What Does Yellow Poop Mean?

Your stool color says a lot about your gut and overall health.

Normal stool is brown. A change in the color of poop can be worrisome, especially if it persists. There are many causes of yellow poop, some are quite harmless while some are serious.

What Causes Yellow Poop?

1. Diet

Your diet affects your poop color, texture, and quantity. Eating food items with yellow coloring may cause you to pass bright yellow stools. These food items, such as candy, carrots, turmeric, sweet potatoes or processed food items may cause you to pass yellow stools but this goes away after a short time.

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2. Liver and Gall bladder Diseases

In Liver cirrhosis and inflammation (called hepatitis), the liver fails to produce sufficient bile to help the body digest fatty acids, causing these food items to pass through the gut largely unchanged, causing the poop to be discolored.

In other instances, the liver produces enough bile but there may be a problem with its delivery due to a gall bladder stone, thus reducing the bile that gets into the intestines for digestion.

3. Celiac Disease

This is an autoimmune disease that causes some food particles to pass undigested through the digestive tract. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system attacks the body. Celiac disease affects gluten digestion (a protein found in food items such as barley, wheat, and rye).

When gluten is ingested, the body attacks the cells in the small intestine, damaging them and ensuring that these food items are not digested.

4. Pancreatic Diseases

The pancreas is an important organ for digestion. It produces chemicals and enzymes that help break down food in the intestine.

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When diseased, the process of digestion is less efficient can cause yellow, bulky stools. Common diseases that affect the pancreas include pancreatitis (acute and chronic), pancreatic cancer, or cystic fibrosis.

5. Infections of the Digestive Tract

An infection of the digestive tract may cause the passage of bright yellow watery stools. It can be a result of taking in contaminated food or water. In addition to causing yellow stools, you may also pass loose stools, foul-smelling farts, feel nauseous and have stomach cramps.

Yellow Stool In Babies

In babies, yellow stool is usually not abnormal. It is in fact common in healthy babies. You should inform your doctor if you notice bloody, black or watery baby poop.

When To See A Doctor

Most times, if the stool color change is caused by your diet, it should resolve after a few days. You should see your doctor if the stool color change is persistent or there are other symptoms like:

  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • watery stools
  • black or bloody stools
  • vomiting
  • body weakness

Diagnostic Tests

To make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask some questions and proceed to examine you.

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Some tests may be requested like:

  • complete blood count
  • stool microscopy and culture
  • abdominal ultrasound scan
  • computed tomography scan.

Treatment

Treatment is based on the cause. Dietary causes often require no treatment and should resolve with a dietary change.

Depending on the cause, lifestyle changes, medications and dietary modifications may be recommended by your doctor to treat it. In severe cases, you may require surgery.

Prevention

  1. Eat properly cooked meals especially when you are abroad
  2. Include more fiber in your meals
  3. Avoid triggers in your diet. This is especially important if you have allergies to a particular food item, such as gluten in celiac disease.
  4. Avoid eating food items with lots of coloring
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly when you go to the toilet and before preparing or eating food.

Summary

Most times, yellow stool is caused by your diet. However, it can be a sign of other conditions like liver disease, celiac disease, and pancreatic problems. You should see your doctor if it is persistent or if you have additional symptoms like watery stools, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

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