problems. Ideally, experts believe that it should be brown in color. This color comes from several digestive products such as bile, digested remnants, and bilirubin. 

Sometimes, certain foods you’ve eaten, mainly fruits and vegetables, can temporarily “dye” your stools. This is entirely normal, but it should be noted that the discoloration should return to normal once the food is out of your system. 

Sometimes discolored stools can linger. The colors and causes of this include:

  • Red stool

This usually indicates bleeding caused by hemorrhoids, ulcers, anal fissures, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or in some cases, colorectal cancer. It’s important to have the cause ruled out by a specialist. 

  • Green stool

Green stool can be caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. In some cases, it can be linked to IBD or medications.

  • Black stool

This indicates upper digestive tract bleeding or can be the result of taking iron supplements. 

  • Grey or yellow stool

Both of these colors could indicate gallbladder, liver, or pancreas disorders.

Stool Shape

Sausage or banana-shaped stools that are easily passed are considered the optimal stool shapes. These indicate a healthy diet and efficient digestive system. 

Stool shapes that are considered abnormal include:

  • Hard or lumpy stools

Hard or lumpy stools indicate constipation. Drink more water and eat more fiber to correct this concern. 

  • Soft with clear-cut edges

This can indicate a lack of fiber in your diet.

  • Fluffy or watery with no solids

A lack of solids in stool is known as diarrhea and it indicates digestive illnesses. It’s important to see a doctor if this is a regular occurrence. 

Stool Smell

If your stool is smelling worse than usual or is foul-smelling, it may be indicative of unwanted microorganisms in the digestive tract. Bacterial, viral, or parasite-induced infections can cause foul-smelling stools. If this problem lingers, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional for care. 

If you’re experiencing irregularities in your stool or digestive symptoms, reach out to Suncoast Urgent Care today. Our experts can perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of your irregular stool and treat it accordingly. Contact us to schedule an appointment


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