Light Brown and Dark Brown Poop Mixed: What Causes it?

The light brown color is considered the normal color of poop. However, it can range from person to person within different shades of brown color. The poop color also depends on the individual’s health and environmental condition.

But what gets light brown and dark brown poop mixed?

It is normal to have brown colored poop. But it can be a symptom of some complications. Dark brown poop mixed with light one may be due to the items that we eat (as they may contain any dye), constipation, GIT bleeding, abdomen cramps, respiratory tract bleeding, different medications, and can be due to some infection of the large intestine. 

Did that pique your interest? To learn more about what makes your poop color change like this, keep reading.

Causes of Light Brown and Dark Brown Poop Mixed

Poop color can determine the internal condition of your body. Some complications can be easily noticed by the color and texture of poop. Like, green poop may be due to incomplete breakage of bilirubin. It may occur during diarrhea when bowel movements occur too quickly and bilirubin does not find time for complete breakage. It can also be due to consumption of some green food such as leafy vegetables, or items containing green dye. 

light-brown-and-dark-brown-poop-mixed

Black-colored poop is due to some bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal parts. The red color in poop may be due to inflammation and bleeding of the lower gastrointestinal part, including the small and large intestine. 

Similarly, brown poop mixed with light one may be due to many reasons. Some of them are listed below.

Constipation

Brown poop mixed with light one can be due to constipation. Constipation is a condition in which a person experiences forced and hard bowel movements. And just two or three bowel movements in a week. 

Causes

Constipation can be caused by:

  • Dehydration of the body
  • Fibers insufficient food
  • Physical inactivity
  • Usage of some drugs as side effects
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Anorectal blockage
  • Change in hormones during pregnancy, menstruation, etc.
  • Other diseases such as diabetes etc.
  • Holding stool for long periods despite being urged to do so

Symptoms

Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Hard stool
  • Fewer bowel movements in a week
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Forced or pressurized bowel movement
  • A sensation of incomplete movements

Treatment

Constipation can be easily treated by:

  • More intake of water
  • Taking food containing more fibers
  • Laxatives are usually prescribed as medication
  • Lubiprostone or Linaclotide, as prescribed by a doctor.

Constipation can be treated easily but if left untreated, it can cause piles or hemorrhoids, fecal impaction causing abdominal cramps, rectal prolapse, and anal fissure. You may have to undergo surgery if the situation becomes worse.

constipation

Food Intake

Different items we eat can be a cause of brown poop with light one. For example, black and blue berries, beets, red meat, colored gelatin usually red, plums, and iron-containing food including spinach. Further, if we eat some color-containing food as many dyes are now available in bakery products and many other items, it can also cause poop to appear brown.

The brown poop due to this reason does not cause any side effects or complications. It is typically cured by itself without any measurement.

Medications or Drugs

Side effects of some specific drugs include a change in the color of poop. So, brown and light-colored mixed poop can be due to the intake of some drugs. Drugs like bismuth-containing Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol, some iron supplements, and a high intake of vanadium supplements.

The brown-colored poop due to this reason is normal. No need to worry about it.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding is also a cause of change in the color of stools. They may appear as dark brown and reddish poop sometimes. It includes bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, or the lower gastrointestinal, including the small and large intestine.

gastrointestinal-bleeding

Causes

GIT bleeding may be due to:

  • Hemorrhoids or Piles
  • Ulcer in stomach
  • Gastritis, inflammation in the stomach.
  • Ulcer in the intestine
  • Inflammation in the small intestine or large intestine, including inflammation of the rectum and anus
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Severe constipation
  • Esophageal varices
  • Bacterial infection in the intestine
  • Anal fissure

Symptoms:

Its symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Red color appearance in stool
  • Dark brown stool
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Tiredness or Fatigue
  • Difficult breathing
  • Low blood pressure 

Treatment

GIT bleeding can be treated with diverse medications depending on the location of the gastrointestinal part from where bleeding occurs. To treat bleeding due to stomach sores or ulcers, proton pump inhibitors and some antibiotics are prescribed. It is recommended in this case to avoid alcoholic and spicy products and to take vitamin C products, including vitamin supplements. Milky products should be used.

Analgesics are given to patients having bleeding due to external hemorrhoids. Fiber-containing products are good in this condition, as they help to keep stools soft, making it easy for them to move during bowel movements.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a severe gastrointestinal disorder, badly affecting the large intestine causing abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. It causes a change in the color of poop. And you might be faced with red or yellow poop.

Causes

Irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by:

  • Bacterial infection. Many bacteria live in our gut, mainly in the large intestine, without causing any complications. They mainly help in the breakdown of some food, including polysaccharides. Some bacteria also produce Vitamins in the gut. But if there is an increase in the number of these bacteria due to one or more reasons, it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. This infection can cause inflammation mainly in the large intestine, more precisely in the colon, rectum, and anus.
  • IBS can be caused by some hereditical factors. These factors modify the brain and gut interaction, or you can say this genetic issue alters the brain-gut axis. The Brain-gut axis is a signaling system between brain and gut, including gut microbiota functioning. Gut microbiota refers to all microorganisms living within the gut. When the brain-gut axis becomes disrupted, all these microorganisms increase their growth, increasing their colonies and causing infection. This infection can cause many complications, including inflammation, abdominal cramps, bloating, indigestion of food, constipation, diarrhea, sticky poop, etc.
  • Change in hormones in the body. People who have some psychological issues like stress, depression, anxiety are at more chances of getting IBS. Further, emotional changes due to any reason can also be a cause of IBS.
irritable-bowel-syndrome

Symptoms

Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Bloating or accumulation of excess gas in the abdomen.
  • Uncomfortable or painful abdominal cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Blood or mucus in poops 

Treatment

IBS can be treated depending on its type. Overall measurements to cure IBS include:

  • Consumption of food containing more fiber.
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Relief from stress
  • Taking proper exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Avoid food like alcohol, wheat, barley, and others that can cause bloating.
  • Drugs such as antibiotics, laxatives, antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide, some antidepressants such as desipramine and painkillers can be prescribed by your doctor. Some drugs that are specifically manufactured for IBS include Linaclotide, Linaprostone which can be recommended by a doctor.

Respiratory Tract Bleeding

Bleeding in the upper respiratory tract including the nose and pharynx or throat can pass through the gut and can be excreted out of the body from the anus through feces. The pharynx is the common junction of the digestive and respiratory tract, so bleeding in this part can pass through the intestines.

Bleeding may be due to some injury or tumor, or maybe due to some other reason.

Cause

The respiratory tract bleeding can be caused by

  • Smoking for long term
  • Alcoholic consumption
  • Viral and bacterial infection.
  • Mutation
  • Inhalation or consumption of toxic substances

Symptoms

If bleeding in the throat is due to some tumor or cancer, then its symptoms must include:

  • Continuous cough
  • Difficult breathing
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Jaw pain
  • Blood in vomiting
  • Swollen neck or mouth
  • Weight loss

Treatment

Respiratory tract bleeding can be cured by:

  • Radiation therapy includes the bombardment of high-energy beams such as X-rays on the throat. These radiations come from a device kept outside the body, and then radiations are targeted. In this therapy, only a fixed location can be targeted, so tumors at an early stage can be treated.
  • Chemotherapy includes the consumption of drugs in all forms including pills, powders, injections, liquids, tablets, capsules, etc. It can be used at the earliest time of tumor or after in combination with radiotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy can be done in the case of chemo and radiotherapy failure. In this therapy, the immune system of the body is strengthened or activated in such a way that it becomes able to fight cancerous cells and eventually kill them. Our natural immune system is not able to detect cancerous cells sometimes, due to the coating of proteins on these cells. So, immunotherapy helps our natural immune system to detect and kill these cells.
  • Surgery can be done if all other medications or therapies fail to work out. In this method, the small part of the throat is extracted from the body. In complicated cases, the whole lymph nodes can be removed.

FAQs 

Question: Why does stool appear dark brown?

Answer: The dark color of the stool may be due to the consumption of some dye-containing foods. As many colors are now being added by the product makers to bakery items or in many other things etc. The brown color may be due to the usage of iron supplements. The dark color may be due to the regular use of some drugs, such as Pepto-Bismol.

Question: Is there any need to worry if I notice my stool darker than normal?

Answer: No. It is not a serious problem and can be just a temporary change. But if you notice some other complications like bleeding or irritation or soreness, you should consult a doctor.

Question: Can bacterial infection be a cause of change in stool color?

Answer: Yes, bacterial infection can be a cause of a change in stool color. It can cause bleeding within the gut, the blood then passes out of the body through the anus. As a result of this, blood appears in the stool, and it looks red or dark.

Conclusion

If you experience light brown and dark brown poop mixed together, then it may be a temporary color change of stool due to the consumption of colored food. This can also be due to some drugs or medications that change poop color as a side effect. In addition, any kind of bleeding within the gut can pass through the anus in stools, causing them to appear dark.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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