Normal stool is usually a light to dark brown color and can be as big as an inch in diameter and a foot long. Green poop is rarely a cause for concern as it is a common stool color. However, evaluation is good and necessary whenever there are significant changes to your stool – including color or texture. Following are few reasons you may have green and hard poop.
What Causes Green Poop?
Food Changes: Green poop is usually from a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, or collard greens. Foods high in green pigments may also cause a green colored stool. This may include seaweed, spirulina, algae, wheatgrass, chlorophyll, as well as food powders and dyes. Think back to your diet for the last few days. If you’ve been eating foods that you don’t normally eat, then your stools are probably green from dietary changes.
Reduced Bile Production: Bile pigment can also make your stools green if food is moving too quickly through your intestine. When this happens, intestinal chemicals and bacteria can’t break the bile pigment down to its usual brown color. Some foods that may cause reduced bile production include citrusy foods such as lemons and grapefruits; vegetables like tomatoes and onions; vinegar-based dressings; spicy foods; chocolate; caffeinated drinks; and alcohol. However, when bile is not producing properly, the result is often diarrhea. Since your stools are hard, this is probably not the reason for your green poop.
Antibiotic Usage: Your poop can be green if you’ve had a recent course of treatment of antibiotics. Antibiotics inhibit the growth of and kill bacterial infections. This changes the types of bacteria present in your gut which can change the color of your stools.
Microorganisms: Certain pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause green poop as they make the gut work faster. This includes the norovirus, Salmonella, and Giardia.
Why is My Green Poop Hard?
As far as hard stools, they are also quite common and are typically a sign of a digestive problem. Symptoms include hard, pellet-like stools, difficulty emptying the bowels, and pain after pooping from straining the colon. Often, hard poop is a result of the following:
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Sudden high fiber diet
- Inadequate water intake or dehydration
- Food intolerance (i.e., gluten, wheat, or dairy)
- Processed foods (i.e., grains, white bread, pasta)
- Certain fruits (i.e., unripe bananas and persimmons)
- High protein diet
- Scarce exercise or little movement
- Infection with microorganisms (i.e., viruses, bacteria, or parasites)
Please use the information I’ve provided for self-investigation in determining the cause of your green and hard poops. If you’re concerned, be sure to eat a whole foods diet high in both soluble and insoluble fibers and drink plenty of water. Women require about 28 grams of fiber per day, while men require about 34 grams. Also, you may want to add probiotic foods and/or supplements to your daily diet plan for a stronger microbiome.
To learn more about probiotics, read my articles 17 Probiotic Foods to Build a Strong Internal Army and Protecting Your Microbiome for Better Gut Health.