What do the different colors and shapes of poop mean? (2023)

The consistency and color of your poop can reveal information about your health. While you may not pay much attention to your stool, checking it regularly can help you keep track of what's normal for you and what's not.

Most of the time, changes in bowel movements are expected. However, if you have an unusual color or shape of poop that lasts for a long time, or experience other symptoms such as pain or bleeding, contact your doctor.

This article includes a poop color chart and discusses the meaning of different poop colors, from yellow poop to green, pale, dark or red poop, to pebble-shaped poop or poop that contains mucus.

Be sure to see your doctor right away if the color of your poop is bright red, black, or pale, or if you experience additional symptoms such as abdominal pain. You should also see your doctor if it is consistently thin or pencil-like, loose or watery, or accompanied by mucus or pus.

What do the different colors and shapes of poop mean? (1)

What does unhealthy stool look like?

A poop color that suddenly changes color for no apparent reason can indicate a problem, especially if you have other unusual symptoms like pain or bleeding. Red or brown stools, as well as black or tarry stools, require immediate medical attention.

What does the color of your poop mean?

Normal, healthy stools range from various shades of brown to greenish-brown. This can vary if you eat a lot of colorful foods. Any change in the color of the poop that cannot be related to your diet is reason to consult the doctor.

pale colored poop

Bile salts in the intestines give stool its usual brown color. If your poop is light in color (either pale, white, gray, or clay-colored), there may be a lack of bile in your stool. Blockage of the bile ducts from gallstones or a condition affecting the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas can cause reduced bile production.

Pale or light-colored poop can also mean there is excess oil in the poop, a condition calledsteator. This can be caused by anything that disturbs the intestinal lining, such asCeliac Diseaseor disorders affecting the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.


Steatorrhea means that there is excess fat in the stool. Your stools may be pale or yellow, as well as shiny or greasy, foul-smelling or frothy. It can float on the toilet bowl and often sticks to the rim of the toilet bowl and is difficult to remove.

(Video) Poop and Health: What Different Colors and Shapes Mean

Also, the stool may be temporarily pale after the barium enema test.

If you notice that your poop is white, clay-colored, or chalky gray, see your doctor, especially if the new poop color lasts for several days.

yellow poop

There are several different possible causes of yellow poop, and the meaning of yellow poop varies widely.

Having yellow poop can simply mean that you are eating yellow foods like sweet potatoes, carrots,turmeric, or yellow food coloring. Furthermore, people withgastroesofagealna refluxna bolest(GERD) and those taking GERD medication sometimes have yellow poop.

Sudden yellow poop can also be a sign of an infection affecting your intestines, especially if you have one.diarrhea, fever, flu-like symptoms, or stomach cramps. Yellow poop has been reported after a COVID-19 infection.MI,giardijaza, an infection of the small intestine caused by a parasitegiardia lamblia, it can also cause yellow stools or diarrhea.

Some people have yellow poop after surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). This is because there is an increased amount of bile moving directly into the intestines, causing watery diarrhea that is often yellow.

In some cases, yellow poop can also mean excess fat in the stool.

yellow poop in babies

Liquid, yellow stools in a breastfed baby are normal because breast milk passes quickly through the digestive system. The yellow color of poop is from bile. It's also normal for formula-fed babies to have yellow stools, but their stools are often less liquid than those of breastfed babies.Once you start introducing solid foods into your baby's diet, the stools will become firmer and brown in color.

green poop

There are a few common reasons for green poop. Eating too many green leafy vegetables, such as kale or spinach, can turn poop green. But that's normal and shouldn't stop you from eating these antioxidant-rich foods.Iron supplements and food dyes, including green, purple, and blue, can also turn stool an emerald color.

Conditions that make the intestines work faster, such as intestinal disorders or food poisoning, can also cause green orgreen diarrhea. Pregnant women may also occasionally have green stools.

Causes of green stools

(Video) Your POOP is What Color? (What Poop Color Means) 2023

Bright red color of poop

Bright red poop can be caused by beetroot, blueberry, tomato juice or soup, or products that contain red food coloring, such as Kool-Aid or red licorice. Red medicines like amoxicillin can also make poop red.

If there is blood in the stool,poop colorit depends on where in the digestive tract the bleeding occurs. Blood from the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach or esophagus, will darken when it leaves the body as a bowel movement.

Bright red blood is most likely coming from the lower gastrointestinal tract, such as the colon or rectum. Bright red blood in poop can be caused by conditions such as:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • anal fissure
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • diverticulosis
  • bowel cancer

Blood in the stoolIt doesn't always seem obvious. Blood may also be present but not visible; this is known as "occult" blood. INfecal occult blood testIt is a common test used to detect hidden blood in the stool.

Why do I have blood in my stool?

Black or dark colored poop

Certain foods, supplements, and medications can temporarily turn your poop black, such as:

  • bismuth subsalicylate(peptobismol, kaopectato)
  • iron supplements
  • activated carbon additives
  • Dark foods like black licorice, grape juice, Oreo cookies, blackberries, or blueberries

Stools may also appear darker with constipation. Dark green bile stool that hasn't had time to break down may appear to be the color of black poop in certain lighting.

Poop that is almost black in color, dark in color, or has a thick consistency may mean that there is bleeding in the upper GI tract.Medical conditions that can cause dark, tarry stools include:

  • Duodenal or gastric ulcers
  • esophageal varices
  • Mallory-Weiss tear
  • Gastritis

If the color of your poop is black and it is not coming from food or supplements, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Why is my poop black?


Press play to learn more about Green Stool

(Video) 12 Things Your Stool Says About Your Health

What are the different types of poop?

Occasional changes in poop consistency are also normal and usually stem from the nutritional content of the food. However, if the change in consistency continues after several bowel movements, it is best to see your doctor for evaluation.

Chairs that sink fast

Although the normal form of the chair ifrequencyIt varies from person to person, if your stool sinks quickly, you may not be getting enough fluids or fiber in your diet. This type of stool is usually darker in color because it stays longer in the intestines.

The FDA recommends a fiber intake of 28 grams per day. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, unsalted nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of fiber.

floating bench

If your stool fluctuates here and there, it's probably nothing to worry about. Most likely, the feces only have a greater amountfullBeginning.This can happen after consuming carbonated drinks, beans, and sugary foods. Some gastrointestinal disorders, such asirritable bowel syndrome(IBS) can also cause loose stools.

However, constant stool fluctuations can be a sign that your body is not absorbing fat properly. When this happens, it could be a sign of steatorrhea.

What does it mean when your stool floats?

gravel coast

Stool passed in small pieces is sometimes called stones or balls.Fiber forms a gel in the intestines when fermentedbacteriain the large intestine and in combination with water. If the fiber that holds the stool together is missing, it may be in the form of small stones.

Increasing your fiber intake can help; to do this, slowly increase your intake up to the recommended daily value of 28 grams. If you find it difficult to get this amount with high-fiber foods, consider supplementingfiber supplement.

(Video) 12 Things Your Stool Says About Your Health

Causes of small stools

pencil thin chair

Overexertion when you are on the toilet can result in long, thin stools. The downward pressure causes the anal muscle to contract and narrow the opening of the anus. The stool that gets through the narrow opening is thin.

However, constant loose stools can indicate a medical problem.Any condition that blocks the intestines, such as benign rectal polyps, hemorrhoids, an enlarged prostate, or colon, rectal, or prostate cancer, can cause pencil-thin stools.

weird stools

Loose stools (diarrhea) that last a few days or less are common and usually not serious. It can be triggered by many different foods, supplements, and medications. For example, eating too much fructose, a sugar found in honey and many soft drinks and processed foods, can cause loose stools.

Another common cause of loose stools is a gastrointestinal infection, also known asstomach flu.

What are the causes and solutions of loose stools?

When to see a doctor

Although it's normal for your stool to vary from day to day depending on what you eat and drink, the color of your poop should generally be a shade of brown.

Stool should pass out of the body with little effort or discomfort, have the consistency of toothpaste, and look more like a banana than a pencil.

Be sure to see your doctor right away if the color of your poop is bright red, black, pale, or is accompanied by mucus or pus, or if you experience new or unusual symptoms, such as pain.


Several factors can cause variations inthe look of your chair. Some factors, like your daily eating and drinking habits, are less of a concern than others.

Keep in mind, however, that seemingly harmless changes in the color, shape, or consistency of your poop—such as pencil-thin stool—may actually be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Contact your doctor if you are concerned about your stools or if you notice any changes in your bowel habits or additional symptoms.

(Video) A visual guide to healthy poop


What does the color and shape of your poop mean? ›

The shape, color and smell of your bodily waste can signal if something inside of you isn't operating at 100% efficiency. Hard, lumpy doo-doo may mean you're dehydrated, for instance. Red stool? That may be a sign of rectal bleeding. A pungent poop could indicate an infection or other concerns.

What are the different shapes of poop? ›

It's broken up into seven categories based on a 2,000-person study published back in 1992, and it makes poop knowledge basic and easy to understand.
  • Type 1: Marbles. ...
  • Type 2: Caterpillar. ...
  • Type 3: Hot dog. ...
  • Type 4: Snake. ...
  • Type 5: Amoebas. ...
  • Type 6: Soft serve. ...
  • Type 7: Jackson Pollock.

What color and shape is healthy poop? ›

A healthy stool, then, should reflect a mixture of all the colors of the food you eat and that bile. Almost any shade of brown, or even green, is considered OK.

What are the types and Colours of poop? ›

Stool color chart and what does it mean
ColorPotential cause
BrownNormal color.
YellowDiseases of the pancreas, malabsorption, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Giardia infection
Clay, pale yellow, or whiteLiver or biliary disease, lack of bile in the stool
BlackGI bleeding
5 more rows

What do unhealthy bowel movements look like? ›

Be sure to see your healthcare provider right away if your poop color is bright red, black, or pale, or if you have additional symptoms like abdominal pain. You should also see your healthcare provider if it is consistently thin or pencil-like, loose or watery, or accompanied by mucus or pus.

What does stress poop look like? ›

Mushy stool with fluffy pieces that have a pudding-shaped consistency is an early stage of diarrhea. This form of stool has passed through the colon quickly due to stress or a dramatic change in diet or activity level.

What color poop indicates a problem? ›

If your stool is bright red or black — which may indicate the presence of blood — seek prompt medical attention. Food may be moving through the large intestine too quickly, such as due to diarrhea. As a result, bile doesn't have time to break down completely.

What are healthy poop shapes? ›

Smooth stools—which may be sausage-shaped—indicate healthy digestion. Loose stools—which indicate diarrhea—are usually symptoms from a temporary illness, like a stomach flu, and pass within several days.

What does Type 3 stool look like? ›

Your healthcare provider will likely ask you to look at the chart and point to the number that most closely matches the look and form of your bowel movements: Type 1: Separate hard lumps (hard to pass) Type 2: Lumpy, hard, sausage-shaped. Type 3: Sausage-shaped with cracks on the surface.

Why is my poop so messy to wipe? ›

You Didn't Totally Empty Your Bowels

If you start wiping before completing a bowel movement, you're likely to have dingleberries or little chunks of poop hiding inside your butthole; this is called “turtling poop.” Wiping actual poop (as opposed to just the residue) makes a huge mess around your undercarriage.

Does healthy poop float or sink? ›

Healthy Poop Should Sink in the Toilet

Floating stools are often an indication of high fat content, which can be a sign of malabsorption, a condition in which you can't absorb enough fat and other nutrients from the food you're ingesting, reports Mount Sinai.

What does poop look like with diverticulitis? ›

Narrow or pellet-like stools: if you have advanced or severe diverticulitis, your large intestine may narrow, causing stool to become thin, narrow, or pellet-shaped.

What does different color poop mean in adults? ›

Most of the time, poop that's a different color from what you're used to isn't something to worry about. It's rare for it to be a sign of a serious condition in your digestive system. But if it's white, bright red, or black, and you don't think it's from something you ate, call your doctor.

Why is my poop light tan? ›

Your liver releases bile salts into your stools, giving the stools a brown color. If your liver is not producing enough bile, or if the flow of the bile is blocked and can't drain from your liver, your stools may become pale or clay-colored. Having occasional pale stools may not be a cause for concern.

What does Type 5 poop mean? ›

Type 5 stools are soft blobs with clear-cut edges that a person can pass easily. Some may also consider this type to be typical in those without bowel issues, while others may suggest it is too loose and may imply diarrhea.

What color stool is abnormal? ›

Normal stools are usually a light brown to dark brown color. Call your doctor if you have green, yellow, orange, clay-colored, bright red, dark red, or black stools. While there may be a harmless explanation for this, the colors can also be a sign of a serious health concern.


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