Yellow stool is a relatively common change that can arise due to a high-fat diet, or the use of slimming drugs, such as Xenical, for example, as they interfere with bowel movements or decrease the absorption of fats by the intestine, which alters the color of feces.
However, yellow stools can also be a sign of health problems, such as celiac disease, intestinal infection, or problems with the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder, and which can usually be identified by the presence of other symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, or loss of blood. appetite.
As there can be several causes, after identifying the presence of yellowish stools, it is very important to pay attention to other characteristics such as shape and smell, as this can help the doctor to reach the diagnosis more easily.
Here are the main causes of yellow stools:
1. Food high in fat
Eating excess fat, through fried foods, industrialized products or sausages, makes digestion difficult and accelerates intestinal transit, especially in people who usually eat a balanced diet. In these cases, in addition to the stools turning yellow, they can also have a more liquid consistency due to the speed with which they pass through the intestine.
What to do: Reducing the amount of fat and processed foods in the diet will help regulate stool color, which should improve after 2 or 3 days. However, if the problem persists for longer, other causes should be investigated.
2. Intestinal infection
Another very common cause of yellowish stools is an intestinal infection. But in these cases it is also common for other symptoms to appear, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.
In these cases, it is common for the feces to appear yellowish because the intestine is inflamed by the infection and is therefore unable to correctly absorb the fat from the diet. The main cause of this problem is the E. coli bacteria, which can be ingested in contaminated and undercooked foods.
What to do: Drink plenty of water and consume easily digestible foods, such as fruits, cooked white rice, fish and white meats, avoiding red meats and processed and fried foods.
Stress can cause a decrease or increase in appetite, making you choose less healthy foods in situations of intense anxiety and stress, as well as causing changes in the process of digestion of food, which can accelerate bowel movements, preventing nutrients are absorbed properly and causing diarrhea or yellowish stools.
What to do: To combat stress, it is important to reduce external pressures, finding alternatives so that work or study can be carried out more calmly. This can be done through exercise, better time management, use of natural pain relievers and even medications prescribed by the psychiatrist if stress affects the development of daily activities.
4. Liver or gallbladder problems
Diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis or gallstones cause less bile to reach the intestine, which is the substance responsible for aiding in the digestion of fats. In addition to changing the color of stool, these diseases also often cause symptoms of abdominal pain and yellow skin and eyes.
What to do: in the presence of these symptoms, a general practitioner or gastroenterologist should be sought to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.
5. Problems in the pancreas
Changes in the pancreas cause poor digestion, causing stools to turn white or yellowish, in addition to making them float and appear foamy. The main problems that affect this organ are pancreatitis, cancer, cystic fibrosis or obstruction of the pancreatic duct.
In addition to the change in stool, problems with the pancreas can cause abdominal pain, dark urine, poor digestion, nausea and weight loss.
What to do: in the presence of these changes, especially if they are accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea and lack of appetite, a doctor should be sought to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.
Giardiasis is an intestinal disease caused by the giardia parasite that causes symptoms such as watery, explosive diarrhea, with foul-smelling yellow stools, nausea, headache, dehydration, and weight loss.
What to do: in the presence of these symptoms you should seek a general practitioner or a pediatrician or a gastroenterologist and perform stool tests to confirm the presence of the parasite in the intestine and initiate appropriate treatment, which is usually done with antibiotics.
7. Celiac disease
Celiac disease is a severe intolerance to gluten that causes intestinal irritation and malabsorption when the person consumes foods with wheat, rye or barley, which leads to an increase in the speed of stools in the intestine and an increase in fat in the stools, leaving them yellowish. .
Typically, people with celiac disease show improvement in symptoms when they remove gluten-containing foods from their diet.
What to do: it is important to consult a gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis of the disease and start a gluten-free diet.
8. Use of medication
The use of some weight-loss drugs act by decreasing the absorption of fat in the intestine, such as Xenical or Biofit, and also cause a change in the color of stools and increase intestinal transit.
What to do: if you are taking any of these medications, you should consult the doctor who prescribed them to receive guidance on the correct use and adverse effects of the medication or to switch to another medication.
when to go to the doctor
In most cases, the presence of yellow stools only happens due to the exaggerated intake of fats in a meal and, therefore, they improve in less than a week. However, if it takes more than a week to disappear or if other associated symptoms appear such as fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, swollen belly or blood in the stool, for example, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
What are faeces made of?
Most of the feces is made up of water, and in smaller amounts there are bacteria from the intestinal flora, liquids that help digest food, such as bile, and food remains that have not been digested or absorbed, such as fiber, grains and seeds.
Thus, changes in diet, the use of medication or the presence of some intestinal problem can cause poor digestion, causing the fat in the diet to not be absorbed, which changes the color of stools to yellow.