When people see yellow poop in the toilet, it can often be worrying, so it is important to understand what causes it, as well as what can help you get your digestive system back on track.
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What is Yellow Poop?
Yellow poop is often called “pale stool”, and is not as uncommon as you might think. Your stool is normally brown because of the presence of bilirubin, which is a waste extract of red blood cells. However, your stool color can change based on your diet and other factors. While slightly green or different-colored brown stool is relatively normal, yellow poop can be an indication that something is wrong with your gastrointestinal system. Some of the causes should be addressed professionally, while others are less serious. Yellow poop is not normal, but it isn’t an immediate sign that you need to rush to a doctor.
What Causes Yellow Poop?
One of the most common causes behind yellow stool (or any discolored stool) is celiac disease, in which the gastrointestinal system is unable to digest certain wheat proteins, resulting in a myriad of stomach issues, unless gluten is avoided.
Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD) is another likely culprit behind your yellow stools because people suffering from this condition have very fast digestive processes, so your fecal matter doesn’t pick up the bacteria and other waste as it moves through the gut, resulting in a yellow color.
Liver & Gallbladder
These two organs can both be linked to problems with bile production, which is one of the main causes behind the yellow stool. Various inflammatory or chronic conditions affecting these organs can cause this yellow discoloration.
This disease is basically harmless, but it means that your liver can’t process bilirubin, meaning that it isn’t able to color your stool, resulting in a yellow color.
Perhaps the most common cause of this condition, excess stress can lead to high-stress hormone levels, which can affect bile production and excretory functions.
Yellow Poop Symptoms
Aside from the obvious symptom of yellow poop (fecal discoloration), some other symptoms that may accompany this unusually colored feces include abdominal swelling, indigestion, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If these symptoms become serious, it is important that you go to see a doctor immediately.
Yellow Poop Treatments
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments for yellow poop, specifically treating the underlying cause, once it has been diagnosed. Some therapeutic treatments include altering your diet and the use of certain herbal remedies. Most important, however, is addressing the cause. If your yellow stool is caused by stress, seek out natural stress-relieving activities, while liver and gallbladder disorders may require more aggressive treatment or the opinion of a medical professional.
While there are some at-home remedies, as explained below, experiencing more than two days of yellow stool should warrant a visit to the doctor.
Eliminating spicy, sour, and acidic foods can often help remedy yellow stool relatively quickly. Increase your intake of healthy fats, as well as fruits and vegetables, and add more cooling foods, such as beans and barley, which can help to bind your stool and improve gastrointestinal health.
Use herbal gastrointestinal remedies like ginger, turmeric, milk thistle, mint, and slippery elm to quickly re-balance the bacterial landscape in your gut and optimize the health of your liver and gallbladder.
When to See a Doctor?
While yellow stool is worrying, it doesn’t automatically mean you should see a doctor, particularly if you believe the symptoms are a result of your diet or a temporary bout of intense stress. However, if the symptoms persist for more than 2 days, or if the abdominal pain is debilitating in any way, seek out medical attention as soon as possible.