One of the most disturbing variations of stool is when a child’s poop is a different color than the normal brown or brown we would expect in stools.
Green manure is probably the most common of these aberrations. A pediatrician often gets calls from parents worried about an unsightly green poop their child is making.
Thankfully, green stools are very common and are in fact a normal variation of stool color. While green poop can indicate illness, it is almost never a reason for you to panic.
Discuss what it means for your child’s poop to turn green, what causes green stools, and what to do if you notice your child’s poop is green.
What is Green Poop?
It may surprise you, but green stool is actually a variation of normal stool color. As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains, “[n]Ormal stool color is any brown, tan, yellow, or green. “
When green stools are caused by something out of the ordinary, it’s usually nothing to worry about. Most cases of green stools are caused by something your child ate, vitamins or medications he or she took, or an upset stomach that leads to diarrhea.
Green stools are especially common in babies and infants, although toddlers and older children can also experience green stools occasionally.
Green stools may occur on their own or be accompanied by certain symptoms along with abdominal pain:
- Normally formed stools can sometimes look bluish; Green is a normal color variation of stool
- Sometimes stools are black but can actually be dark green
- Green stools can also be accompanied by loose stools, as in the case of diarrhea
There are many causes of green stools in babies and toddlers, and they rarely indicate a serious medical problem.
Children of all ages experience green poop at one time or another, but the cause and frequency can vary depending on your child’s age.
Newborns, and especially infants, are most likely to have green stools. Here are some of the most likely causes:
- A newborn’s first meconium looks dull black, but can also be green
- Excess bile can cause green stools
- A breastfed baby’s poop, as it transitions from meconium to mature milk, may look green
- Green stools can indicate a pre/postmilk imbalance in a breastfed baby, resulting in your baby getting most of the foremilk (watery milk) than the hindmilk (thicker, fatter milk). ). While this may cause abdominal discomfort, it does not indicate a milk supply problem or your milk supply problem.
- Green stools may indicate a food intolerance in the mother’s diet, in which case the child may show discomfort or gas.
- Green stools, especially when accompanied by streaks of blood, may indicate an allergy to something in the nursing mother’s diet or formula ingredients.
- Some brands of formula produce green stools
- Viral or bacterial infections can cause loose, green stools
- Your baby’s poop may turn green when you add solid foods to his diet, especially green vegetables
- When your child enters daycare and begins to interact with other children, they are more likely to contract a virus that can cause diarrhea — usually diarrhea that produces loose, watery greenish stools
- As children widen their palate, they may encounter foods that cause their stools to turn green, such as spinach, other greens, and foods that contain dyes.
- If your child is taking infant formula or supplements, their stools may turn green.
- Vitamins, especially those containing iron, can cause green stools
- If your child is recovering from a stomach virus and is taking Pedialyte with grape flavor, they may have bright green stools as a result.
In older children
For babies and toddlers, your older child may have green stools due to the following:
- Consumption of green food
- Take medicine or vitamins
- Diarrhea or abdominal pain can cause green stools
You may not be looking at an older child’s poop as often as you do with an infant or toddler (thank God for potty training!), but you can encourage your child to report any anything different in the color or consistency of the stool.
What color is the red flag?
According to the AAP, green manure is almost never a cause for concern. However, green, loose, or watery stools are often a sign of diarrhea, which requires attention and care in children of all ages.
There are stool colors that can indicate a problem. If your child’s stools are white, red (especially bright red) or black, you should contact your pediatrician. Stools of those colors may not be a problem, but they warrant a mention to your doctor and possibly an examination at the doctor’s office.
Green stools rarely indicate a medical emergency, so you can call your doctor during normal business hours if your child has green stools and you’re feeling concerned.
Usually, the doctor will assure you that your child’s green poop is nothing to worry about. In some cases, they will want to schedule a visit to your child for a checkup, just to rule things out.
If your child is very ill and has green stools, you shouldn’t hesitate to call your doctor immediately, during business hours, or to seek emergency medical attention. For example, green stools accompanied by diarrhea could be a sign of a viral or bacterial illness.
If your child has had loose, green stools for several days, he may be dehydrated from an illness. Most cases of dehydration can be remedied by giving your child fluids, but if your child also appears very lethargic or has difficulty waking up, they may need medical attention because of dehydration. mine.
Change your diet
Most cases of green stool do not require treatment because green stools are a common variation of normal stools. If your child’s green stools are caused by something they ate or by vitamins or medications they’ve taken, it’s not necessary to remove that from their diet just to change the color of the stool.
However, if that food, vitamin, or medication bothers them in some other way, such as causing bloating or abdominal discomfort, you might consider eliminating them.
If your child’s green stools are accompanied by physical discomfort, it may be time to intervene. For example:
- If your breastfed baby has green, frothy stools accompanied by bloating and spitting up, they may be suffering from a pre/postmilk imbalance, or a food intolerance or allergy. If these make your baby uncomfortable, you can try to fix them with the help of your doctor or lactation consultant.
- If your baby’s formula causes green stoolsthis is not a problem in itself, but if they also have colic, you can talk to your doctor about switching to formula.
- If your child is sick or has a stomach ache loose, green stools and they also don’t feel well, you can talk to your doctor about how to treat their illness or stomach problems. You may also need to rehydrate them if they are dehydrated.
A very good word
It’s a parent’s instinct to become anxious when anything seems wrong with our children.
While green poop is usually nothing to worry about, it can be frustrating if you notice your child’s poop looks green. After all, although green stool is a common variation of stool color, it is much less common than brown or tan stools.
If you notice green stools in your baby, take a deep breath. If they are acting like their normal people, it is highly unlikely that anything will go wrong. There’s nothing wrong with double-checking with your doctor, though—that’s what they’re there to do.
If something is wrong with your child or they seem unwell, don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away, or go to your local urgent care or emergency room. Always follow your parenting instincts when it comes to medical issues with your child.
Thankfully, while most of us gasp when we first see our child’s green poop, it turns out that cleaning up one or two (or more) of green manure is just one of the more frustrating chores. — though very common — by parents.
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