What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Green?


A common stool color change, green poop can mean that you’ve been eating green vegetables (which are rich in chlorophyll) or green, blue, or purple food coloring, or it can be caused by any condition that leads to diarrhea or loose stools. Although stool is normally brown, the occasional green stool can fall within the normal range of stool colors.

See your healthcare provider if green stool (or another unusual stool color) is ongoing or if you have other symptoms, like fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or pain. Here are eight possible causes of green poop (whether it is dark, bright, light green, or floating).


Green Foods

Green poop can simply result from consuming meals with green vegetables, like spinach, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, bok choy, beet greens, arugula, and watercress. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. Dark green, leafy vegetables are rich in chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their color.

Virtually any chlorophyll-rich plant food can cause green-tinged stool if you eat enough of it. That includes vegetables like green beans, celery, sugar peas, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, peas, asparagus, sprouts, zucchini, cucumbers, and romaine lettuce, and fruits like avocados, green apples, honeydew, kiwi, jalapenos, and green grapes.

Nuts like pistachios, seeds like hemp seeds, and herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro are also rich in chlorophyll. Matcha, a type of powdered green tea, can also make stools a bright green hue.

A small serving may not be enough to turn your stool green, but it may be an issue if you’re having larger servings, such as those found in smoothies, juices, pureed soups, large salads, guacamole, or a combination of different chlorophyll-rich foods.

Some foods contain green (or blue and yellow) food coloring that may turn your poop green. These dyes are sometimes used in canned green peas, green beer, breakfast cereal, candy, jarred pickles, salad dressing, beverages, cake and cookie icing, and desserts. You’ll also see these dyes in food around St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas.


Click Play to Learn More About Green Poop

This video has been medically reviewed by Chris Vincent, MD.

Blue and Purple Foods

Besides the obvious green foods, deep blue or purple foods can sometimes lead to green poop. Blueberries, grapes, and red wine, for instance, can result in a dark green-blue stool.

Purple (or red and blue) food coloring in drink mixes, grape Kool-Aid and soda, frozen ice pops, cake icing, blue Gatorade, packaged fruit snacks, licorice, and grape-flavored Pedialyte can also cause dark or bright green poop. These food dye colors are often used during holidays such as Easter, Independence Day, and Halloween.

Coffee, Spicy Foods, and Alcohol

As bile makes its way through the small intestine to the large intestine via the bile ducts, it progressively changes color from green to yellow to brown. This is due to the action of bacteria in the large intestine acting on bile salts.

In some cases, consuming lots of coffee, jalapenos, chili pepper, and alcohol can have a laxative effect, causing foods to pass through the intestines faster than normal (called decreased transit time) and before stool change color from green to brown.

Vitamins, Supplements, and Drugs

Taking iron supplements can change the color of your poop to dark green (or black). Other vitamins, supplements, and teas that can lead to green poop include:

  • Senna, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, fiber supplements, and other laxatives
  • Nutritional supplements that contain chlorophyll, such as greens powder, green tea, wheatgrass, spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, blue-green algae, and chlorophyll
  • Yerba mate tea
  • Medication that can cause loose stools or diarrhea as a side effect, such as metformin, Lexapro (escitalopram), Nyquil, Zoloft (sertraline), or antibiotics like ciprofloxacin

Special Diets

Whether you’re eating a generally healthy diet or are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, consuming plenty of chlorophyll-rich green vegetables and fruits can make your poop green. Juicing or going on a juice cleanse will also up your intake of chlorophyll and, in turn, increase the likelihood of green-tinged stools.

If you experience green stools during a colon cleanse, it may be due to food rushing through your intestines too quickly to allow bacteria to give your stool its characteristic brown color.

A high-fat diet, like the keto diet, may give your poop a bright green hue. With a high-fat intake, your body produces more bile to digest these fats and excess green-colored bile may find its way into the toilet bowl.


Green stool can occur during pregnancy. Some women get it in the earliest weeks of their pregnancy, sometimes even before the BFP (“big fat positive”) on the pregnancy test. Other women get it because they take prenatal vitamins (which contain a higher dose of iron than the typical multivitamin) or iron supplements.

Green stool can also happen during the third trimester. Some women get loose green stools during late pregnancy as food moves rapidly through the intestines.

Babies, Toddlers, and Older Kids

An infant’s first bowel movements are typically green-black in color. Known as “meconium,” you usually don’t see it after an infant is three days old.

Dark green (or green black) poop in babies may be caused by iron supplements and iron-enriched foods, such as baby formula. If your baby’s poop appears black or dark, it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare provider or pediatrician.

If a breastfed baby has green poop, it could be something in the mother’s diet, like green vegetables or food made with green or purple food coloring. In some cases, it may be a sensitivity or allergy to something in the mother’s or baby’s diet.

Green poop in breastfed babies (particularly “EBF” or exclusively breastfed babies) could also be a sign that the baby is getting too much low-calorie, low-fat foremilk (the milk that comes first in a feeding) and not enough hindmilk, which is higher in fat.

It could mean that the baby isn’t feeding long enough on each breast or draining the breast effectively or that there is an oversupply of breast milk. A lactation consultant may be able to help identify the issue.

Kids often eat foods that contain food dyes, including green, purple, blue and yellow, or red and blue coloring. They are found in grape Pedialyte and some kids’ breakfast cereals, beverages, candies, birthday cakes, and cookies. Chewing on green or purple crayons can also change the color of stools.

Medical Conditions

Diarrhea decreases bowel transit time, so any condition that causes diarrhea can result in a green stool, including:

  • Food poisoning
  • Infectious or traveler’s diarrhea, especially Salmonella, E.coli, and Giardia (Bacterial, parasitic, and viral intestinal infections can cause your intestines to flush faster than normal.)
  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (also known as pseudomembranous colitis)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Eating disorders that involve laxative abuse
  • After surgery, such as a cesarean section (also known as a C-section) 
  • Graft versus host disease (a condition that can develop after surgery for a bone marrow transplant)

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if your green stools are ongoing and/or accompanied by fever, stomach aches or pain, blood in the stool (or black stool), watery or liquid stool, or other symptoms. A rare but serious cause of green stool in kids and adults is poisoning by chemicals such as the pesticide paraquat.

Green stools accompanied by visible mucus may signal irritation or inflammation in the lining of the intestines. If it happens regularly, it could be a sign of a condition that may require treatment (especially if it’s accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, pain in the abdomen, or nausea or vomiting).

Like green poop, floating green stool is often normal and related to what you ate. In some cases (particularly if it’s an ongoing concern), floating stool could mean that your intestines aren’t absorbing fat properly.

A Word From Get Meds Info

Green stools can fall within the normal color range for bowel movements. While ongoing stool discoloration or the presence of other symptoms may signal something that requires medical treatment, in most cases, having the occasional greenish poop is nothing to worry about. If your green poop was caused by something you ate, your stools should return to their normal color within a day or two.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is my poop green?

    Green poop can be indicative of your diet. Eating broccoli, spinach, kale, and avocado can contribute to green stool. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection (e. coli), a viral infection (norovirus), a parasite (Giardia), or it may be a symptom of irritable bowel disease (IBS) or a gallbladder removal.

  • Why is baby poop green?

    Green baby poop can be caused by an excess amount of bile, certain formula brands, intolerance to a food in their mother’s diet (if they are breastfed), a newborn’s first stool (meconium), a viral or bacterial infection, or the introduction of solid foods into their diet (specifically vegetables).

  • Does green tea make you poop?

    Drinking green tea can contribute to feeling a need to poop. This feeling can result from having drinks that contain caffeine, such as green tea or coffee.

  • What does the color of your poop mean?

    The color and shape of poop is determined by a number of factors. Diet, underlying medical conditions, and medications can alter its appearance. For example, stool that is black or a tar-like color can indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and should be examined as soon as possible.

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