Home > Bathroom Science, Education, Parenting, Personal Stories > Do You Poo Blood? I Do!

Do You Poo Blood? I Do!

No. I can’t boast about this last trip to the john. Whereas my last post began with a fluid masterpiece, I just now left the bathroom after spending 5 minutes trying to cleanse myself of paste-poo.  There’s nothing redeeming about paste-poo. It usually starts out fine, feels fluid, but then there’s that stop: that viscous slide to a hanging mass. Sure, the bulk of it may drop, but the ineffable stalactite remains. You wipe and scrape, but each time it feels like taking just a fraction, so that you divide to infinity, until you finally just stand up, exasperated, wondering if you will ever be clean again.


When you are growing up and learning about this amazing world, you always have a lot of questions. Some of these are fairly innocuous: “Why is the sky blue?” Others aren’t generally answered until you are older: “Why are Uncle Will and his roommate Ben holding hands?”  I always had plenty of these stored up for my exasperated mother. One of the questions I think may have been somewhat unique was: “Why is poo brown?”

Now come on. You are curious. My mom didn’t know. I asked her enough, but stopped after each answer was different and it became clear that I was gaining nothing by pestering her. Some examples:

“Because all the things you eat are different colors, and when you mix all the colors together, it turns brown.”

“It’s the easiest color for flies to see.”

“All the bacteria in there are brown.”


This last, though maybe true in a certain sense, means essentially nothing to the curious mind. So, I let it go. In college I never found out. Wikipedia and Google both were around, but were not to the omniscient level that they now present themselves. It wasn’t until med school that the answer came, just wafting by, a mere side point to a tangent—can you imagine?!—in a gastrointestinal physiology lecture.

The brownness comes from: blood.

To be more precise, stercobilin. Well, when blood cells die, they turn to biliverdin, to bilirubin, which gets sugar added to it and turns to bile, then excreted into the gut, then converted to urobilinogen, THEN stercobilin. But, please don’t remember any of that. It’s just in there for cred for my homies. Just accept my initial assertion that blood turns to poo.

Actual photo.

A sleep aid.

Well, yes, sometimes you actually do poo blood directly (the red kind) and that’s usually bad. But when those red blood cells die of old age in your body, the other cells always say (to comfort themselves) “well, he’s in a better place now.”

Isn’t it the truth.

  1. July 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Enlightening! I really thought it was the mixture of colors.

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