Have you ever been perplexed by green diarrhea when you stand up getting ready to flush the toilet? Most people upon seeing green excreta had just come out of them are shocked, scared and may cause them to panic. The first and foremost thing to do is not panic, as there are many different reasons why fecal matter can become green.
What Makes Stool Green?
In normal situations when your feces turns greenish it can often be attributed to natural forces. This usually comes from a dietary choice, certain foods and/or their additives can cause fecal matter to become green. These are the healthy reasons why your fecal matter may turn grassy, if these are the reasons you need not worry.
- Iron supplements and foods high rich in iron will often turn your excreta green.
- Leafy greens and roughage will often be greenish because your body cannot fully digest them and as such they leave the way the looked when you ate them.
- Certain food coloring dyes when consumed in abundance can turn green as they make their way down your digestive tract even when they’re not green when ingested. In fact green stool caused by food dye is usually from purple dyes.
- If you are concerned because your infant is producing green excrement this is perfectly normal as breast milk and the fast movement of it through their digestive tract will produce green excrement.
- Bile created in the liver that helps to break down food in the digestive tract turns brown as it slowly moves its way through your intestines. If for some reason your stool makes a quick passage, the bile may still remain greenish. If this happens on a normal basis it would be best to consult a doctor.
- Laxatives will also turn excrement green as per the description above.
That Was About Stool, What about Diarrhea?
When it comes to green diarrhea it is often a cause for concern and is usually associated with food borne illnesses. One should not panic but should consult a professional doctor on the subject as it can range from any of the following.
- Salmonella Food Poisoning
- E. Coli Food Poisoning
- Malabsorption Syndrome
- Giardia (a protozoan infection)
- Irratable Bowel Syndrome
- Pseudomembranous colitis (usually from the use of antibiotics)
Nerves Can Cause Green Diarrhea
The condition is normal and you don’t worry about it in most cases, as we mentioned above it is usually caused by diet, supplements or illness. However, many don’t realize that stress, nerves and anxiety can all play their own key roles in this concern as well.
Understanding Nerve Regulators
If you are plagued with green diarrhea, you should become familiar with the two different types of nerves that affect the digestive system.
• Intrinsic – These inside nerves create a very dense and intricate network that is embedded in your esophagus, small intestine, stomach and colon wall. These nerves react when food stretches the hollow organs. When this happens, they release substances that can either delay or speedup the production of bile and the movement of food.
• Extrinsic – The outside nerves come from the spinal cord or brain to the digestive system. These are the nerves that are most responsible for green diarrhea. The extrinsic nerves release adrenaline and acetylcholine. Adrenaline relaxes the muscles in the intestine and stomach which slows or sometimes even stops digestion. Acetylcholine has the opposite effect as it forces food through faster.
So, what does all this have to do with this concern? Well when acetylcholine is released and food is pushed through, it is still excreted while the green bile in your system is trying to digest it. You are basically not giving your digestive system time to do its job. In the process, you are throwing your system off balance and destroying good bacteria.
If you have green diarrhea and you know that food or supplements are not to blame, addressing your stress levels may be necessary. Now, it is one thing to be nervous about a big day once in a while but if you have a lot of constant weight on your shoulders, there are things that you can do to reduce stress.
• Walk – It is proven that a daily walk can improve your mood and things won’t seem so stressful anymore. When you walk or do any type of physical exercise, endorphins are released which are essentially happy hormones. Squeezing in a daily walk into your routine can reduce your risk of green diarrhea. Many people say they don’t have time but if you even get up a half hour early every day to walk, you’ll have so much more energy throughout the day that you’ll look forward to your morning exercise.
• Yoga – You cannot understand what positive effect yoga can have on you both mentally and physically until you start doing it daily.
• Meditation – Adding even five minutes of meditation to your day can significantly reduce your stress levels. No matter how hectic your day is, stopping to meditate allows you to focus on what’s really important and dismiss the things that aren’t.
Green Diarrhea in Babies and Toddlers
Such condition in babies and toddlers will often set the alarms bells ringing in parents and while many of the reasons are either normal or simply resolved they should not be dismissed out of hand.
Very young babies who are breastfeeding or taking breast milk or formula will normally have green feces and this is nothing to worry about unless the child develops excessive bowel movements and or a fever. As the baby’s digestive system develops this kind of feces will resolve of its own accord.
Infants and toddlers will present with green stool very often during their early years due to lack of solid foods, by gradually increasing the amount of solids into the diet the instances of green feces will diminish as the digestive system is able to fulfill its role in the digestion of foods and utilize both the bile and the enzymes correctly.
Infants and toddlers suffering from conditions such as salmonella poisoning will experience green diarrhea as the body tries to rid itself of the organisms which are causing irritation to the bowel and digestive system, cases of vomiting and diarrhea in babies, infants and toddlers can become very serious quickly and medical help should be sort for any youngster who is suffering from vomiting and or diarrhea.
Another very common cause in toddlers is food colorings, candy, some drinks and Jell-O etc., are all common sources of green food coloring which can color the feces greenish.
Many youngsters suffer from common child hood illnesses and things like colds or minor infections and fevers many of which the symptoms include diarrhea that can result in the feces taking on a green coloration, the most common cause of the green hue when a child is ill is lack of solid foods, they often don’t feel like eating, but by encouraging small quantities of solid foods on a regular basis will reduce the instances of the diarrhea in poorly children. The feces will usually resolve once the child starts eating properly again and there should be no detriment to the child’s general health.
Eating green leafy vegetables, herbs and salad lettuce can also cause it in toddlers and adults, the color of plants is called chlorophyll and this coloring can also stain the feces green. It isn’t harmful but can be alarming if you unaware of the possibility. Foods rich in iron such as liver can also cause the feces to take on a color of greenness.
Any child regardless of age experiencing diarrhea with or without vomiting and with or without fever, regardless of fecal color for more than 24 hours, needs to be examined by a medical professional in order to rule out any serious medical condition or infection. While many cases of this condition are totally harmless and easily resolved any concerns should be discussed with a qualified medical professional.
In any case always consult a trained physician when dealing if you are concerned about frequent bouts of green diarrhea. When one has it is always a good idea to drink plenty of liquids and stock up on electrolytes as dehydration often occurs due to diarrhea.