These contractions help move food through your digestive tract, but if they’re too strong and long-lasting, you might wind up with IBS-D, which stands for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. If your muscle contractions are too weak, you may deal with IBS-C, which is IBS that causes constipation. If it’s really a toss-up depending on the day, welcome to life with IBS-M, or IBS involving a mix of both constipation and diarrhea. No matter your kind of IBS, you may also experience abdominal cramping, gas, and mucus in your stool.
If you have IBS-D or IBS-M, you might get diarrhea and have other symptoms during flare-ups, which can be triggered by stress, foods including wheat, dairy, and citrus, or hormonal changes like being on your period. As with many of the other issues on this list, if IBS is forcing your stool to rush through your body too quickly, you can wind up with green diarrhea.
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS-D or IBS-M and you pretty much have things under control, you don’t need to freak out over the occasional green poop. But if you’re regularly having green diarrhea, and it seems to be linked with things like eating certain foods or feeling overwhelmed with stress, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. Together, you may be able to figure out if there’s more you can do to avoid flare-ups.
5. You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Though these inflammatory bowel diseases have various differences, they can both make you more prone to diarrhea that might look green.
Crohn’s disease causes irritation in your digestive system, usually in your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases. Diarrhea is a major symptom, and it can be green because of undigested bile, Dr. Shen says. If you have Crohn’s, you might also experience other symptoms like stomach pain, fatigue, fever, weight loss, bloody poop, reduced appetite, and malnutrition, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Ulcerative colitis happens when you have inflammation and sores in your digestive tract, usually in your large intestine and rectum, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to diarrhea, you might experience abdominal cramping, rectal pain, a sensation of really needing to poop, bleeding when you do actually poop, weight loss, fatigue, fever, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Much like with IBS, doctors aren’t exactly sure of what causes inflammatory bowel diseases. And, unfortunately, treating these conditions may require some trial and error. If you’re dealing with persistent poop problems, stomach pain, and anything else that seems concerning, see your doctor to see if you have an inflammatory bowel disease.
6. You’re taking iron supplements.
First things first: You should only take iron supplements if your doctor says they’re necessary due to an issue like iron deficiency anemia. This happens when you lack enough iron for your body to create hemoglobin, a protein that’s essential for healthy red blood cells. If you start taking iron supplements without a doctor’s guidance, you might accidentally ingest too much and wind up with symptoms like nausea and vomiting, so you shouldn’t just decide to take them out of nowhere.
Now that you know that, if you do need to take iron supplements, keep in mind that they can cause green or black poop, Dr. Bedford says. If your poop is black, it actually may be a sign that your body is absorbing the iron properly, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. On the other hand, green poop when you’re taking iron supplements may be a sign your body isn’t absorbing the nutrient properly, Dr. Bedford explains, in which case you should talk to a doctor to see if you need to adjust your formulation or dosage.
7. You recently had your gallbladder removed.
Now, for the last stop on the bile train: Removal of your gallbladder, which stores bile, can result in green poop. This pear-shaped organ might need to be removed if you have gallstones, which are hard deposits of material that can block the flow of bile and cause a world of hurt. Also known as a cholecystectomy, this is one of the most common surgeries in the United States.