What is stool color?

Stool Color
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How are changes in stool color treated?

Changes in stool color often go away without any treatment. It helps to stop eating or drinking things that may have caused the color to change. Most often, stool will return to its normal color in a few days. Treatment will depend on what's causing the change in stool color.

How can you care for yourself if your stool has changed color?

If you think your stool has changed color because of something you eat or drink, keep a diary for 2 to 4 weeks. Keep track of foods, fluids, and details about your stool color. Also track any medicine you take. Adjust foods and drinks based on your diary.

What causes different stool colors?

What you eat and drink can cause changes in your stool color. For example, beets can make stool look red or maroon. Taking certain medicines or supplements, such as iron, can make your stool turn black. Your stool color can also change if you have health problems.

What are common stool colors?

It's normal for stool to be different colors. For adults and children, stool is usually light or dark brown. Newborn babies have thick, greenish-black stool. Breastfed babies have stool that is yellow. When babies start to eat solid food, their stool becomes light or dark brown.

Changes in stool color: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if the change in your stool color wasn't caused by what you were eating or drinking and your stool is one of these colors:

  • Black
  • Maroon or very bloody
  • White

Also talk to your doctor if you think that a medicine you take is causing your stool color to change.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.