Don’t worry, you’re probably not dying: your green poop is likely normal, doctors say.
If you’re here reading this, something has turned up that doesn’t seem quite right. Instead of self-diagnosing yourself with some rare incurable disease, Inverse is here with a voice of reason to tell you what’s up with your poop and why what you’re seeing is nothing to freak out about.
Green poop is most often accompanied by diarrhea, which causes your food to move through your digestive tract too quickly, according to the Mayo Clinic. When this happens, the bile in your system— a liquid that digests fats — doesn’t have enough time to break down and turn brown. Bile is naturally a greenish color, and so can tint your poop that way.
While diarrhea is no fun, it’s very normal and could just be the sign of an inconsequential bacterial infection, gastroenterologist Dr. Jean-Pierre Raufman tells Inverse.
Iron supplements, which anemic people often take, can also color poop green, Raufman says. Additionally, you should consider what you’ve eaten in the past day, because green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli can affect the poop, the Mayo Clinic says. Food dye, which is commonly used in all sorts of food and in all sorts of colors, can also affect your poop, Raufman says.
So, you’re going to be just fine. It’s incredibly normal for your poop to turn a number of different shades, Raufman says, especially because of the factors that affect it both internally — gastrointestinal and other health issues — and externally — what you consume, both food and drugs.
But if your poop is green for a continuous amount of time, it’s probably a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. Otherwise, Healthline says: “If you experience green stool as a one-off, it’s highly unlikely to be cause for concern.”