Home » Four colours to watch out for in your toilet bowl and when to see your GP

Four colours to watch out for in your toilet bowl and when to see your GP

As a nation we’re quite reserved, especially when it comes to talking about our toilet habits. But bowel problems are more common than you think – an estimated 6.5 million people in the UK have bowel issues.

The more people open up the conversation on things like the ideal colour of poo and the shape of your bowel movements, the more people will become aware of the signs of serious health concerns.

This is something that gut health expert Gemma Stuart, founding owner of Gutsy Health, makers of Gut Wealth, believes. She said: “Getting to know your gut and what’s normal for you is key.”

Gemma revealed four colours in your poo that could mean it’s time to see a GP. The first colour is green.

Green

Finding small bits of green in your stool is completely normal, but it’s slightly more unusual to find an emerald poo staring up at you from the bowl.

Gemma said: “If you’ve recently added more green foods to your diet, like spinach, it may be that there’s more chlorophyll in your stool which accounts for the colour. If you’ve recently come off a round of antibiotics, bacteria changes in the gut may also have interfered with your bowel movements, which isn’t a cause for concern as long as this change is temporary.

“If the cause is obvious it’s not of much concern, but green poos may also indicate stomach upsets due to bacteria such as salmonella, or even some parasites.”

White

A pale-looking poo is likely due to a lack of bile, which is what gives a typical stool its brown colour.

Gemma explained: “Taking medication for gut issues such as diarrhoea may account for this, but a pale poo may also be a sign of a blocked bile duct, which could be due to gallstones, tumours, or an early indication of pancreatic issues.

“It’s time to talk to a GP. A biliary obstruction can become progressively worse over time and it’s always best to consult a professional as soon as you can.”

Red

Believe it or not, a red poo isn’t necessarily a red flag, said Gemma. She advised: “Adding more foods like beetroot, tomatoes or cranberries into your diet can give your stool this daring new hue. However, red poos can also be a sign of fresh blood, which may be caused by haemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, or even bowel cancer.

“A one-off may not be an emergency, but if you find red in the bowl and you’re not sure why, give your GP a ring.”

Yellow

A yellow stool is most likely an indicator of undigested fat, which may be accounted for if you’ve been eating more foods high in fats as of late.

Gemma said: “While some medications can cause yellow poo, this sickly hue may also be a sign of pancreatic diseases or malabsorption syndromes such as coeliac disease – and can even be an indicator of illnesses like jaundice.

“A yellow poo is always worth a trip to your GP – it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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