Poop is supposed to be brown, right? Well, sometimes, the color of your poop can change, and for a number of different reasons, too. Some causes of color changes are harmless, such as consuming a food or beverages with a certain dye or pigment. Other causes could actually signify a more serious health condition.
Yellow poop can be scary or alarming, as it is not a common color to see in your toilet. Unlike green poop, which is usually due to a harmless cause, yellow or pale-colored poop is more likely to be a sign of an illness, so it’s important to spot when your poop has turned yellow.
Causes of yellow poop
Not sure: Yellow stool can be related to GERD, Celiac Sprue, Steatorrhea, Hepatitis, Cirrhosis & gallbladder diseases. Send thanks to the doctor 90,000 U.S. Doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Occasional blood when passing stool. In this time i had three days passing a lot of blood when passing stool. The bleeding stopped by the 4th day so thought it was hemorroids. Also have a ridge in my read more.
Bile salts: A reduction or absence of bile salts can cause your poop to appear yellow. Lack of bile salts could be a sign of liver disease or tumors in the gallbladder, pancreas, and bile ducts. A blockage in the bile ducts can also impair the ability to move bile salts through the intestines. You may also experience itching, yellowing of the skin, and nausea.
Pancreatic problems: The pancreas produces enzymes to help you break down fat. If your poop is yellow, oily, and foul-smelling, it means that fat is not being broken down properly. Illnesses that affect the pancreas can contribute to yellow poop.
Intestinal conditions: Illnesses that affect the intestines can contribute to yellow poop, too. Celiac disease, GERD, and steatorrhea are just some intestinal conditions that can contribute to yellow poop. Even having a parasite can cause poop to appear yellow.
Emotional troubles: Our emotions can play a role in bowel motility. If your bowels work too quickly and you have diarrhea, poop will appear yellow due to insufficient digestion. People suffering from stress or anxiety are more likely to experience yellow poop and faster bowel movements as a result of the fight or flight mechanism in the body.
Cholestasis: This is the stoppage or reduction in bile flow from the liver to the intestines. Lack of bile can lead to yellow poop.
Abdominal mass: Having an abdominal mass such as a tumor can press against the bile ducts which can lead to cholestasis and yellow poop.
Diet: Foods high in coloring, carrots, or sweet potatoes can cause your poop to appear yellow. Certain gluten products high in fat can result in yellow poop, too.
Signs and symptoms that may accompany yellow stool
Other accompanying symptoms you may experience depend on the cause of yellow poop. For example, if you don’t notice any other symptoms, but recall consuming a bright-colored food, then you don’t have to worry about your yellow poop.
When yellow poop is caused by an illness, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Abdominal swelling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bone or joint pain
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Itchy skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Treatment options for yellow bowel movement
If your yellow bowels are a result of diet, you can either avoid eating the foods that make your bowels to turn yellow or stop worrying about the color change. If yellow bowels are caused by stress or anxiety, then reducing your stress and seeking out therapeutic treatments for your anxiety can help address the yellow poop problem.
If your yellow poop is due to liver disease, pancreatic illness, or issues with your bile ducts, then your doctor will schedule you for testing to properly diagnose the condition and prescribe the necessary treatment.
When to see a doctor for yellow stool
You should see a doctor about your yellow stool if you experience severe symptoms as listed above, if you begin to lose consciousness or if you are passing out, if you are confused or notice changes to your mental state, if you have a fever, if you’re vomiting, if you have difficulty breathing, if your ability to urinate has been reduced, and if the yellow poop lasts for a few weeks.
Because yellow poop is often associated with a serious illness, if you know you haven’t consumed food or beverages with yellow dyes, it is probably a good idea to have it checked out if it lasts for more than a few days.
Your stool can be used as an indicator that there may be something wrong with your health. So noting your other symptoms will help determine the root cause.
Yellow or pale stools are a usually a sign that you are suffering from some type of illness. There are a number of illnesses that can contribute to the presence of yellow stools. You may need to undergo a physical examination or provide a sample of your stool to your physician to fully determine what is causing your stool to exhibit a yellowish color. This will help determine if you are experiencing symptoms of a digestive disorder, viral or bacterial infection or if you may have developed a parasite. Your doctor will also check the consistency and color of the stool as well as check for odor, shape, blood or overall volume to help determine what may be wrong.
Causes of Yellow Stools
1. Bile-salts Related Causes
Your stool may become yellow due to the absence or reduction of bile salts. This can be caused by a liver disease such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. Tumors in the gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts or liver, sclerosing cholangitis, gallstones, biliary cirrhosis, biliary atresia or biliary stricture. If a blockage is limiting the body's ability to transmit bile salts to your intestines, it can also cause your stool to change colors. This can be caused by inflammation, external compression or gallstones. You may notice fever, itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes and nausea in this case.
2. Pancreatic Causes
The pancreas produces enzyme lipase and other substances that help you to break down fat. If your stool is yellow in color and appears to float or have an oily appearance that smells foul you may not be breaking down fats properly. If your pancreas is failing to produce lipase, this can be a sign of cystic fibrosis, pancreatic disease, pancreatic cancer or an abnormality in your lipase production that was present from birth.
3. Intestinal Causes
Some intestinal causes that cause your body to fail to absorb fat properly may cause yellow stools. Parasites such as giardia that are present in contaminated water are an example of conditions that may cause this side effect. Note any flu-like symptoms or fever that may accompany this change in stool color to help determine what may be the root cause.
- GERD. Gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD) can cause your body to digest food at a more rapid pace. This will cause food to enter your gastrointestinal tract with a greenish color. As the bacteria and fat from this food are absorbed your stool will normally take on a brown hue, but if it is moving too quickly, these items will not be absorbed properly, leaving it more yellow.
- Celiac Disease. Celiac disease or celiac sprue is a genetic disorder that limits a person's ability to digest gluten properly because their intestines have damage. Those that suffer from this condition will frequently have diarrhea, irregular bowel movements or discolored stool, particularly when they attempt to consume foods they cannot break down properly.
- Steatorrhea. This condition causes your stool to contain an abnormally high level of fat, causing yellow stools. Those that suffer from celiac disease, inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis can develop this condition. If you have steatorrhea food will move too quickly through the digestive system, so the body will not be able to absorb the nutrients from the food properly before it is expelled.
4. Emotional Factors
Studies have indicated that those that frequently suffer from stress or anxiety may be more prone to expelling food from their body too quickly. It is believed that the fight or flight mechanism causes the body to redistribute fluids in the body and releases hormones that will intensify and cause your hormones to behave erratically. This can lead to your digestive system speeding up, causing malabsorption and diarrhea.
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