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Green stool

Medically reviewed on May 30, 2018

Definition

Green stool — when your feces look green — is usually the result of something you ate, such as spinach. Certain medications or iron supplements can also cause green stool.

Newborns pass a dark green stool called meconium, and breast-fed infants often produce yellow-green stools. In older children and adults, green stool is uncommon. It's rarely cause for concern.

Causes

Infants

Infants might have green stool as a result of:

  • Not finishing nursing entirely on one side, thus missing some of the high-fat-content breast milk, which affects the digestion of the milk
  • Protein hydrolysate formula (for babies with milk or soy allergy)
  • Lack of normal intestinal bacteria in breast-fed infants
  • Diarrhea

Children and adults

Causes of green stool include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Diet high in green vegetables such as spinach
  • Food dyes
  • Indomethacin – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • Iron supplements
  • Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera), a contraceptive drug

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you or your child has green stool for more than a few days. Green stool often occurs with diarrhea, so drink plenty of fluids and seek immediate medical attention if you or your child becomes dehydrated.

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