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BLOG: Let's talk about poop

Katherine Ranzenberger
York Dispatch

If you're anything like me, you're curious about the natural workings of the human body. It can be fascinating and disgusting all at the same time.

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So when I went to the hospital a couple weeks ago, I had all the signs of appendicitis. Gas, pain in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen, chills, nausea: the whole shebang.

I went through multiple tests and the doctors couldn't tell me what was wrong.

Turns out, I just really needed to poop.

I know, you're probably sitting there thinking, "Why the hell is she telling me this?! This is so weird and uncomfortable. I don't want to hear about this!"

But let me tell you, what comes out of you is just as important as what you put in yourself.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there's nothing wrong with varying shades of brown and even sometimes green colored stool. However, changes in the color and even texture of your feces can indicate something might be wrong.

"Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool," the Mayo Clinic website reads. "As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes — changing the pigments from green to brown."

I know. You're reading this going "Oh, god...." but bear with me, please, because this is at least kind of serious!

This sent me to the hospital it was so bad, so really, this could save you thousands in hospital bills.

Your body can produce an array of stool colors. Literally, you can be Nyan Cat. Let's go through the rainbow, shall we?

Red: If your stool is red, you should probably go quickly to the doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic. You may have internal bleeding from an ulcer or some sort of cancer. You also could have eaten too much red food dye in something or have drank a lot of cranberry juice recently.

Yellow: Yellow is a small indication that you may have excess fat in your diet that your body isn't processing. This can be from a disorder like celiac disease. This could be the start of a gluten intolerance, so you should probably talk to your doctor about this.

Green: If you're producing something green, your intestines might be pushing food through too quickly for the enzymes to break down the food, the Mayo Clinic says. Your diet might also consist of a lot of leafy greens (good for you!) and your body isn't breaking down all that fiber you're ingesting.

Blue: Blue could be because of dyes as well, but I swear, if you're pooping blue, I'd be amazed.

Black: Black stool is where we reach some real trouble. This can be caused by bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, like in the stomach, the Mayo Clinic says. It can also be caused by iron supplements, so if you're anemic and start taking a supplement to help, you may see a change.

White: If it's white, you may have a blocked bile duct in your liver. White stool can also be caused by some medications.

If I had paid more attention to my comings and goings, but more to the goings, I could have saved myself a couple thousand dollars in medical bills. So be aware of what's coming out of your bottom, because it could change your life.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at or on Twitter at @YDKatherine