Why is my poop yellow

Yellow stool - causes, symptoms and therapy

Yellow stools sometimes appear as a side effect of an illness. Usually it has no dramatic cause, because the stool usually fluctuates between brown and yellowish. However, it indicates diseases if not only the color but also the consistency of the stool changes, for example in the form of yellow diarrhea.

Cause: nutrition

Eggs, foods high in starch, and dairy products can turn stool yellow. If you consume a lot of milk, it even turns a deep yellow. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain hemoglobin, which makes the stool dark. Sterkobilin, a waste product of hemoglobin, stains stools both yellow and brown. The more Sterkobilin the faeces contain, the darker it becomes. If you eat a lot of meat, your intestines release a very brown porridge. If you have diarrhea, the stool contains a lot of water, which thins the color: brown turns yellow.

Go to the doctor?

Yellow bowel movements alone are not a reason to see a doctor. Only if it is accompanied by other symptoms is it advisable to see a doctor. These include: chronic fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

Yellowish stool, associated with severe diarrhea and symptoms such as a flu-like infection, may be due to Giardia. These are parasites that live in water and waste.

Chronic fatigue combined with yellow stools can indicate liver disease. When the bile ducts are blocked, the coloring matter hardly gets into the intestines and the feces become lighter.

Yellow bowel movements combined with severe abdominal pain can also be an indication of glandular fever.

Yellowish stool that smells awful may indicate pancreatic failure, such as inflammation. Yellow feces are also caused by a lack of bile salts.

Diseases as causes

1) Liver disease

2) Tumors of the gallbladder, pancreas, or liver

3) gallstones

4) Primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease

However, these diseases are all associated with additional accompanying symptoms: nausea, fever, itching, or yellow coloring of the skin and eyes.

In the so-called fat stool, the body can only insufficiently process the fat. The fat content in the stool increases and digestion is accelerated.


Yellow stool should only be treated if there is an illness. However, the color of the bowel movements almost always changes when you change your diet. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
  • Carsten Gutt et al .: Updated S3 guideline of the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) and the German Society for General and Visceral Surgery (DGAV) for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gallstones, (accessed on August 22, 2019) , AWMF
  • Jörn Reckel, Wolfgang Bauer: Gut sick - everything sick: help with holistic therapy, Verlagshaus der Ärzte, 2016

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.