Yellow Poop (Stool Color Changes)
The normal stool (poop, feces) usually is light to dark brown. Bilirubin and bile give poop its normal brown color. Bilirubin is a byproduct of your red blood cells. It’s produced in the liver and then moves to the gallbladder, where it mixes with bile. From there, most of the bilirubin passes into your intestines where it’s broken down by bacteria and discarded in your feces or urine.
Causes of stool color changes
It’s normal for your stool to change color. You likely have a varied diet and changes in your diet impact your stool. But yellow stool, sometimes called pale stool, can also indicate a number of health problems. Bowel movements are usually light to dark brown in color, and there is moderate variation among individuals with respect to stool color, quantity and form.
Most common causes may include:
Liver and gallbladder disorders
Disorders that affect the pancreas
Symptoms of stool color changes
Changes in stool color alone do not cause symptoms. The underlying cause of the change in stool color, texture, or form is responsible for any symptoms.
Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine) leading to red, maroon, or black tarry stools may at times be without any symptoms at all. Other times, these changes may have accompanying symptoms of:
Abdominal pain due to the underlying cause of the bleeding, for example, an ulcer;
Nausea, vomiting of blood, diarrhea, and cramping due to the presence of blood in the stomach and/or intestines; and
Weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness, due to the loss of blood from the body.
Diagnosis of stool color changes
In most cases, a diagnosis, if any, cannot be made by stool color alone.
The patient and the doctor need to consider other symptoms, past medical history, dietary changes, and medications to help decide what has caused the stool to change color. Physical examination will be important to help decide the significance of the stool color.
Stool may be tested to look for blood, fat, or infection. Blood tests may be necessary depending upon the clinical situation. Depending on the change in color, it may be necessary to evaluate the pancreas, liver or GI tract.
Treatment of stool color changes
The treatment for changes in stool color depends on the cause. Some changes in the color of stool can be due to the color of the ingested food. Other more significant medical causes may require simple or extensive medical evaluation and treatment.