Children health

What Causes Green Poop In Toddlers, Infants & Adults?

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The color of your stool says a lot about your general health. This is true for both adults and toddlers. Though a green stool may seem alarming, it is rarely a sign of something serious. 

Some of the possible causes will include dietary changes, medication, and possible intestinal problems.

This article offers you an insight into some of the causes, symptoms, and how to manage green poop in both children and adults.

What causes green poop in adults

The truth is that the color and texture of your baby’s poop can be an excellent indicator of the overall health. In most cases, green poop is considered normal and can result from eating green foods.

There are however some isolated cases when the green poop can be a sign of an underlying condition.

In toddlers, green poop may result from any of the following:

1. Dietary Causes

Just like in adults, your child’s diet can greatly affect the color and texture of the stool. Such foods may include, green vegetables or food dyed with green, blue or purple food coloring.

To be sure that the green poop is only the result of dietary causes, avoid these foods for about three days to see if the stool returns to normal.

2. Excess mucus and bile

Decrease colonic time or rapid transit, which is the time when bile travels faster than normal to reach the intestine is also a possible cause of green poop in both adults and toddlers.

With this condition, the bile does not have time to change from its regular green color to brown.

3. Supplement and medication

Your toddlers’ poop can also turn green as a result of taking some medication and iron supplements. Also, speeding up the bowel activity through the use of laxatives can change the stool to green.

Indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is one of the medications that can cause your baby’s stool to turn green.

4. Food poisoning

Food poising is also a possible cause of green poop in toddlers. For a child, the digestive system is very sensitive to a variety of different foods. In children, E Coli, a bacterial infection is the most common cause of food poisoning.

Common symptoms will include:

  • Dark to light green stool
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you need to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

6. Underlying medical condition

As said, green poop can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Some of these conditions will include:

  • Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of your baby’s gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus
  • Ulcerative colitis an IBD that causes long-lasting inflammation and sores in your tract
  • Celiac disease, a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the small intestine
  • Allergies
  • malabsorption

7. Meconium

For the first few days, newborn babies pass meconium, a dark green colored stool. For a baby, the stool is a combination of all the contents that he or she consumed while in the womb.

This will include bile, water, amniotic fluid, mucus and epithelial cells. After the initial three days, the sterile stool may turn yellow to green once the baby starts to digest the breast milk.

Green poop in children

Green poop in toddlers is not uncommon. As a parent, you need to carefully examine the color and texture of your baby’s bowel movement every now and then.

The color, texture and amount of stool can say a lot the health and nutrition of your baby.

Normally, the color of your child’s stool may keep changing. From when the baby is young, the poop may change from a thick black meconium (with a greenish tint) to a mustard-like substance.

As the baby grows, its diet will have a direct impact on the color and texture of the bowel. Babies on an iron-fortified formula of an iron supplement may pass a dark, green poop.

When he or she is on breast milk alone, the baby may have yellow poop. Green poop in children may be a sign of any of the following:

8. What your baby eats

The color of your baby’s’ stool to change in color as your baby grows and start eating solid foods. Normally, foods such as peas, beans, spinach and other greens can cause the color of your child to turn green.

9. Stomach bug and virus

Green poop in toddlers can also be a sign that your baby is ill. Stomach bug and virus can have a great impact on the color and consistency of your baby’s’ stool. In such cases, this will often be accompanied by diarrhea.

10. Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions and food sensitivity can also cause the green poop and a mucus-like consistency. In rare cases, the green poop can be a side effect of a drug or medicine your baby is on. In such cases, the green poop may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Stomach problems
  • Skin irritations and
  • Breathing issues

Breastfed baby green poop

A breastfeeding baby poop can have a wide variety of color and texture. It is not uncommon for a breastfed baby to have green stool, consistently green stool is however not normally for a breastfed baby.

Though this might in some cases be a cause for concern, most doctors and healthcare practitioner seem not to recognize green stool as a sign of a potential problem.

A consistently green stool in breastfeeding babies can be a sign of any of the following:

  • An allergic reaction or sensitivity to something in the mothers’ diet
  • An imbalance of foremilk (milk at the beginning of feeding) this will often result in a frothy green stool
  • Plenty of green foods in mothers diet
  • It could also be a sign that your baby is ill,  this will range from things such as intestinal virus or even a simple cold
  • For a breastfeeding baby that has started solid foods, the poop color change can be attributed to the solid foods

Bright green poop in toddlers

As mentioned, your baby stool can have an array of colors and different texture depending on what your baby is on. An unusual bright green poop in toddlers is almost always due to food coloring or additives but can also in rare cases be a sign of something serious.

A dark green poop may look like black, this is considered a normal stool color. On the other hand, a bright green poop may be a sign that your baby is missing some important food nutrients.

When the poop is red, black or white, this is often a sign of an underlying medical condition.

In children just like in adults, poop color is almost always due to food coloring or additives. Normally, your stool color will relate to what is eaten than to any disease.

When not sure what might be causing the consistent bright poop, we recommend you have your pediatrician check on your baby as soon as possible.

Green bowel movements

Bowel movement often varies from person to person. The truth is, there is no one complete description of a normal bowel movement.

Lack of a daily bowel movement does not mean that your baby is constipated, just like having more than one bowel movement a day does not mean that your baby has diarrhea.

For a toddler, a bowel movement should be soft and easy to pass. In most cases, the stool should be brown or golden brown. Thee poop should have a texture similar to peanut butter and size and shape close to a sausage.

In children with diarrhea, the gastrointestinal passage time is very rapid, in such cases, the stools will often come out the same color as the fluid of food that they consumed.

In most of the cases, a green bowel movement or that which varies a bit from the above description is often not a cause for alarm, especially for isolated cases.

However, if your child’s poop suddenly changes and persist for more than three bowel movements, is important you have him or her checked by a professional healthcare practitioner.

See Also: 

Black bowel movement toddler

In children, a red or black bowel movement is often a sign that something is wrong with your baby.

Though green poop is considered normal, a dark green stool will often appear black, if this persists for more than two bowel movement, it is important to have it checked out by your healthcare provider.

A black bowel movement may result from any of the following:

  • Eating foods such as licorice, cookies or grape juice
  • Too much bile that causes dark green poop that appears black under poor lighting
  • The black stool can also result from stomach bleeding
  • The black bowel movement can also the result of taking medications such as iron, bismuth among others
  • For crawling kids, the black poop can be the result of eating ashes, sand or charcoal

If you are not sure what might be causing the black poop, we recommend you have your pediatrician check on him or her. In most of the cases, the poop will clear and your baby may start having normal poop.

Remember, your baby may have a ranger of poop color. The color and texture of the poop often vary with what your baby eats or consumes during the day or at night.

See Also: What Causes White Poop In Toddlers, And Children 

Symptoms of toddler’s diarrhea

How common is diarrhea in toddlers? Diarrhea is quite common in toddlers, in most of the cases, it is often food related. Other common causes include virus and stomach bugs among other multitudes of reasons.

Though common in children than in adults, diarrhea can be a cause for concern especially when your baby is not able to keep anything down or other symptoms persists for more than a week or two.

Like with normal stool, the color of the stool will often vary depending on what your baby eats and the amount of bile in the stool.

So what would cause your baby to have diarrhea? Normally, the reasons your baby has diarrhea will often range from what your baby eats to possible underlying conditions.

Other possible causes of toddler’s diarrhea may include:

  • Eating greasy foods
  • Taking lots of fried foods
  • Ear infections
  • Certain medications such as laxatives and antibiotics
  • Viruses and stomach bugs
  • Irritable bowel diseases, Cohn’s disease, and celiac disease
  • Food allergy and
  • Food poisoning, symptoms will include vomiting and often clear within 24 hours

The symptoms of diarrhea in children may vary depending on what the underlying cause of the diarrhea is.  The best way to diagnose diarrhea is to look at both the frequency and texture of the poop.

In most of the cases, one or two bowel movement is considered normal, but when the stool is runny or uncontrollable, it is most likely diarrhea.

  • With diarrhea, you will need to look at possible symptoms of dehydration.  This may include cracked lips, dry sticky mouth, dark yellow urine, decreased urination, and tearless crying among other signs.
  • To prevent your child from becoming dehydrated, make sure he or she consumes plenty of water, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

How to treat diarrhea in toddlers

Mild cases of diarrhea in toddlers can easily be treated at home with simple remedies. However, if the symptoms persist or your child becomes dehydrated and seems not to respond well to the remedies, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Here is what you need to simply treat diarrhea in toddlers fast and naturally at home:

a) Mashed or whole banana

b) Boiled rice, make sure to avoid spices

c) Fresh applesauce

d) Toast with peanut butter, you need to avoid butter

e) When caused by antibiotics, studies show that probiotics with live cultures can help ease and clear diarrhea, the best option is to give your baby yogurt.

f) You also need to offer your baby lots of liquids to replace fluids lost due to diarrhea. An alternative would be to give him or her electrolyte solution as prescribed by a pediatrician

NOTE:

It is not a good idea to give your baby adult ant-diarrhea medication.  If you have to give your child any kind of medication make sure it is prescribed by a professional healthcare provider.

It is said that medications such as antibiotics and anti-diarrhea could be harmful to children and toddlers with diarrhea. A common risk of using anti-diarrhea is that it could worsen the symptoms and delay treatment.

You need to eliminate high-fiber and fatty foods until your baby is fully recovered. Such foods can worsen diarrhea.

Sources:

  1. Mayo clinic, green stool: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/green-stool/basics/definition/sym-20050708
  2. Health line, why is my kid’s poop green: https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/green-poop-in-kids
  3. Why your toddler’s poo is green: http://www.just-health.net/Green-Poop-Toddler.html
  4. Healthy children, Unusual stool color: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/symptom-checker/Pages/symptomviewer.aspx?symptom=Stools+-+Unusual+Color
  5. Mommy Edition, How to treat diarrhea in toddlers: http://www.mommyedition.com/how-to-treat-diarrhea-in-toddlers-age-1-4-years-old
  6. WebMD, causes, and treatment of diarrhea in children: https://www.webmd.com/children/guide/diarrhea-treatment#1

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