Yellow Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Recommendations

Normal defecation can be any brown, that is, from the lightest to the darkest shade.

This color is due to the digestive agents produced by the liver, the digestion of bile salts, and the digestive agents stored in the gallbladder.

It must be diagnosed in a situation where the stool is light brown, brownish-yellow, or completely yellow. In the case of reduced bile salts or their absence, it can eventually lead to the excretion of yellow or pale poop.

Consuming foods and beverages that are yellow and remain undigested can also cause the passage of yellow stool. This condition is often known as yellow diarrhea.

What Causes Yellow Stool?

Bile salt production is often reduced due to severe liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. This passage can also be prevented due to blockage of the bile ducts due to gallstones, external compression, and inflammation.

On the other hand, the pancreas is also responsible for producing elements that are important for digestion, which includes the enzyme lipase that breaks down fats.

If excess fat is stored in the stool, it can lead to yellowish and bulky seats. These, along with some other conditions that affect the intestines, interfere with the process of fat absorption and cause the passage of yellow stool.


Causes of yellow diarrhea in babies

Yellow watery stools can be observed in the case of babies, and there are specific reasons behind such conditions:

  • First of all, babies are usually fed breast milk, which is fully digested in a short time. Therefore, babies frequently pass a stool after almost all feedings.
  • Second, babies have had very little time to have friendly bacteria in their intestines that aid in digestion and give their stools their brown color.
  • Third, babies are not fed a variety of foods. Their food does not contain fiber and fiber.

However, they are fed certain formula foods that strengthen the stool and give it a darker color when they get older. Passing watery stools of different colors is common among babies. The situation becomes alarming only if there are accompanying symptoms.

Causes of yellow stools in adults

Bile reduction

Conditions such as gallstones or tumors obstructing the bile duct, pancreatic or liver cancer or cysts, cirrhosis, and hepatitis can reduce bile.

Therefore, the stool does not get the standard brown color. Yellow diarrhea is accompanied by symptoms such as itching, dark urine, weight loss, jaundice, tiredness, etc. if it is caused by a reduction in bile.

Pancreatic causes

Pancreatic enzymes help in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

If the pancreas cannot produce enough enzymes, they can cause tumors in the small intestine, cystic fibrosis, congenital disabilities, blockage of the pancreatic duct, pancreas inflammation, etc. This leads to yellow or light-colored stools.

Irritable bowel syndrome

The abdominal pain and the need to evacuate frequently are characteristic of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. They pass stool closely quickly, so their chair undergoes it very quickly.

Therefore, bacteria and other pigments do not have adequate time to work on it, resulting in yellow diarrhea.


Consumption of the parasite Giardia lamblia causes an intestinal infection known as Giardiasis. It can be transferred from animals or from one human being to another. It can also infect a person who drinks or swims in water that has been contaminated by the parasite or who comes into contact with the feces of infected people.

Celiac disease

This is an autoimmune disorder in which the tissues of the small intestine are attacked by the body’s immune system. This is a response to consuming barley, rye, wheat, etc., containing gluten. This disease can be genetically transferred.

Gilbert’s syndrome

It is a condition in which bilirubin levels are very high during specific periods. They are characterized by mild jaundice and can also cause yellow diarrhea.


The type of food eaten affects the stool passed. Eating too many carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, squash, etc., can cause yellow diarrhea.


The digestion process is affected by stress. Speed ​​up the process this way; fewer nutrients are absorbed, resulting in the passage of yellow stool.


Symptoms of yellow diarrhea in babies

  • Dehydration
  • Dry diapers.
  • Irritability.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Cold hands and feet.
  • Pale or mottled skin

Symptoms of yellow diarrhea in adults

  • Indigestion or stomach cramps after meals.
  • Excess gas that has a foul odor.
  • The droppings are greasy and floating.
  • Weightloss.
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Skin rash.
  • Constipation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swelling.
  • Slightly elevated temperature.
  • Itch.
  • Past urine is darker in color.
  • Fainting.
  • Loss of bone density.
  • Headache.
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pains.

Diagnosis of yellow diarrhea

Among the possible tests, we find:

  • Thorough physical examination.
  • Examination of personal medical history.
  • Review of medications that may have affected the individual.
  • Checking habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption.
  • Observing the change in the frequency of bowel movements.
  • Stool examination.
  • Complete blood count.
  • Liver enzyme test.
  • Checking blood chemistry.
  • Coagulation tests.
  • Anemia test.
  • Liver and gallbladder disease tests.
  • Fecal occult blood test.
  • Colonoscopy
  • Biopsy.
  • Endoscopy
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
  • CT scan.
  • Ultrasound.
  • MRI.

Treatment for yellow diarrhea

Treatments for yellow diarrhea in babies

  • Feeding babies with breast milk or formula should be continued usually.
  • Babies should get more water between their meals.
  • Doctors should be consulted before giving babies any oral rehydration solution.
  • Babies can quickly become dehydrated, so they must be carefully monitored.

Treatments for yellow diarrhea in children

  • They should be given plenty of fluids.
  • They must have soft food.
  • Oral rehydration solution should be delivered in addition to standard drinks each time there is a bowel movement.

Treatments for yellow diarrhea in adults

Fluid intake

The body loses large amounts of fluids and essential substances like salt and glucose by passing watery stools frequently. This can lead to a drop in the average blood level, low blood pressure, kidney failure, or in severe cases, even death.

Therefore, it is essential to replace these fluids in the individual’s body by consuming juices, oral rehydration solutions, water, etc.

At least 200 ml of fluid should be consumed in addition to the average fluid intake each time there is a bowel movement. Liquids such as chicken/meat/vegetable broth, fruit juice, coconut water, sports drinks, ORS, etc., can be taken.

Recommended diet

While suffering from diarrhea, people are advised to eat small, light meals rather than not eating. This is done so that the body has stored energy despite frequent defecation.

To address the difficulty of vomiting any food eaten, patients can be given semi-liquid foods that can be quickly consumed and are more likely to remain in the system.

Foods such as white rice, boiled eggs, bananas, oatmeal, baked apples, boiled or baked potatoes, hard cheese in small quantities, cooked or boiled skinless chicken, etc., can be eaten.

What not to eat?

Foods that can worsen the individual’s condition should be avoided.

Processed meats, dairy foods like butter and cream, spicy foods, foods high in fat, alcohol, undercooked foods, gas-producing foods like cauliflower, dried fruits, nuts, etc., should not be consumed.

Food additives can irritate the intestines, so caffeine and artificial sweeteners should be avoided.


These are friendly bacteria that are often prescribed to be taken while suffering from diarrhea. They work on the stomach contents and help form healthy stools. They have also been shown to decrease the duration of diarrhea in many cases.


In most cases, people can recover from diarrhea in a day or two. However, symptoms such as weight loss, painless diarrhea, tiredness, blood in the stool, loss of appetite, etc., are alarming. If diarrhea remains even after 24 to 48 hours, a doctor should be consulted.