Yellow diarrhea is a condition in which you pass out loose and often watery stool that appears yellow in color. Typically, it results from improper absorption of fats in your lower intestines. When the poorly digested fats get into the small intestines, they are passed out of the digestive system in form of lose yellow fecal matter. In some cases, the yellow stool may be accompanied with fat droplets.

Causes of Yellow Diarrhea

The causes of yellow diarrhea include:

1. Bile Reduction

Normal poop is brown in color because it contains bile salts or bile pigments. If your liver fails to produce enough bile, the poop loses its normal brown color because it contains little or no bile pigments. Inadequate bile production may be due to:

  • Gallstones, which prevents bile from reaching your digestive system by blocking the bile ducts
  • Liver cancer, which destroys the healthy cells of the liver responsible for bile production
  • Liver inflammation, which hiders the normal functioning of the liver in producing the bile
  • Liver cirrhosis and cysts, which prevent adequate bile from reaching the digestive system by blocking the hepatic ducts.

When yellow diarrhea results from inadequate supply of bile to the digestive system, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Urine darkening
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Jaundice, a condition characterized by yellowing of the skin and whites of your eyes

2. Pancreatic Insufficiency

This is a disorder in which your pancreas fails to produce enough pancreatic juice, which contains enzymes that help in digestion of macronutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Possible causes of pancreatic insufficiency include tumors in the pancreas, cystic fibrosis, and pancreatic duct blockage. The inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis, and pancreatic congenital abnormalities may also hinder the ability of the pancreas to produce enough pancreatic juice.

Besides yellow diarrhea, the failure of the pancreas to produce enough digestive enzymes may result in the following symptoms:

  • Stomach cramps after meals
  • Excessive release of smelly gas
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion
  • High frequency of bowel movements

Since pancreatic insufficiency may be a sign of a serious underlying condition, it is advisable to see your doctor as soon as you begin experiencing the symptoms.

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This refers to gastrointestinal condition that is characterized by frequent passing of loose stool and abdominal pain. Since this condition causes your bowel to function faster than normal, it results in fast poop, which is yellow in color; hence, yellow diarrhea.

4. Celiac Disease

This refers to an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks and damages the small intestine cells. This typically happens after eating foods that contain gluten, a type of protein. Foods that contain gluten include barley, wheat, and rye. Any damage to the tissues of the small intestines hinders the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients from digested food, leading to yellow diarrhea.

Since celiac disease causes many symptoms, the diagnosis of this condition may be difficult. As a matter of fact, celiac disease is associated with more than 300 symptoms. This is according to the research conducted by the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness. However, common symptoms of this disease include:

Since celiac disease is not curable, it is advisable to prevent it by avoiding foods that are rich in gluten.

5. Giardiasis

It is a type of intestinal tract infection that results from giardia, which is a parasite. The sufferers of this condition acquire it when they ingest giardia cysts, which are usually found in contaminated water and food. Swimming in contaminated water may also result in giardiasis. You may know that you have giardiasis if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Yellow and foul smelling loose stool
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Excessive stomach gas
  • High body temperatures
  • Abdominal pain

These symptoms appear within three weeks following infection. The symptoms may fail to show up because some people are carriers. However, such people can transfer the parasites to others. It is important to seek treatment as soon as the symptoms appear. One effective treatment of giardiasis is antibiotics.

6. Anxiety

Anxiety causes diarrhea by depriving your digestive system of adequate blood supply. When you are faced with a situation that triggers anxiety, your body tends to respond by diverting the blood floor to areas, such as the legs, which can help in dealing with such a situation. As a result, the digestive system tends to receive inadequate blood supply, which hinders its normal way of digesting food. This results in yellow diarrhea.

Treatment of Yellow Diarrhea

Although yellow diarrhea may disappear without any treatment in mild cases, it is advisable to seek treatment when the condition persists since it may be due to a serious digestive problem that needs urgent treatment. Treatments for this condition focus on addressing the underlying cause. To determine the cause of yellow diarrhea, certain diagnostic tests may be necessary. They include:

  • Medical history examination
  • Physical examination
  • Stool examination
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI
  • Tests for gallbladder disorders
  • Tests for liver disease
  • Liver enzyme examination
  • CT scan
  • Ultra-sound

I. Treatments for Children and Babies

Yellow diarrhea treatments for babies and children include:

• Oral rehydration solutions
• Eating bland foods
• Taking a lot of fluids
• Breastfeeding

II. Treatments for Adults

a) Use of Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria, which are usually prescribed by your doctor. When taken, they cause production of healthy poop by acting on the food in your digestive system. Probiotics are also work by reducing the period of time that yellow diarrhea lasts.

b) Proper Rehydration

This involves taking enough fluids to replace the fluids lost through the diarrhea. Remember, yellow diarrhea deprives your body of water, which may hinder the occurrence of essential body processes, including metabolism. Dehydration is also dangerous to your health because it may lead to low blood volume, kidney failure, and low blood pressure. Fluids that can help to address dehydration due to yellow diarrhea include:

  • Water
  • Rehydration solutions
  • Juices
  • Broths from vegetables, beef, and chicken
  • Milk

Remember, it may be difficult taking some of these fluids in the absence of thirst or appetite. For instance, it may be difficult to drink enough water because it is tasteless. Be sure to take it in small bits, but frequently. Also, it is important to know your goal and stay focused. Take these fluids even if you do not feel like doing so.

c) Certain Fruits

Fruits such as blueberries, bananas, and apples have the ability to treat diarrhea by hardening your loose stool. See low FODMAP diet for details.

d) High-fiber Foods

Eating foods with high fiber content helps to treat yellow diarrhea by facilitating fluid absorption. Proper fluid absorption leads to proper bowel movement.

In a nutshell, since yellow diarrhea may be a sign of serious underlying conditions including liver disease and pancreatic disorders, seeking medical attention when its symptoms appear is crucial. This enables your doctor to diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment for any underlying cause to prevent further complications. Additionally, although yellow diarrhea is treatable, it is better to prevent the condition by avoiding its possible causes. Foods such as processed meats, spices, nuts, dried fruits, cauliflower, and under-cooked foods should be avoided. Food additives should also be taken in moderation because they can result in bowel irritation.