Change in Stool Colour and Texture

Buttock Rectum | Gastroenterology | Change in Stool Colour and Texture (Symptom)


The excrement or stools are commonly brown. Changes in stool color are usually inoffensive and are induced by the food ingested. However, changes in the color of stool can also be caused by a number of minor to serious medical conditions and can occur with certain medications.


The color of the stool is usually due to the presence of bile specifically, the bilirubin in bile. Bilirubin is formed from hemoglobin released from red blood cells. The released hemoglobin is chemically modified in the liver. Depending on the concentration of bilirubin, bile can vary from almost black to yellow. Bile travels through the bile ducts and gallbladder and intestines.

A black stool can also occur due to bleeding in the intestines or consuming food rich in iron or even in case of iron supplements ingestion.

Beets and possibly some other red vegetables and fruits can turn stool a reddish color. Maroon stool can be caused by intestinal bleeding from the middle intestine or proximal colon due to ulcers, tumors, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. Clay-colored stool is induced by a lack of bile due to blockage of the main bile duct and pale yellow, greasy, foul-smelling stool: malabsorption of fat due to pancreatic insufficiency, as seen with Pancreatitis, Pancreatic cancer, Cystic fibrosis, Celiac disease.

Changes in stool color that lasts more time and do not occur in only one stool may be a sigh of a serious medical condition and should be evaluated.