HCA Midwest Health - November 01, 2017

How your poop looks and smells can give clues to what's going on inside your body.

Know your poop

How your poop looks and smells can give clues to what's going on inside your body.


  • Brown: You're fine. Poop is naturally brown due to the bile produced in your liver.
  • Green: Food may be moving through your large intestine too quickly. Or you could have eaten lots of green, leafy vegetables, or green food coloring.
  • Yellow: Greasy, foul-smelling yellow poop indicates excess fat, which could be due to a malabsorption disorder like Celiac disease.
  • Black: It could mean that you're bleeding internally due to ulcer or cancer. Some vitamins containing iron could cause black poop too. See a doctor if you're worried.
  • Light-colored, white, or clay-colored: If it's not what you're normally seeing, it could mean a bile duct obstruction. Some meds could cause this too. See a doctor.
  • Blood-stained or red: Blood in your poop could be a symptom of something serious. Always see a doctor right away if you find blood in your stool.


  • Separate, hard lumps, like nuts: You're lacking fiber and fluids. Drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Sausage-shaped but lumpy: Not as serious as separate hard lumps, but you need to load up on fluids and fiber.
  • Sausage-shaped but with cracks on the surface: This is normal, but the cracks mean you could still up your intake of water.
  • Sausage-shaped, smooth, and soft: Optimal poop! You're doing fine!
  • Soft blobs with clear-cut edges: Not too bad. Pretty normal if you're pooping multiple times a day.
  • Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool: You're on the edge of normal. This type of poop is on its way to becoming diarrhea.
  • Watery, no solid pieces, all liquid: You're having diarrhea! This is probably caused by some sort of infection and diarrhea is your body's way of cleaning it out. Make sure you drink lots of liquids to replace the liquids lost, otherwise you might find yourself dehydrated


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