What is the cause of green diarrhea? Should I have a study done as soon as possible? Could it have been something I ate? Is this diarrhea dangerous? Diarrhea has always been considered a red flag for anyone. It constitutes the increase in the number of bowel movements in a day or changes in the consistency of the stool, but doubts and concern increase when it changes color. It is known that the chair’s characteristics reflect the state of health of our body.
In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain the causes and treatment of green diarrhea.
Green diarrhea in adults: causes
Diarrhea is defined as an increase in stool volume, greater fluidity, and an increase in the frequency of bowel movements. Diarrheal processes are accompanied by colicky abdominal pain, gas, and an urge to evacuate.
Now, stools have a variety of colors, broadly related to food and the amount of bile present in the chair. Bile is a liquid responsible for digesting fats and travels through the entire digestive tract undergoing chemical alterations that cause the chair to change color, from dark brown to green tones. Among the leading causes of green diarrhea are:
- The inability of bile to completely break down due to how quickly it passes through the large intestine. This means that the fast functioning of the intestine causes green stools.
- The above is widely related, in addition, to situations of intense stress in which digestion is not carried out properly due to the extreme tension of the organism.
- Another cause of green diarrhea in adults is irritable bowel syndrome. Some people have constipation, but others have severe diarrhea, and the green color is no exception.
- Greenish diarrhea can also be caused by salmonella or Giardia lamblia infections. First, salmonella infection is a bacterial-type infectious process acquired after eating contaminated food. Although this infection can sometimes go unnoticed, it can be associated with other symptoms. Likewise, the associated risk factor for contracting salmonella is traveling to countries with inadequate hygienic conditions. Second, giardiasis is a parasitic infectious process acquired after drinking contaminated water, especially in places with poor hygiene.
An article published about Gastrointestinal Diseases in Mexico in 2011  indicates that salmonella affects 25% of children between 0-5 years and 60% of adults, being the bacterium with the most significant relationship with diarrhea. On the other hand, giardia has an incidence of 35% in children, and it was not determined in adults.
Other causes of green diarrhea
In addition to the cases mentioned above, green liquid stools can also be related to diet; that is, some foods that have been included in the daily diet influence. An example is the excessive consumption of green leafy vegetables, foods with green coloring in flavored drinks, ice cream, or iron supplements. In the latter case, the greenish coloration in the stool can remain even for up to three days; if it extends, it is essential to visit the doctor.
On the other hand, the use of laxatives causes diarrheal stools to appear. First, this is also related to the stimulation of intestinal transit; the bile will not have enough time to change color; this transformation requires hours or days.
Symptoms associated with green diarrhea
Diarrhea is considered a symptom, but it can also be accompanied by many others depending on the cause of it; in this case, green liquid stools are usually accompanied by symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain.
- Lack of appetite.
- Muscle pain.
Green diarrhea: treatment
It is essential that regardless of the color of the stool, strict surveillance of diarrhea is carried out; people tend to dehydrate quickly. The initial treatment is as follows:
- Administer enough liquid orally to avoid dehydration in this way. A cup of water, serum, or oral rehydration salts (these are easily prepared at home by diluting the preparation in 1 liter with previously boiled drinking water) is recommended after each liquid evacuation.
- You should also maintain a diet that does not contain green foods that have possibly caused the diarrhea of this color. It is recommended to eat easily digestible foods such as rice or mashed potatoes and avoid highly seasoned foods.
- If the diarrhea is due to salmonella, most people recover without administering a specific treatment, only monitoring hydration. Only analgesic intake is recommended to improve abdominal pain.
- The treatment of giardiasis will depend on the symptoms; people who do not manifest anything do not require treatment; however, treatment with metronidazole, tinidazole, or when the signs begin, nitazoxanide is usually indicated.
It is essential to consider that the doctor is the one who has the power to indicate the treatment for green diarrhea, depending on the symptoms. Also, a stool test should be done for the diagnosis to be correct when the liquid stools have lasted for many more days. This will confirm the presence of infectious processes such as salmonella or giardiasis, which cause green diarrhea.
When to go to the doctor urgently for green diarrhea
- If blood appears with diarrhea, it may be bright red or blackish stools.
- When diarrhea is persistent, continuous, and bulky.
- If vomiting is associated with blood.
- There are signs of dehydration, such as pale skin, dry tongue, and weakness.
- If greenish diarrhea lasts more than three days.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.