Joyous Blog

What the Colour of Your Poo Says About You

Mar 6, 2010 BY Joy McCarthy

Check out the updated post:What Your Poo Says About You!

When you have a bowel movement, your body is providing you with incredible insight as to the state of your health and digestion. If you don't regularly check the toilet bowl after having a bowel movement then you should! Please note: "stools", "crap", "bowel movements", "BMs" all refer to "POOP". Here's what you need to know:

Black-coloured poop:

iron supplements or foods high in iron

Pepto-Bismol or other meds with bismuth

acidified blood (blood from higher in the digestive tract)

Tylenol and other pain meds

black licorice

large amounts of spinach or other greens


other foods dark in color

Red-coloured poop:

blood (such as from Constipated? Reasons Why Your Poop Isn't Leaving In A Timely Fashion


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. "Bleeding in the Digestive Tract." National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. November 2004. 22 Apr 2009.

A.D.A.M. Health Illustrated Encyclopedia. "Bloody or tarry stools." A.D.A.M. 25 July 2007. 22 Apr 2009.

A.D.A.M. Health Illustrated Encyclopedia. "Stools - pale or clay-colored." A.D.A.M. 8 Aug 2008. 23 Apr 2009.

Mar 6, 2010 BY Joy McCarthy
angepeets   •   March 6, 2010

I've been looking forward to this post! I often find my morning oats pass right through me because I scarf them down in the 10 minutes I have before my 8 month old starts fussing! Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at your RAW cooking class

joyousness   •   March 6, 2010

Hey! That's great, so glad you are coming to the class tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone!

Jane   •   March 6, 2010

Love this article. I am always too embarrassed to ask my doctor about these sorts of things. So what do you suggest one do to improve the health of their BM's if they are not the right colour?

joyousness   •   March 6, 2010

Thanks Jane! Don't worry, most people feel the same as you. There are MANY things one can do to improve their digestion and it's truly one of the most important aspects of human health. Good health stems from a clean gut which means good BM's. Diet, exercise and limiting stress are all very critical. While I realize that's a pretty broad response, everyone is different and it's not until I do a nutritional assessment/intake on a client that I can properly advise and recommend what to eliminate and add to your diet. So while I would love to give recos over my blog, I'm a bit hesitant because everyone is different. However, I won't leave you hanging, I suggest you peruse my blog and there are a plethora of tips for good digestion, everything from chewing slowly, to avoiding drinking liquids while eating food. Hope that helps!

marty   •   March 6, 2010

I have noticed my BM's are often pale and wimpy looking after a night of drinking beer. While I realize this is not healthy, I'm a guy - I like beer!

joyousness   •   March 6, 2010

Sounds like you need to give your liver some love Marty :) Your liver is the primary organ for detoxifying alcohol, as I'm sure you are aware. The fact that your stools are pale and "wimpy" looking may very well be related to your night of drinking. I have a liver loving detox package you should check out! Visit my services page. As well, cutting back on drinking is obviously going to improve your health immensely. Hope that helps!

aaronjreid   •   March 7, 2010

Speaking from experience, yes, eating beets will turn your poo a deep red coulour, but if you eat a whole lot of beets, your urine will also turn red which I didn't know before it happened...


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday   •   March 8, 2010

My green smoothie weekends lead to green poop, which, I think, is the coolest thing ever!

joyousness   •   March 9, 2010

LOL, that's funny!

Shunyo   •   March 13, 2010

Lol , great post and comments too. BM is a very important indicator of our situation and often ignored one !


The Dame   •   March 30, 2010

I also heard there is a difference if they sink or swim, whats that about?

joyousness   •   March 31, 2010

Yes, you want it to sink. Floaters are usually a sign that you are not properly breaking down fat. However, it's hard to say without doing a proper wellness intake evaluation. That is the most common cause.

Pooh Colour Can Tell a Story! « Webster & Associates   •   May 3, 2010

[...] What the Colour of Your Poo Says About You [...]


7 Tips to Avoid Summer Holiday Weight Gain « joyous health   •   May 31, 2010

[...] fibre so u don’t get “bunged” up so to speak. Translation, many of my clients tell me they don’t go to the bathroom for [...]


Miranda @ Mirandasjeans   •   June 19, 2010

I have def taken notice after eating beats and lots of spinach or kale that's fore sure! Great article!


Constipated? Reasons your poop isn’t leaving in a timely fashion |   •   July 13, 2011

[...] set the record straight that if you are not pooping every single day (and by that I mean having a good quality bowel movement) this is NOT normal, despite what your doctor tells you.  The number of clients who [...]


drake   •   July 21, 2011

Thanks for the article, and a big thank you for not posting any pictures! now to eat some beets...


Lara Delecheneau   •   January 13, 2013


Joy McCarthy   •   January 13, 2013

HAHA! I'm glad you are so excited!!!

Joyous Health   •   March 15, 2013

[...] 2010, I wrote a post that quickly became one of my most popular: What the Colour of your Poo Says About You. Due to the popularity of this post and also because I recently finished writing the chapter on [...]


Sue   •   August 21, 2013

I'm been feeling sick for 2 weeks and my poo is very pale and floats, I have butterflies in my stomach, I just feel unwell, please can you help.?


Claire   •   December 28, 2013

So I ate nothing but pre sliced carrots and drank coffee since 2pm yesterday and it's now 11am. I probably had a third of the bag because I grabbed it to go to work. Is this enough to turn my poop orange? It was probably 1-2 cups.. and it was a darker orange

Joy McCarthy   •   December 30, 2013

It's tough to say, but that could be the cause. I would suggest you try some delicious recipes here!

oly   •   January 15, 2015

hi! just wanna have another question - i had a beef burger and some beef cubes last night and a pint of cider and i had one piece of normal brown poop after that. i thought i was a bit constipated because usually i had to wait for quite a while and there was only one piece of poop (though it wasn't small or pellet-sized). but then this morning, after breakfast i had to go quite urgently again. i thought it was diarrhea but it was just normal poop in texture, a few banana-shaped pieces and it was easy to come out. BUT it was super dark in colour. I'm not sure if it's like BLACK black but it certainly wasn't a nice normal brown :( i could still see white pieces of nuts that I eat (I eat some nuts everyday). my question is...could it be bleeding? My dark poop was not sticky, but it was normal in texture and it didn't really smell bad at all. Also, if it's really bleeding, then wouldn't the blood cover the white nut pieces?

oly   •   January 15, 2015

I'd like to add that I've had too much coffee yesterday, and junk food together with my beef burger. Not sure if that contributes to darker stool?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   January 16, 2015

Hi Oly, Food can alter the colour of your stool, but if you suspect blood in your stool, we always recommend checking with your primary healthcare practitioner, just to be sure. It never hurts to check to be on the safe side. Kate - Joyous Health Team

Gaynelle williams   •   April 3, 2015

I didn't see a question about what the color black poop means


Paul   •   September 7, 2016

Rainbow coloured nuggets in a 2yo


Tarica   •   March 5, 2017

I eat corn night before it came out bloody the next day why

Rachel Molenda   •   March 6, 2017

Hey Tarica, Not entirely sure about this one as it could indicate a number of things but typically when you see blood in your stool, it's best to consult with your natural health care practitioner. Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Post Comment

More Posts
A curated collection of our favourites! LEARN MORE