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Pediatrics Common Questions, Quick Answers

Stool and Urine Color Changes

Donna D'Alessandro, M.D.
Susan Kinzer, M.P.H.
Peer Review Status: Internally Reviewed
Creation Date: July 2003
Last Revision Date: July 2003


Common Questions, Quick Answers

What causes color changes of stool or urine??

 

Stool

Urine

     

Black Stool

Black/Brown Urine

Body/Cell Contents

Blood, iron

Old blood, homogentisic urine, melanin, myoglobin, hemosiderin

Diseases

Tyrosinosis, melanosis

Drugs

Pepto-Bismol

Quinine, nitrofurantoin, metronidazole, cascara, senna

Foods

Black licorice, blueberries, green-leafy vegetables

Rhubarb

Other

Lead, charcoal, coal, dirt

     

Green/Greenish Gold Stool

Green/Blue Urine

Body/Cell Contents

Biliverdin

Diseases

Hypercalcemia, blue diaper syndrome

Drugs

Amitriptyline, triamterene, prochlorperazine, doxorubicin, indomethacin

Foods

Normal in fully breastfed babies

Infections

Stomach infection

Psuedomonas infection

Other

Indigo blue, methylene blue, copper clasp on a diaper holder

     

Red/Pink Stool

Red/Burgundy Urine

Body/Cell Contents

Blood

Old urine, hemoglobin, red blood cells, urates

Drugs

Diazepam syrup, ampicillin, viprynium (for threadworms), Phenolphthalein in teething powder

Phenolphthalein in laxatives

Foods

Red Jell-O, dioralyte oral rehydration solution

Beets, blackberries, food coloring

Infections

Serratia marcescens infection

Other

     

Yellow Stool

Yellow Urine

Foods

Normal in formula-fed babies

Other

Dehydration

     

Deep Yellow/Yellow Brown Urine

Body/Cell Contents

Bile, bilirubin

Drugs

Anti-malarial drugs, cascara, metronidazole, nitrofurantoin, sulfasalazine

Foods

Riboflavin, carotene-containing foods, orange or yellow vegetables

Other

B-complex vitamins

     

White/Clay Colored Stool

Diseases

Malabsorption (not absorbing certain foods), blockage in liver/biliary system of the gut

Other

Barium, aluminum hydroxide

     

Orange Urine

Body/Cell Contents

Bile, urates

Drugs

Warfarin, rifampin, rifabutin, phenazopyridine

Other

Congo red dye

Who can get it?

What are the signs and symptoms?

Is it contagious?

How is it treated?

How long does it last?

When should I call the doctor?

Quick Answers

References


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