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The scoop on poop

Seriously, you should be concerned about the color of your bowel movements

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay.
Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay.

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In the 1993 film “Jurassic Park,” Dr. Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist, can’t be sure what ails a sick Triceratops until she examines the dinosaur’s droppings.

Fortunately, that's not the case with humans.

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The color and consistency of your stool is one way doctors can tell if your gastrointestinal tract is functioning properly or not.

For instance, brown is the color of healthy poop. Any other color could point to a health issue.

Most cases of black stool are from eating dark foods such as black licorice or from taking iron supplements. The most common condition causing black stools is a bleeding ulcer.

Green comes from eating lots of -- you guessed it -- green vegetables. Taking iron supplements can also turn your poop green.

Light yellow/fatty stool indicates a lack of bile, a fluid that digests fats, which could be a sign of a blockage in the bile duct.

Bloody poop indicates bleeding in the lower area of the colon, which is a sign of inflammatory bowel disease. If blood in the stool is suspected, you should contact your physician as soon as possible.

“Bloody stools should not be assumed to be hemorrhoids and should definitely be medically evaluated,” said family physician Patricia Calhoun, MD, of Baptist Primary Care.

“Black tarry stools can sometimes indicate a condition called melena, which is associated with bleeding from a point higher up in the GI tract.”

If you need a primary care physician, call 202.4YOU, or visit Baptist Primary Care to make an appointment.