Stool is an excellent indicator of the overall health. Green stool is usually not indicative of any serious problem, as young children often place almost everything in their mouths and sometimes they swallow them. Inevitably these items will wind up in the child’s stomach and it will then have to pass through there digestive tract. There are some situations though that green stool is a symptom of a more serious condition. Therefore, it is best to consult with your doctor if necessary.
Causes of Green Poop in Toddlers
It's important for kids' health to find out causes of their green poop. Toddler loves to put almost anything they get hands on. Now let's find what causes that green color in toddlers' stool.
Newborn babies, for their first few days of life, pass meconium, which is dark green colored stool. This stool is a combination of all the contents that the fetus consumed while they were in the womb, such as bile, water, amniotic fluid, mucus and epithelial cells, and it does not have any odor to it. This sterile stool turns into a yellow and green stool after the initial three days, once the newborn starts to digest the breast milk.
2. Dietary Causes
A child’s diet can also affect the color of their stool. Green vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, or foods that are dyed with either green, blue or purple food coloring, such as ice cream, soda and some breakfast cereals can cause a child’s stool to appear green in color. A helpful tip to make sure that the green stool is just as a result of a dietary intake, is to avoid those foods for about three days and the stool should then return to its normal color.
3. Medication and Supplement
Stool color can also change to a green color as a result of the intake of iron supplements, artificially colored vitamins and vitamins containing fructose and sorbitol. Speeding up the bowel activity through the use of laxatives can change the stool to green as well, due to rapid transit. Other medications that can possibly cause stool to change to a green color are indomethacin, which is one of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications as well as some antibiotics caused by diarrhea, which again is due to rapid transit.
Children with diarrhea, in some cases, experience bright green stools. This is due to rapid transit, and it does not have time to harden either because it does not last for a long enough time in the digestive system.
5. Bile Secretion
Rapid transit or decrease colonic time, is when bile travels in a faster than normal speed to reach the intestine, it does not have time to change from its regular green color to brown. Normally it will have time to change color before it reaches the intestine and it then mixes with the stool and it is passed as brown stool, but when it does not have the opportunity to change color, the stool that is passed has this green bile present.
6. Food Poisoning
The digestive system of a child is extremely sensitive to a variety of different foods. E. coli, which is a bacterial infection, is the most common cause of food poisoning in children. Symptoms of E. coli are dark to light green stools accompanied by fever and abdominal cramps. A doctor should be consulted if these symptoms last for three days.
7. Other Health Disorders
There are some disorders which due to rapid transit may cause green stools, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, malabsorption, allergies, infection, diarrhea from food poisoning, thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism, and gastrointestinal reflux disease. Greenish bowel movements can also be caused by any disorder that increases the amount of mucus in the stool, impaired re-absorption of bile because of the removal of terminal ileum or the intestinal inflammation.
Cautions for Green Poop in Toddlers
1. When to See a Doctor
A child that is passing green stools may also have accompanying symptoms that may indicate a health disorder or disease, so the child should be monitored careful. Some of these other symptoms they may experience include the following:
- Un-expected weight loss
- Foul-smelling stools
- Burning sensation in the rectum
- Change in the consistency of the stool, such as excessively hard or loose stools
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Mucus present in the stool
A pediatrician for an evaluation should see any child that suffers from green stool along with any of the other symptoms mentioned above. In more severe cases, such as a child whose experiences severe diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum, a decrease in urine output, respiratory difficulties and dizziness, it is vital to take the child to the emergency department or to their physician immediately.
2. Pay Attention to Dehydration
A child who suffers from diarrhea can also run the risk of dehydration, which should be watched carefully for any of the symptoms that may indicate dehydration, as they are at a dangerous risk and medical attention is require immediately.
- Some of the signs of dehydration are unusual amounts of loose and watery green or yellow stool, dry mouth or tongue, lethargy or excessive sleep, sunken eyes, increased amount of wet diapers and when crying tears may be absent.
- Prevention of dehydration for a child suffering from diarrhea, includes increased amounts of clear liquids and oral electrolytes, which provide essential salt, minerals and sugar. It is essential that the child’s pediatrician be contacted if they develop a fever, are unable to keep food down and/or their diarrhea and stool color change does not return to normal within a few days.