Parents tend to become upset and concerned when they observe that their kids have green stools. There is no need to panic; and more often than not, the symptom is quite harmless.
Green stools may occur due to the presence of unoxidized bile in the stool, or because of something that the kid ate.
In case the green stools are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, or any other symptoms, they it could be a cause for worry.
What can Cause Green Stool in Children?
- Ingestion of Food Dye – Food dyes and artificial additives like food colors, added to popsicles and colored drinks can cause bright green stool in children.
- Eating Lots of Green Vegetables – Kids who eat a lot of greens (spinach, fenugreek, broccoli, etc) may show signs of green stools.
- Diarrhea or watery stools are usually green. The stool turns green with diarrhea because it is moved too fast through the intestinal tract. Consequently, the stools do not contain any bile, (a normal component of stool), does not get oxidized and hence does not turn yellowish brown.
- In breast fed babies, the occurrence of green stool is relatively normal, more so, immediately after delivery.
- In older children, eating colored non food items, such as crayons, can also turn the stools green.
- Furthermore, those kids who have been put on to iron supplementation also tend to have green stools.
- Administration of antibiotics and laxatives also cause green colored stools.
When Parents have to be Concerned of Green Stool in Children
- When your child is feeling fine and the only symptom is the color of the stool, with no diarrhea, vomiting or fever, there should be no need to go to the doctor.
- However, parents must observe how the condition progresses, monitor what the child eats and keep an eye for the development or manifestation of any other clinical feature. Invariably, stopping the offending agent (food colors, undue iron supplements, etc.) reverses the condition automatically.
- Green stools that are preceded, accompanied, or followed by fevers, chills, and signs of illness need immediate medical examination and aid.
- If you observe green stool for 4 to 5 days successively, medical intervention is essential. Your doctor will analyze the stool sample for abnormal changes and presence of bacteria. He may also prescribe certain tests such as; stool culture, blood tests, X ray and colonoscopy. The treatment for green stool varies depending on the symptoms, the etiological factor and diagnostic results.
- In case, green stool are accompanied by diarrhea, your physician will recommend guidelines and dietary measures to battle dehydration. Consuming plenty of water and fluids is the crucial aspect of the management plan. Lime water, barley water, juices and soups ought to be a part of the daily diet. Changes in the diet plan along with medicines help boost the digestive health and restore normal GI functioning.