Stool Color (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the symptoms of stool color changes?

Changes in stool color do not cause symptoms. Symptoms that accompany changes in stool color result from the process that causes the change in color. For example, a green color is associated with diarrhea of any cause, and is not necessarily associated with symptoms other than the diarrhea itself. Clay-colored stool may be associated with abdominal and/or back pain if it is caused by tumors that block the bile ducts; however, if the tumors are very small, there may be no pain. Pain or no pain, obstruction of the ducts causes jaundice. Needless to say, changes in stool color due to ingested of foods or medicines are not associated with symptoms.

Black, maroon-colored or red stools usually will be associated with symptoms of pain, upper abdominal or lower abdominal depending on the site of the bleeding and location of the ulcerations causing the bleeding. Nevertheless, ulcerations, particularly of the stomach and duodenum may be painless 20% of the time as is most bleeding from diverticuli of the colon. Bleeding into the stomach is associated with nausea and vomiting if the bleeding is heavy. Also, tumors of the colon, benign or malignant and a common cause of intestinal bleeding, may not be associated with pain.

REFERENCE: Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding Clinical Presentation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/7/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Stool Color & Texture Changes - Personal Experience Question: What color is/was your stool? Please share your symptoms and experience.
Stool Color & Texture Changes - Causes Question: If your stool changed color, what was the cause? Did you receive a diagnosis from a doctor?
Stool Color Changes - Intestinal Bleeding Question: What part of your GI tract was bleeding, and what was the cause?