Vitalii Barida/iStock through Getty Pictures Plus
Curious Youngsters is a sequence for youngsters of all ages. In case you have a query you’d like an skilled to reply, ship it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is my poop brown? – Ethan J., age 9, Potomac, Maryland
Three-quarters of your poop consists of water and many of the relaxation is meals your physique didn’t digest.
As soon as it exits the digestive system, poop is often a shade of brown, whatever the look of no matter you’ve needed to eat and drink, as a result of it comprises a chemical your physique makes.
That chemical, stercobilin, is a product of the breakdown of hemoglobin – an iron-containing protein in purple blood cells that enables oxygen to be transported across the physique. With out sercobilin, your poop would in all probability look pale and even white. That’s as a result of many of the chemical compounds that give meals many various colours are fully damaged down within the digestive course of.
Purple blood cells stay for under round 120 days earlier than they’re finally changed. Because the hemoglobin they comprise breaks down, a yellow protein referred to as bilirubin will get produced.
Bilirubin finally makes its method to the liver via the circulatory system and is modified after which secreted into the small gut by the liver within the type of bile. Bile, a yellow-green fluid, helps your physique digest and take up fat. Whereas your physique does take up and reuse some bilirubin because the meals you’re digesting strikes via the small gut, the remainder of that bilirubin turns into stercobilin – which your physique should eliminate.
And that stercobilin will get mixed with the stuff you’re digesting, making your poop brown by the point it exits your physique.
Veronika Zakharova/Science Photograph Library through Getty Pictures
Poop, after all, isn’t all the time brown. It may be a special colour, relying on what you eat and how briskly the stuff strikes via your system.
I’m a health care provider who commonly treats youngsters with digestive issues. A few of them have diarrhea – that’s, liquid poop. It may be inexperienced or yellow as a result of it comprises a number of bile.
When poop strikes too rapidly via your physique, the bilirubin within the bile doesn’t have sufficient time to be damaged right down to kind stercobilin, which might make it browner.
If you happen to eat a number of one thing, particularly if it’s exhausting in your physique to rapidly digest, your poop could look humorous. For some individuals, consuming beets results in purple poop or reddish urine.
Your physique can’t probably take up every thing that you just eat and drink. Some meals, like corn kernels, can’t be absolutely digested by individuals. They could even come out in poop trying the identical dimension and colour as once you ate them.
Although it could appear gross, I like to recommend that you just commonly peek at your poop earlier than flushing to verify it’s brown and squishy. If most of it’s an uncommon colour, equivalent to black or white, it may very well be an indication you must see a health care provider. The identical goes for having poop that’s too exhausting or too runny. In case your poop is purple and also you haven’t been consuming beets, which may even be trigger for concern.
Whats up, curious children! Do you’ve gotten a query you’d like an skilled to reply? Ask an grownup to ship your query to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please inform us your title, age and town the place you reside.
And since curiosity has no age restrict – adults, tell us what you’re questioning, too. We gained’t have the ability to reply each query, however we are going to do our greatest.
Hannibal Individual doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.