What Should Your Poop Look Like?

Color and Shape Can Reflect Your Health
different colors and shapes in the bathroom

Wondering if your digestive system is on track and healthy? Looking at your stool can give you some evidence. Here are a few color and shape guidelines to keep in mind.

What Does the Color of My Poop Mean?

  • Brown and Snakelike

    A healthy poop will be dark brown with minimal other tones. It will often look like a snake or log while sinking to the bottom of the bowl.

  • Beige or Yellow

    These fairly common shades, that often come with lumpy or floating stools, can indicate that something in your diet isn’t being digested properly. Oftentimes, these shades can be caused by diseases like Crohn’s or celiac, or an issue like lactose intolerance. However, if you don’t have an intolerance, it could also be a sign of too much fatty food in your diet.

  • Colorless, Clay-like, or Pale

    These shades are usually caused by liquid laxatives or medications that color aspects of your body before an X-ray. However, in some rare cases, regular poops with this shade can hint that the liver is not producing enough bile—which makes feces brown.

  • Green, Orange, or Purple

    In most cases, this is a sign that you’ve been eating a lot of foods that naturally have one of these shades — such as greens, blueberries, or carrots. 

  • Red or Black

    While this can commonly be caused by red or dark-colored foods, regular occurrences could hint that it’s from blood in your stool. If you regularly see these shades, or experience pain while defecating, be sure to call a doctor.

  • Green or Black (with No Matching Foods)

    If you see green poop regularly or haven’t been eating greens, you might want to consult a doctor to ensure the green feces isn’t actually bile. Similarly, you should also call a doctor if you’re seeing regular purple poop as it can be a sign of blood in the stool.


Stool Color Indications
Color Indications
Brown Signals a healthy, nutrient-filled diet.
Beige / Yellow Signals fatty diet or intolerances that make food difficult to digest.
Colorless / Pale Often caused by medications or liver disease in rare circumstances.
Green / Orange / Purple Often caused by similarly colored foods.
Red / Black Could indicate blood in stool, or be caused by eating similarly colored foods.

Stool Shape Indications
Shape Indications
Snake / Sausage Signals a healthy, nutrient-filled diet.
Snake w/ Cracks Still indicates a normal, healthy poop.
Pebbles Often caused by constipation.
Lumpy Hints at a low-fiber or fatty diet.
Soft Chunks / Watery Sign of diarrhea or a stomach illness.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about stool health? Check out this article, and our handy list of digestive tips.

Sources: 

“How Often Should I Poop, and Other Toilet Topics” by Laura McMullen and Lisa Esposito, U.S. News, health.usnews.com, 6/10/19

“What Your Poop Type and Color Mean?” WebMD.com, 9/7/20

“What Do Different Poop Colors Mean?”  WebMD.com, 8/25/20

Contributor

Pamela Bump

Pamela is the Audience Growth Manager for the HubSpot Blog and holds an M.S. in Media Ventures from Boston University. Before HubSpot, she was Taste for Life’s first Web Editor & Social Media Expert and Harvard Business Review’s first Growth Editor.  In her roles, she’s managed content strategy, social media, and audience growth tactics.

Although her career is focused on digital marketing and editorial innovation, she continues to write for TFL to quench her thirst for food blogging and health journalism.