Certain aspects of having a period are talked about more frequently than others, like dealing with menstural cramps, sore boobs, and bloating. But there’s one common symptom that, for whatever reason, gets less buzz: period poop.Yup, it’s not just you—pooping habits can get weird during your period. “Many people do get bowel changes just before or during their period,” Kyle Staller, MD, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. That includes a whole potential host of things, from period constipation to period diarrhea, with some people just pooping more than usual during that time of the month.Maybe you just happened to notice that period poop is a thing for you and are simply curious about what, exactly, is going on down there. Or maybe period poop is a problem for you and you need a solution ASAP. Either way, getting to the bottom of this (no pun intended) can go a long way toward helping you understand your body and figuring out a solution if your period poops start to interfere with your life. Here’s what you need to know about this totally normal phenomenon.What are period poops?Some people refer to changes in bowel movement that happen around their menstrual cycle as period poops. As with most other period wonkiness, you can thank hormonal fluctuations for this phenomenon. “The reason that this happens is largely due to hormones,” Dr. Staller says. That includes constipation that starts before your period and subsequent diarrhea or excessive pooping that happens once aunt Flo has actually come to town.Preperiod constipation could be a result of an increase in the hormone progesterone, which starts to increase in the time between ovulation and when you get your period.1 Progesterone can cause food to move more slowly through your intestines, backing you up in the process.But levels of progesterone plummet around the same time that your period starts.1 Simultaneously, there’s an increase in hormone-like compounds in your body called prostaglandins. The cells that make up the lining of your uterus (known as endometrial cells), produce these prostaglandins, which get released as the lining of your uterus breaks down right before and during menstruation. These chemicals cause the blood vessels and muscles in the uterus to contract. If your body has high levels of prostaglandins, they can make their way into the muscle that lines your bowels.There, they can cause your intestines to contract just like your uterus and push out fecal matter quickly, Ashkan Farhadi, MD, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, tells SELF. (Fun fact: These prostaglandins are also responsible for those painful menstrual cramps you might get every month.) This explains why you might have diarrhea or poop so much more often during your period.Of course this can all vary for different people. But if you notice you experience constipation or diarrhea right around your period like clockwork, this may be why.Back to topCan health conditions cause period poop changes?Certain health conditions like endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, can flare up during menstruation, leading to bowel changes. For example, if you struggle with Crohn’s disease, which can often cause diarrhea, or IBS-D (a form of IBS that causes people to have diarrhea), your body’s release of prostaglandins during your period may exacerbate your condition, worsening your diarrhea. But if you suffer from IBS-C (IBS that causes people to have constipation), you may find yourself struggling even more to have a bowel movement on your period as progesterone further slows your bowels’ activity. Since ulcerative colitis can lead to both diarrhea and constipation, you might experience an uptick in either during your period.Back to topWhat does it mean if it hurts to poop during my period?There are a few potential reasons why it might hurt to poop on your period. If it’s something you notice here and there—especially if you’re dealing with a lot of diarrhea—it could be a side effect of diarrhea itself, like cramping in your stomach or even irritation around your anus from going so often, Dr. Farhadi says.
As for what causes IBD, both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease happen when a person’s immune system accidentally attacks their G.I. tract, according to the NIDDK. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are separate conditions, but they do share a few risk factors. Both diseases tend to run in families, so researchers are working to understand the connection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Both also usually start causing symptoms before a person turns 30 and are more likely to affect those of Eastern European Jewish descent.There’s also a question of how a person’s environment or lifestyle factors, like medications and diet, may cause or exacerbate both IBD and IBS.Back to topHow do you get an IBS diagnosis or an IBD diagnosis?There’s no definitive test for IBS, so doctors typically diagnose it after excluding most other potential causes. In addition to evaluating your symptoms, they may perform a host of exams to identify the problem.For example, they may order a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy (using a thin tube to examine your rectum and only part of your colon) to see if your gut shows signs of inflammation. IBS symptoms can also mimic an overgrowth of bacteria in your gut or parasites, so your provider might want to conduct a stool sample to check your poop for germs, according to the Mayo Clinic.Because celiac disease, an immune response to eating gluten, can cause similar symptoms, doctors may want to take a blood test to rule it out before diagnosing you with IBS, says Jill Deutsch, MD, a gastroenterologist at Yale Medicine and an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine. Once celiac and any other conditions your doctor wants to explore are ruled out, IBS can usually be diagnosed based on your symptoms.Diagnosing IBD can be similarly time-consuming. Your doctor will likely order a range of tests to pick up on any abnormalities that could signal these conditions, including blood tests, a colonoscopy, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, or an x-ray or CT scan. They may also test your poop to see if any blood is present. According to Dr. Hanauer, doctors often look for white blood cells—which may signal inflammation in the gut—in your stool if they’re testing for inflammatory bowel disease.If your doctor suspects Crohn’s disease has affected your small intestine, they may also have you do exams like a capsule endoscopy, which involves swallowing a capsule that has a camera in it to view your intestines. An external recorder captures the images, and you’ll later poop the capsule out.Back to topWhat does IBS treatment look like vs. IBD treatment?Although IBS and IBD share commonalities, they aren’t managed in the same way. “The treatment of IBD is focused on controlling inflammation. IBS treatment is about controlling the heightened sensitivity to what’s going on in the gut,” Dr. Hanauer says.If you’re diagnosed with IBS, your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options depending on your exact symptoms, and it can take some trial and error to get it right. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have IBS-C (which causes constipation), your doctor might suggest adding more fiber to your diet since it soaks up water as it moves through your digestive system, making your poop softer and easier to expel. They may also recommend laxatives or prescription medications that boost the amount of fluid that gets into your poop.
Digestive troubles, for many people, top the list of symptoms that are straight-up miserable to live with. After all, who wants to feel constantly gassy or bloated while running to the bathroom left and right? Not only can these symptoms feel uncomfortable (or even downright painful), they can seriously impact how you feel about yourself and the way you live your daily life. If you’re not sure what’s going on, don’t fret. Oftentimes, there is a simple explanation for gastrointestinal (GI) issues. But if they’re starting to feel constant, it’s worth exploring whether something more complicated could be lingering under the surface. Take this quiz to find out what might be causing your stomach problems, and when you should consider seeing a doctor about them—because you deserve to feel good in your body.
Real talk: Everybody farts, including supermodels, politicians, actors—everybody. While it can be embarrassing and awkward to let one rip in front of a crowd, that doesn’t mean it’s not perfectly normal (same goes for burping).Still, if you’re suddenly letting flatulence fly like it’s your job, you might take a beat to wonder, “Why do I have so much gas?” Also, if you’re farting that much, you might be a little uncomfortable, too, whether you’re also dealing with bloating or just feeling anxious about the idea of accidentally clearing a room in public.Again, farting is a fact of life, but it’s not typical to desperately hold back your gas to the point of constant discomfort. Not sure if you should be concerned? Here are the most common excessive gas causes, and how to get some relief already.What causes gas in the first place?Gas forms in your digestive tract for two reasons: from the air that you swallow and from the breakdown of undigested food by the trillions of bacteria that live in your large intestine, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. “We all have bacteria in our gut, which produces gas—and it has to go somewhere,” Sophie Balzora, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF.Whether you fart or burp, gas comes out of your body in one form or another. In fact, we all pass gas an average of up to 20 times each day, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, the gas you expel from your body is odorless, a mix of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane. Sometimes, however, the bacteria we mentioned release gases that include sulfur, which is the culprit behind the unpleasant odor associated with passing gas, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.Occasional gas is perfectly healthy. Excessive gas, however, can cause discomfort to the point of bloating and abdominal pain, and it can actually be a symptom of a more serious condition.Back to topWhy do I have so much gas?There’s a pretty wide range of excessive gas causes, and some are more easily remedied than others. Here are the most common ones to be aware of:1. You’re eating a lot of fiber-rich food.Usually, the food you’re eating can be to blame for any excessive gas you’re dealing with. A food that causes gas in one person may not in another, but there are some common culprits. “The classic food groups are high-fiber foods such as whole wheat and grains, fresh fruits and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc.),” Felice Schnoll-Sussman MD, gastroenterologist and director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells SELF.Fiber is usually recommended to combat constipation, but it can lead to excessive gas if it’s eaten in excess. This is because fiber isn’t fully digested by the small intestine, and the bacteria required to ferment or break down fiber-rich foods in the large intestine produce gas as a by-product, per Johns Hopkins Medicine.So, as with all good things, moderation is key. “Fiber must be slowly incorporated into the diet,” Dr. Schnoll-Sussman explains. “If you binge on kale for its obvious nutritional value, you will most likely feel it with gas and bloating.”Another tip? Make sure you’re drinking enough water, as fiber promotes healthy bowel movements best when there’s an adequate amount of water in your body.2. You have a sneaky food sensitivity.“Many people as they get older have difficulty digesting milk products,” Dr. Schnoll-Sussman says. So even if you’re not full-on intolerant, your body’s level of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) may be lower than it used to be, making dairy a problem food. “Someone who is very lactose intolerant may experience bloating, cramps, and flatulence as soon as they ingest milk or other dairy products.” But your level of gassiness will vary depending on how sensitive you are.
If you have heartburn here and there, you probably don’t have a huge issue on your hands. Most people can manage the discomfort with over-the-counter antacids, which help neutralize stomach acid, after a particularly triggering meal (thanks, greasy pizza!). But “heartburn that is so severe it keeps you up at night for more than one to two weeks warrants investigation with a gastroenterologist, Dr. Shukla says.Constant heartburn is a sign of uncontrolled acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—a condition that impacts roughly 20% of people in the U.S., per the NIDDK. Getting a proper diagnosis is crucial if you deal with heartburn or other symptoms—like difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, or unexplained coughing—more than twice a week, as untreated reflux can lead to complications over time, like inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus, which can possibly cause ulcers or problems with swallowing, respectively.To complicate things further, heartburn can feel similar to cardiac chest pain, which can signal a heart attack, Dr. Chen points out. “If you are unsure, please call your doctor for advice on next steps,” she says. If you feel other possible signs of a heart attack—like unexplained shortness of breath, pain in your back, neck, jaw, or either arm, or sudden sweating—it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.Back to top4. You’re having an oddly difficult time swallowing.You may not think of issues with your throat as a “digestive” symptom, but think about it: Your entire digestion process starts in your mouth!Having a sore throat that makes it uncomfortable to swallow is very different from actually feeling like you can’t swallow well. Dysphagia is the medical name for this phenomenon, and it goes beyond not feeling like you can get food down easily. You may cough a lot after eating, hear gurgling sounds from your throat while eating, clear your throat a lot, chew very slowly, or feel chest discomfort after swallowing, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine.“Any type of swallowing difficulty should prompt a visit to the doctor,” Dr. Chen says. (If you know the issue is caused by an object stuck in your esophagus or you’re having trouble swallowing even saliva, she recommends heading to the emergency room.)With that said, if you’re having a difficult time swallowing, there could be an underlying issue to address. As we mentioned, it could be caused by uncontrolled acid reflux, but dysphagia can also be rooted in stress or anxiety, a brain or nerve condition, or direct issues with your tongue, throat, or esophagus, so it’s not something to ignore if it’s interfering with your day-to-day life. In some cases, trouble swallowing can point to esophageal cancer, but Dr. Shukla says this is a less likely explanation.Back to top5. Your stomach pain is borderline agonizing.Severe abdominal pain is different from the stomach ache you experience after eating too much. Instead, you may be experiencing intense cramping that won’t let up or sharp, stabbing pain that forces you to lay down. “If the abdominal pain is severe and persists, it needs to be evaluated,” Dr. Chen says.If you’re really uncomfortable but it’s not so bad that it’s disrupting your daily life, make an appointment with your primary care doctor if you have one, Dr. Chen says. But if you’re doubled over in pain and can’t imagine going on with your day in that state, it’s best to head to the emergency room.
Crohn’s disease symptoms can be more than just a little uncomfortable. In addition to managing pain, living with the chronic condition can make you feel really anxious about going somewhere new—or even going anywhere at all—if you don’t know what the bathroom situation will be like.If you go undiagnosed or without necessary treatment, Crohn’s disease can cause lasting damage to your digestive tract, leading to even more pain and discomfort in the long run. For those reasons and more (which we’ll dig into below), it’s important to keep an eye out for the signs of Crohn’s disease and take action if you’re experiencing them, even though they can be tough to talk about.But rest assured you’re not alone: An estimated half a million people in the U.S. have Crohn’s disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). This 2013 estimate is the latest available, so the exact figure is likely much higher than this. Not sure what your stomach woes could be pointing to? Read on to learn about the most common Crohn’s disease symptoms and the steps you can take if something similar is happening to you.What is Crohn’s disease, exactly?Crohn’s disease is one form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes other conditions such as ulcerative colitis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). IBD happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your digestive tract and causes chronic inflammation, setting off a slew of symptoms, as well as possible complications if the disease isn’t treated.Researchers believe this autoimmune reaction occurs when your immune system has an abnormal response to bacteria in your digestive tract, but why this happens isn’t entirely understood. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause visible damage to the digestive tract, which can be seen on scans, Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, tells SELF.Crohn’s in particular causes inflammation anywhere in your digestive tract (which begins at the mouth and ends at the anus). However, it most commonly affects the small intestine (the longest portion of your GI tract) and the large intestine (which includes your colon, rectum, and anus).It’s not clear why some people get Crohn’s disease and others don’t, but experts suspect genetics might be involved since the condition can run in families, according to the NLM. In fact, scientists have found more than 100 genes that are associated with having IBD, but more research is needed to understand the link1.Back to topWhat are the most common Crohn’s disease symptoms?Crohn’s disease can manifest in different ways depending on the severity of your condition and where the inflammation has taken hold, so not everyone has the exact same experience. Ahead, read about the most common Crohn’s symptoms, according to the NIDDK and Mayo Clinic. 1. DiarrheaWe’re talking persistent, unexpected, and urgent diarrhea that doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter medications. Though the timeline varies, diarrhea can last anywhere from a few days to a few months during Crohn’s disease flare-ups, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California.Diarrhea happens because of the gut inflammation inherent to Crohn’s, Dr. Farhadi says. Even though Crohn’s can impact any part of your digestive system, it typically affects the last part of the small intestine (where most of the digestive process happens) and the colon (the longest part of the large intestine, which moves stool so it can exit your body), according to the Mayo Clinic. It makes perfect, painful sense that when these parts of your digestive tract are irritated, they can’t do their jobs properly—and you can get some pretty severe diarrhea as a result. What’s more, Crohn’s-induced inflammation can also cause the affected parts of your digestive tract to become hyperactive and spasm too much, which can force food to move through your system far too quickly, resulting in those really loose, watery stools.2. Bloody stoolNo one likes looking into the toilet bowl and seeing blood but, unfortunately, this can be a common Crohn’s disease symptom. The illness can cause open sores (ulcers) anywhere in your digestive tract. Unfortunately, those ulcers can bleed, causing bloody poop, Dr. Farhadi says. Noticing blood in your poop is always something to bring up to your doctor, even though it’s not always a sign of something as serious as Crohn’s disease. 3. Severe abdominal pain and crampingInflammation can make your intestines go way overboard with cramping, and that can contribute to Crohn’s disease pain. Also, people with Crohn’s disease may have scarring and narrowing of their intestinal walls (known as intestinal strictures). “This causes pain and bloating because the stool has a hard time getting through,” Jessica Philpott, M.D., Ph.D., a gastroenterologist who specializes in treating inflammatory bowel disease at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. For some people, Crohn’s disease pain can make it hard to even get out of bed.4. Mouth soresYou may not usually think of your mouth as being part of your digestive system, but it is. Given that it’s part of your bigger digestive operation, your mouth can develop sores just like other parts of your system that Crohn’s disease can compromise, Dr. Farhadi says. In some cases, people develop mouth sores before other Crohn’s symptoms2. 5. DehydrationChronic diarrhea can cause you to lose more liquids and electrolytes than you take in, leading to an increased risk of dehydration, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Chronic dehydration can become serious because your heart (and other vital organs) need water to function. Some common signs of dehydration include feeling really thirsty, having a dry mouth, or getting a headache. Some less obvious signs include feeling fatigued, moody, or nauseous. If you develop additional symptoms, such as a fever, muscle twitching, or a rapid heart rate, then you may be severely dehydrated and need urgent medical care. 6. FeverThis doesn’t necessarily mean you’re burning up 24/7, but your temperature might spike when your digestive tract is under siege during a Crohn’s disease flare-up. Fever is one sign that your body’s immune system has activated in response to a threat, per the NLM, and this can happen because of inflammation tied to Crohn’s disease, Dr. Farhadi says.7. FatigueIt’s pretty much a given that when you’re dealing with Crohn’s disease symptoms like diarrhea and a fever, it’s hard to feel energetic. All that inflammation and your body’s resulting immune response can contribute to low energy and fatigue, according to Dr. Farhadi.
But there are also other ways you can experience constipation, like by having less than three bowel movements a week, straining to go to the bathroom, and feeling like you’ve never really gotten everything out (if you know what we mean). Other IBS-C symptoms include gas, bloating, and stomach pain.A lot of people get constipated from time to time, but that’s different from constantly struggling to go to the bathroom or always having very hard stool. It’s not clear why, but people assigned female at birth are more likely to develop IBS-C than people assigned male at birth4.IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) develops when your digestive system works faster than what is considered normal, resulting in liquid-y stools that are very loose, otherwise known as diarrhea. IBS-D is the most common type of irritable bowel syndrome, making up about 40% of reported cases5. Further, people assigned male at birth are more likely to have IBS-D than people assigned female at birth4.IBS-D symptoms involve having loose stool more than 25% of the time on days when you notice changes in your bowel movements. You’d also have hard stool less than 25% of the time on those days, Shaham Mumtaz, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, tells SELF.Excessive gas, bloating, and stomach pains that are so uncomfortable you have trouble sleeping are also common. That’s why IBS-D can really impact your quality of life and lead to stress and anxiety around social events. For example, going on a date can be even more nerve-wracking if you’re worried about heading to the bathroom every few minutes.IBS with mixed bowel movements (IBS-M)For some, IBS symptoms may include both constipation and diarrhea (lucky you). This is known as IBS with mixed bowel movements (IBS-M), meaning you can get constipated or have diarrhea because your bowels speed up or slow down at different times. According to the NIDDK, you’ll deal with constipation or diarrhea more than 25% of the time on days when you have abnormal bowel movements.So, with IBS-M, you might be constipated in the morning and then unexpectedly have diarrhea in the afternoon. Understandably, this can make it really difficult to follow any sort of schedule and cause anxiety about when you’ll have access to a bathroom. As with the other types of IBS you could have really uncomfortable stomach pain, bloating, and gas that can interfere with your daily activities, like going to the gym or concentrating on work. Research suggests people of both sexes assigned at birth are equally as likely to have IBS-M4.Post-infectious IBSUnlike other types of IBS that don’t have one specific cause, post-infectious IBS develops after a person has a gastrointestinal illness, such as food poisoning or a stomach bug, which is often caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria like salmonella or viral infections like norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).So, for example, you may get sick with food poisoning and feel terrible with initial symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramping. Then, your illness might ease up so you’re no longer vomiting, but you could still have diarrhea and severe stomach cramps that don’t seem to be getting better, according to the Cleveland Clinic. About 46% of people with post-infectious IBS have both diarrhea and constipation, meaning they also technically have IBS-M—but it’s crucial to point out that their IBS is categorized as post-infectious IBS because it was clearly triggered by an infection. A large number of people with post-infectious IBS (about 40%) only have diarrhea, and 15% are mostly constipated6. All of those common symptoms we’ve mentioned, like gas and bloating, can happen with this type of IBS, too.
“Some examples of foods that do not contain detectable FODMAPs include strawberries, pineapple, kale, spinach, carrots, oranges, cucumbers and parsnips, additionally, meat, poultry, fish and eggs—unless prepared with marinades, sauces, or seasonings that include high FODMAP ingredients,” says Lavy.If that’s not enough to get you meal planning, you can find a complete list of low-FODMAP foods here. If you need a little more direction, Scarlata adds that some of her low-to-moderate FODMAP grocery store staples include:OatsBrown riceQuinoaChia and pumpkin seedsSlow leavened sourdough breadPeanut butterLactose-free plain Greek yogurt and lactose-free milkFirm tofuPumpkinIf you’re looking for more of an on-the-go snack, there are low-FODMAP snack bars you can buy at the store or online, such as FODY foods, Go Macro, and Enjoy Life foods.High-FODMAP foods listWhen someone with IBS eats high-FODMAP foods, they will likely experience unpleasant side effects, like stomach pain, bloating, gas, and an urgency or a change in their bowel habits, according to Monash University. While researchers are still trying to understand what exactly is happening in the body and brains of people with IBS, they do think it has something to do with how the brain perceives these symptoms, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).“Our gut bacteria ferment these carbohydrates and this can produce gas and draw water into the intestines,” says Lavy. “While this process occurs in everyone, those with IBS typically tend to have visceral hypersensitivity, meaning their brain may perceive this normal reaction as painful.”Some commonly consumed high-FODMAP food triggers for IBS include:OnionGarlicMangoHoneyFoods rich in lactose, like milk and yogurtStone fruitsCauliflowerBroccoliWatermelonWheatRyeBarleyApples and pearsMost beansThe thought is that by avoiding these foods, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the painful GI symptoms associated with IBS.What is a typical shopping list for low-FODMAP recipe ideas?Although you may think your options are limited on a low-FODMAP diet, there are plenty of foods to add to your grocery cart. You just may need to get a little creative when it comes to your meals. To help, Scarlata has an extensive list of low-FODMAP foods that she shares with patients, and there are a number of easy tips and recipe ideas you can follow.One way to add flavor is with infusion, says Lavy. “Garlic-infused oil can be used in recipes to provide flavor without the FODMAPs, since FODMAPs are not fat soluble, meaning they cannot leach into fat,” says Lavy. Another tip is to swap onions for other flavor-producing vegetables. “Chives and the dark green parts of scallions and leeks are low-FODMAP, so these options can be used in place of onion,” she recommends.And don’t forget other high-flavor add-ins like citrus and herbs. For example, lemon juice or fresh orange slices can brighten a dish, and herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, oregano or paprika, add tons of flavor, says Lavy.
Doctors aren’t exactly sure of what causes inflammatory bowel diseases, although it is thought to have an autoimmune component, per the CDC. And, unfortunately, treating these conditions may require some trial and error. If you’re dealing with persistent poop problems, stomach pain, and anything else that seems concerning, see your doctor to see whether you have an inflammatory bowel disease.10. You’re dealing with a food sensitivity.Food sensitivities, which range from intolerances (triggering a digestive system reaction, such as lactose intolerance) to full-blown allergies (triggering an immune system reaction, such as Celiac disease), can cause some pretty intense symptoms, including diarrhea, if you’re exposed to the food that triggers a response in your body. Just like having any other health condition that causes diarrhea, these reactions to food can cause green poop because of undigested bile, Dr. Farhadi says.11. Your diarrhea has led to an anal fissure.An anal fissure is as intense as it sounds: It’s a small tear in the thin, moist tissue that lines your anus, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can happen due to constipation, passing hard or oversized poop, chronic diarrhea, anal sex, or giving birth.Anal fissures themselves don’t cause green poop—if anything, you may notice a bit of red due to bleeding from the tear. But if you have an anal fissure due to chronic diarrhea, you might notice some green poop in the mix. Thankfully, eating more fiber (so your stool is easier to pass) or taking a sitz bath to calm inflammation is often enough to help you feel better with time.12. You recently had your gallbladder removed.Now, for the last stop on the bile train: Removal of your gallbladder, which stores bile, can result in green poop. This pear-shaped organ might need to be removed if you have gallstones, which are hard deposits of material that can block the flow of bile and cause a world of hurt. Also known as a cholecystectomy, this is one of the most common surgeries in the United States, per the NIDDK.Once your gallbladder is gone, your body no longer has a place to store bile. As a result, you might have some diarrhea that includes more bile than usual, causing your poop to have a green color, Dr. Bedford says. If you’re dealing with this symptom and you recently had your gallbladder removed, you shouldn’t stress it—the diarrhea typically goes away within eight weeks as your body adjusts. If it doesn’t, or if you’re concerned, bring it up with your doctor.What should you do if your poop is green? Here’s when it’s time to see a doctorGreen poop can be completely normal, but it can also be a sign that you’re dealing with an underlying issue that may not resolve on its own. So if you’re pooping green and can’t figure out what’s going on, don’t feel embarrassed to check with your doctor, Dr. Bedford says. Seriously—they’re so used to this stuff!That said, as a reminder, you should seek medical attention if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms alongside your green poop, as they can be indicative of some of the health issues we covered above that require treatment:Abdominal pain or crampingBlood in stoolFatigueWeight lossVomitingFeverBeyond that, the key factor is whether or not your green poop is persistent, Dr. Shen says. If it pops up only after you inhale a massive salad followed by a green juice, you’ve probably found your culprit. If you can’t track it that easily and it’s sticking around, there’s a chance something might be up with your health, Dr. Bedford says. It’s worth checking in with a medical professional just to be safe.Related: