Bowel movements change colors, and the color of your stool can alert you to certain health problems. Stools vary widely in color, along with shape and size, but any change in your routine bowel movements over a period of more than two days warrants your attention. More often than not, a lot of people pay little if any attention to their stool, which is a mistake.
In most cases, a change in the usual color of your stool reflects the foods you have recently consumed and is no cause for concern. Beets and other red colored foods can actually give your stool a reddish color. Green vegetables like spinach can cause your stool to appear green. Foods such as blueberries can even change the color of your stool to black.
Therefore, a change in the color of your stool is most likely caused by certain foods or medications, and is no cause at all for alarm. But there are other possible causes for a change in stool color that can be serious; which is why it is important to monitor the color of your stool.
The presence of bright red blood in the toilet usually suggests hemorrhoids, or with women, it could be spotty periods, which is not particularly serious. But when blood is associated with the stool it could mean you are experiencing internal bleeding and that is serious, especially if it is actually blended with the stool.
When your bowel movements seem a bit slimy and rather buoyant, you could be having trouble absorbing fat which is indicative of problems associated with the small bowel or pancreas. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing this. Gray colored stools are commonly seen in cases of mal-absorption.
Black, tarry stools with an unusually foul- smell (Melena), may be cause for alarm because it suggests blood in the stool, indicating a potential serious problem somewhere along the GI tract. Black stools suggest that the problem is in the upper GI. If you are experiencing black, tarry, sticky stools not associated with any foods or medications, you should contact your doctor right away.
Bowel movements that appear maroon in color ( hematochezi) suggests a problem in the lower GI. Common causes include disorders such as, intestinal infection, diverticulitis, polyps and bleeding Ulcer, just to name a few.
In conclusion, it is important to contact your doctor if blood accompanies your bowel movements as it could be something as serious as colon cancer. Early detection of colon cancer means a better chance of treating it successfully. It is important to monitor the color of your bowel movements to make sure your body is functioning properly.