Bright Green Diarrhea

When there is green diarrhea, parents usually are concerned. Luckily, green poop is nothing to worry about usually and the treatment is easy - give more food.

This page contains the following information on this worrying but benign sign:

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What causes bright green stools (poop, poo)?

Bright green poop (poo) is usually caused by lack of food. Often when infants and toddlers are unwell they don't eat much. This is especially true when your toddler or infant has gastroenteritis.

Often, because of vomiting and diarrhea, children are only given clear fluids - while this is the correct treatment initially, food can usually be started within a few hours. Sometimes, children only get clear fluids for up to 24 hours or more. In these cases, it's not unusual for the diarrhea to become bright green. This is because bile that the body makes to digest food has nothing to work on so it comes out in the stool (poop, poo). Bile is bright green.

We often refer to diarrhea that is bright green as "starvation stools".

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Should I be worried if my child has bright green poop?

No. If your toddler or child hasn't been eating much, encourage him to start eating again. This will use up the bile and the diarrhea should settle and the green poop will cease.

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How can I prevent bright green loose poop (diarrhea)?

When your toddler or infant has gastroenteritis, do not stop normal food.

If he is vomiting, you may need to give clear fluids, (such as Gastrolyte, Dioralyte, Pedialyte or Rehydralyte) for a few hours, but resume feeding as soon as possible.

In the past, doctors often advised clear fluids only for 24 hours. We now advise early feeding within a few hours of the gastroenteritis starting. Read more

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To go to the top of the Green Diarrhea page, click here

To go to the Gastroenteritis page, click here

To read about How to Stop Diarrhea, click here

To go to the main Diarrhea page, click here

To return to the Home page, click here


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Last reviewed 26 May 2011

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Dr Maud MD

Dr Maud MD (MBChB, FRACP, FRCPCH), a specialist pediatrician, provides health information and medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers. Read more about Dr Maud.



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