If you see what looks like blood in your poops, this COULD be from the canned beets you ate yesterday.
The sight of this in the toilet bowl has been known to freak people out because to the inexperienced, the coloration looks like blood.
Those Blasted Beets
“Beets and many berries, along with some medications, all have the ability to color urine or stool,” says Franjo Vladic, MD, a board certified gastroenterologist with Center for Digestive Health and Endoscopy Center in Ohio.
Dr. Vladic continues, “Beets are the most notorious culprit, causing urine to redden within hours, and depending upon transit time, can cause stool to look redder for days.”
Next time this happens to you, take images of the contents of the toilet bowl to keep it handy for reference for when it occurs again.
You can also present the image to your doctor if you’re concerned enough to get an exam.
Your doctor will want to know if, in addition to the red in your stools, you have other new symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss or fatigue, and a feeling of constipation even after you have voided.
Canned Beets: Anything Unique?
There is nothing about the canning process, though, that would make canned beets more likely or less likely to redden your stools when compared to fresh beets (raw or cooked).
Whether beets come in a can, raw in a salad or cooked after coming from the produce department, this superfood contains betaine, the pigment that causes red to appear in the stools and urine of a small percentage of people.
This is a perfectly benign situation, though scary to those who are not familiar with it.
Dr. Vladic’s special interests include acid reflux, colitis, colon cancer, GERD, heartburn, IBS, liver disease, obesity, pancreatitis and peptic ulcer, among many others.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.