Why is my poop yellow

Although not always the case, yellow poop can at times indicate some sort of a digestive disorder. Before we discuss the reasons, we must at first understand why it is that poop turns yellow in the first place. Yellow or faded poop color indicates that the liver bile has not properly been reabsorbed because the entire stool has moved much faster through the digestive system than it should have. Depending on the texture, shape and condition of the stool, any of the following reasons can be responsible for the occurrence of yellow poop.

1. Giardiasis –- Giardiasis is a medical condition which is brought on in humans and other mammals by a protozoan named Giardia lamblia. This anaerobic parasite can cause yellow diarrhea and in patients with weak immune systems, that can even be fatal. Giardia infects the small intestine and one should note that it is a very contagious disease that can be acquired from water, food, sexual interactions or even a touch. A sanitary lifestyle and practicing good hygiene everywhere is the key to avoid yellow diarrhea.

If left untreated, giardiasis can turn out to be extremely damaging to the human digestive system as it gives rise to conditions like malabsorption, malnutrition, lactose intolerance, susceptibility to cancer, loss of appetite, etc.

2. GERD -– It is not uncommon for individuals suffering from Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease to excrete yellow poop. The yellow poop is usually the result of the fact that people suffering from GERD, digest food at a faster rate than others. What happens is that the digested food moves too fast through the digestive system and is excreted out; which does not allow the mass to gather all the fat, bile, bacteria and other globules that are responsible for the brown color of healthy poop.

People suffering from GERD are more susceptible to heartburns, acid refluxes and other gastric problems than normal people and thus they often require serious medication to maintain a normal life. In extreme cases, even surgery might not be ruled out. A healthy lifestyle is often found to be helpful but the results may not be permanent or comprehensive.

3. Issues with the gallbladder -– As the gallbladder is responsible for holding the bile, which is the primary reason behind the brown color of poop, any obstruction or disease of the gallbladder can very well lead to the occurrence of yellow poop. Examples of such diseases include cholecystitis, cholangitis and gallstones. As these disorders interfere either with overall production and storage of the bile fluid, or block its secretion, they are often the reason behind yellow or colorless poop.

yellow poop

Gallstones can be and should be operated on as soon as possible before the other more complicated conditions arise from it. In fact, diseases like cholangitis can be very painful, as well as fatal for some.

4. Steatorrhea -– This is a medical condition which is brought on by other diseases such as pancreatitis or celiac disease. The yellow color of the poop excreted by a person suffering from steatorrhea is largely due to an extremely high content of fat cells in the stool. As steatorrhea is actually a condition or a symptom, rather than the disease itself, the reason could also be a number of other conditions and diseases that could lead to malabsorption of the fat cells ingested by a person daily.

Steatorrhea leads to yellow poop with characteristic foul smell and even an oily discharge from the anus at times. As steatorrhea can be the result of anything from a bacterial infection to pancreatic cancer, it is advised to check with the doctor and go for the necessary tests in order to determine the reason as quickly as possible. The treatment would of course be administered based on the real cause of the condition and thus it will differ.

5. Celiac sprue -– Celiac disease or celiac sprue is a genetic disorder that affects the entire digestive system of the person. The problem faced by an individual suffering from the disease is mainly due to the fact that he/she becomes unable to digest gluten. The inability stems from the damage inflicted upon the lining of the intestines and as a result, the person’s poop has an abnormally high percentage of undigested gluten, giving it the yellow color. This fact was further confirmed a few years back by the Colon Cleansing and Constipation Research Center.

In addition to the discomforts associated with the disease itself, like steatorrhea, stunted growth in children, malnutrition and fatigue, on rare occasions it can also lead to other more serious diseases like cancer or osteoporosis. It is therefore advised to maintain a gluten-free diet if one is diagnosed with celiac disease for his/her entire life. Diet is the key here and probably the only way to keep the disease under control.

6. Problems with the liver -– Liver disorders and diseases are one of the most common reasons behind the appearance of yellow or faded poop. The reason is directly related to the fact (which was stated earlier) that brownish color of poop is attributed to the fact that excretions contain bile. Since bile is produced by the liver, therefore any liver problem that may affect its bile production duties might be responsible for yellow poop. A common occurring in respect to this is the narrowing of the bile canals which would for sure, affect the production and secretion of bile in the liver.


While this does not necessarily indicate a very serious disease all the time, it cannot be denied that some of the grave ailments also may affect the liver in a way so as to contribute to the appearance of yellow poop. Examples of such diseases include cirrhosis of liver and the various types of hepatitis. Another kind of liver damage that can be a reason behind yellow poop is known as metastases of liver, in which the liver is affected indirectly by a spreading cancer, but not liver cancer. The treatment for any of these would once again pertain to the disease in question as yellow poop is just a symptom.

Other Causes of Yellow Poop

Infants and small children may exhibit all kinds of colors in their poop and seldom is it a reason for concern. The reasons have a lot to do with what they eat and their developing digestive system. Greenish-brown or yellow poop is quite common in babies who are breastfed and it is in fact a sign that the infant’s bowels are working perfectly.

In spite of so many dangerous diseases being responsible for the occurrence of yellow poop, one should only be concerned or worried if it persists over a significant period of time. An occasional yellow excretion is quite normal and may be caused by a temporary upset or some sort of a dietary color even. However, if the yellow poop is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, cramps, diarrhea etc, then consulting a doctor as soon as possible would be the wise thing to do.