Why is my kid’s poop green?

Green poop may be disturbing in babies, but it’s typically not a cause for concern. Diet, for example eating leafy greens, also contributes to green Poop. This may otherwise be linked to diarrhea or bacterial infections.

Typically poop is brown but it can change color every day. Typically this is not a cause of concern. The reasons for green poop in children that differ depending on their age, for instance in babies, infants and teenagers.

Read on to find out what causes children to develop a green poop and when to take them to a doctor.

What causes poop to turn green?

A baby pooping
Green poop can be a common occurrence in children.

Usually poop is brown, since it contains bile. Bile is a brownish-green liquid, formed by the liver. Brown poop usually means that the liver and pancreas function properly and that enough bile is added to poop.

Since bile is a brownish-gray color it can make the poop appear gray at times. In fact, the green poop is not uncommon in babies and children.

Often, because of the way bile has blended with a baby or child’s diet, the stool may also look yellow or mildly orange.

Diet and diarrhea are among the most common causes for turning green in children’s poop:

Diet

A kid’s poop turns white much of the time when the kid has eaten something white. Foods that contain chlorophyll will turn our poop green, which is the material that makes the plants green. The same effect can have on artificial food coloring.

Foods which can cause a green poop in children include:

  • leafy greens, including spinach, kale, and lettuce
  • candy, frosting, or cakes that contain artificial coloring
  • iron supplements, which can turn the poop green or black

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is also a factor in changes in the poop tone. Diarrhea happens when the small intestine is unable to consume enough water which is mostly due to a infection.

Since diarrhea changes the amount of water and electrolytes in the poop, and because the material moves faster than normal through the digestive system, the color of the poop that shift.

Some common causes of baby and child diarrhoea include:

Chronic diarrhea in a baby or child could signal an underlying condition, such as:

  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • food allergies or intolerances, such as to gluten due to Celiac disease
  • hyperthyroidism
  • cancer, although this is very rare

Parasites can cause diarrhea, too. Since kids are notoriously bad at washing their hands, they are more vulnerable to parasites.

Giardia is a parasite that produces infected bowel movements that propagate by touch. People with giardiasis frequently grow diarrhea and a stubble with a greasy appearance. The stubble often looks gray.

Green poop in babies and infants

Milk formula may cause green poop.
Milk formula may cause green poop.

Green poop in infants and infants — referring to children under the age of 1 — is common, and comforting even.

Because neonates and infants can eat only breast milk or formula, their poop color appears to be more consistent than it is in older children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states:

  • Breastfed babies typically have a mustard-yellow stool. It may look seedy or have slight hints of green. Poop color may change with the mother’s diet.
  • Formula-fed babies should have tan or yellow poop with traces of green. Sometimes the poop may look more green than others.

Although green poop is nothing to think about in children, green poop is dangerous followed by diarrhea. Globally, diarrhea is the second-largest cause of death for children under the age of 5.

The key diarrhoea risk is dehydration. Caregivers who find symptoms of diarrhea in infants should monitor signs of dehydration carefully. Including:

  • absence of a wet diaper for 3 hours or more
  • crying with no tears
  • dry lips or mouth
  • sunken eyes or cheeks in advanced cases
  • sunken soft spot on top of the head, also in advanced cases

Loose stools in babies younger than 10 days are normal. If the baby shows no other symptoms of disease, loose stools or green stools usually aren’t due to diarrhea.

Babies under 2 months of age who have diarrhea should be taken by parents to a pediatrician.

When a baby has diarrhea, start feeding them as normal, unless otherwise advised by a pediatrician. In fact, sick babies benefit from breast milk and it can avoid starvation, so feed on demand whenever the baby needs to eat, even if it is more often than normal.

Green poop in toddlers and children

When children start consuming solids and gradually wean from breast milk or formula, food in green poop becomes a more common culprit. This includes leafy greens and colorings in artificial food.

Parents shouldn’t think about green feces, as long as a kid is healthy otherwise.

However, diarrhea can be dangerous in children, especially if it lasts for several days. Parents should be watching for symptoms of dehydration including:

  • infrequent peeing or none at all
  • dry, chapped lips
  • dry or itchy skin
  • low energy
  • not sweating
  • lack of tears when crying
  • very dark urine
  • irritability

To prevent dehydration, caregivers can consider offering their child a pediatric electrolyte drink and encouraging the child to continue drinking water.

Most cases of diarrhea clear up without treatment, but sometimes it is more serious. It is vital to monitor symptoms and ask a child to tell you if they begin feeling worse.

When to see a doctor

A doctor directing a mother about the health of her son
A doctor should assess a child with very dark or pale poop.

Not all poop color changes are as harmless as green poop.

Pale poop

Pale or clay-colored stool may cause a liver, gallbladder or pancreatic problem. That is because when one of those colors is, there’s less bile in the toilet. If that happens, a person should check with a doctor right away.

When other signs are present, such as pain or vomiting, they must go to the emergency room

Dark poop

Very dark poop in newborns who are just a few days old is normal. This poop is called meconium, and eventually will pass.

Very dark poop may mean there is gastrointestinal bleeding in older babies and infants. Careful monitoring of the symptoms is important, because doctors call if they do not improve within 12 hours.

When blood is in a child’s urine, if a child poops blood, they must be taken directly to the emergency department.

Warning signs

See a doctor if a child or baby has diarrhea, and any of the following symptoms:

  • signs of dehydration
  • vomiting for longer than a day
  • fever higher than 100.4°F
  • lack of interest in eating

Outlook

Parenting is full of distressing moments. Many parents are being highly tuned to adjust the poop of their child and can identify early signs of disease.

But green poop on its own almost never means anything is wrong, meaning parents can mark the concern off their list. As with any signs, if anything appears especially untoward, they can call a pediatrician or if there is a significant shift in what’s usual for their children.

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