It is important to observe the colour of your stool as it may be an indication of underlying health conditions.
Arikawe Adeolu, a medical practitioner at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, gave the advice in an interview with NAN on Wednesday.
Adeolu said the colour, shape, size, consistency and frequency of an individual’s stool gives a lot of background information about underlying health conditions in the body.
He said the pigment present in bile is the reason the stool maintains its brown colour as it(the pigment) mixes with the stool when they come in contact.
The doctor said if for any reason the pigment fails to mix with the stool to give it the brown colour, the stool would appear pale, having an off-white colour.
Adeolu said: “In this situation where the stool turns off-white, you are looking at some form of blockage of the bile duct.
“The blockage prevents the bile from getting to the intestine to mix with the stool to give it that brownish colour.
“Once you notice a consistent change in your colour of stool over a two day period, it is important you go to the hospital so that you can be thoroughly assessed by a health professional to find out the cause.
“The colour of stool can give background information into some underlying health conditions in the body.
“Your stool can say a lot about your health and there are a lot of things to consider when one wants to make an assessment of one’s stool to determine ones health condition.
“The colour of stool is just one factor to consider when assessing ones health; there is need to consider the shape, size, consistency and the frequency of the stool.
“The ease of passage of stool can also give information about any underlying health condition.’’
He said some stool could have yellowish colouration and could appear oily, stressing that in such situation, the individual could be having a health condition known as malabsorption.
He said if the stool colour changes to black, it could mean that the individual is consuming some type of supplement or that such individual has some form of internal bleeding.
Adeolu said the bleeding could occur in the intestine, a condition known as upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
According to him, black stool condition is normally referred to as tarry black stool.
He said when the stool appears red, it indicates that there is blood in the stool which could be as a result of bleeding in the lower part of the intestine.
The medical expert also observed that the red colour in the stool could be from the rectum or heamorroids.
Adeolu said the normal colour of stool should be brown; adding that professional medical assistance should be sought if the colour changes and remains consistent more than two days.