In most cases, excrement should be brown. While diet may sometimes result in a change of color (for instance, blueberries may turn bowels blue and beets will frequently cause a red tint) poop is supposed to be brown. Colors other than brown may indicate a health issue.
White or clay-colored stools may indicate a lack of bile in the stool – this may be caused by insufficient bile output or obstruction due to conditions such as gallstones, parasitic infection, hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, etc. However, medications such as antacids, Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate may also cause this color. Remember that stomach acids are an important part of digestion, and antacids taken too frequently may actually cause heartburn as well as digestion and elimination issues
Green stool is typically caused by overactive or increased bowel transit time, meaning the bile doesn’t have time to change from green to brown. This may be caused by food poisoning, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or other diseases, as well as alcoholism and the side effects of some medications including antibiotics or over the counter drugs
Yellow stool is primarily caused by an inability to digest fat – inadequate digestive enzyme production from the pancreas, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis or intestinal infections
Black, tarry stools are typically caused by bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, colon) – this may also be a symptom of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, intestinal infection or diverticulosis, and gastritis, or it could be indicative of cancer; however, black licorice, blueberries, beets, tomatoes, lead, iron pills and medications like Pepto-Bismol may also cause this appearance
Red stool is typically caused by intestinal bleeding – although the stool is not usually entirely red, the causes are similar to those of black, tarry stool but may also be caused by food coloring and certain dietary supplements
As with adults and children, baby poops can be a sign of how the body is functioning, but it is different for breastfed as opposed to bottle fed infants.
Breastfed babies typically have yellow poop that’s speckled with little seeds like fancy mustard and will poop more than once a day – usually after they are fed
Bottle fed babies have tan, yellow or greenish poop and will typically need a diaper changed once a day
Be aware that a breastfed baby may absorb the nutrients in their mother’s milk more completely so it’s not completely uncommon for a breastfed baby to go a few days without a bowel movement. However, if they’re straining or uncomfortable this could be a sign of constipation. Babies that have bloody stools or mucus in their stools should be taken to their primary care provider.