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Yellow stools is a relatively common alteration 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 body. intestine, which changes the color of stool.
However, yellow stools can also be a sign of he alth 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 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.
See below the main causes of yellow stools:
1. High-fat diet
Eating excess fat, through fried foods, industrialized products or sausages, makes digestion difficult and accelerates intestinal transit, especially in people who usually have a balanced diet. In these cases, in addition to the faeces 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, you should investigate other causes.
2. Intestinal infection
Another very common cause of yellow stools is an intestinal infection. But in these cases it is also common for other symptoms to appear, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. See a more complete list of intestinal infection symptoms.
In these cases it is common for the stool to appear yellowish because the intestine is inflamed by the infection and therefore cannot properly 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 food.
What to do: drink plenty of water and eat 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 he althy 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 from being absorbed properly and causing diarrhea or yellow 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. Here are some tips on how to relieve stress.
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 helping in the digestion of fats. In addition to changing the color of stools, these diseases also often cause symptoms of abdominal pain and yellow skin and eyes.
See 11 symptoms that could indicate liver problems.
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. Pancreas problems
Alterations 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. Check out other symptoms of pancreas problems.
What to do: in the presence of these alterations, especially if they are accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea and lack of appetite, a doctor should be consulted to confirm the diagnosis and start the proper treatment.
Giardiasis is an intestinal disease caused by the giardia parasite that causes symptoms such as explosive, watery diarrhea, with foul-smelling yellow stools, nausea, headache, dehydration and weight loss.
What to do: in the presence of these symptoms, you should look for a general practitioner or a pediatrician or a gastroenterologist and do stool tests to confirm the presence of the parasite in the intestine and start appropriate treatment, which is usually done with antibiotics.Learn more about treatment for giardiasis.
7. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a severe gluten intolerance that causes intestinal irritation and malabsorption when a person consumes foods with wheat, rye or barley, which leads to increased speed of stool in the intestine and increased fat in the stool, turning them yellow.
Usually, people with celiac disease show improvement in symptoms when foods with gluten are removed from their diet.
What to do: It is important to see a gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis of the disease and start a gluten-free diet. Here are some symptoms that can help identify celiac disease.
8. Use of medication
The use of some weight-loss drugs works by decreasing the absorption of fat in the intestine, such as Xenical or Biofit, and also causes a change in the color of stools and increases intestinal transit.
What to do: If you are taking any of these medications, you should consult the doctor who prescribed them for guidance on the correct use and adverse effects of the medication or to exchange for another medicine.
When to go to the doctor
In most cases, the presence of yellow stools is only 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 such as fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, swollen belly or blood in the stools appear, for example, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
See in this video what changes in stool can indicate about your he alth:
What is 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 the fibers, grains and seeds.
Thus, changes in diet, the use of medication or the presence of an intestinal problem can cause poor digestion, causing the fat in the diet to not be absorbed, which changes the color of stools to yellow.
Learn the causes for each change in stool color.