5 Causes of Yellow Stool with GERD.
Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.
GERD is the disease of the esophagus. It often doesn’t affect stool color. However, lighter (yellow) or darker colored stool may coexist with GERD due to medications, food, changes in bowel habits, or bleeding.
Yellow stool with GERD (acid reflux) is common. However, they aren’t related to GERD in most cases. But rather to dietary factors or the presence of diarrhea.
The table below summarizes the possible causes of yellow stool with GERD.
|1. Yellow foods.||– High-fat diet.|
– Sweet potatoes.
– Food dyes and yellow artificial colorings.
|2. GERD medications||– Antacids.|
– PPIs (as Omeprazole).
– H2 blockers such as Famotidine.
|3. Associated Irritable bowel syndrome.||– 48.8% of people with IBS have GERD.|
– IBS with predominant diarrhea causes yellow stools.
|4. Food intolerance.||– very common and often overlooked.|
– Common offending foods include milk and dairy products, fruits, honey (containing fructose), artificial sweeteners), alcohol, etc.
|5. Others.||Associated conditions as:|
– acute infectious diarrhea (acute gastroenteritis).
– bile acid diarrhea.
– celiac diseases.
– Gilbert syndrome.
– and others.
GERD itself is defined as the reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. The reflux leads to inflammation and erosions of the esophageal wall.
GERD itself is not known to cause yellow stools. Instead, the origin of yellow stool with GERD can be from changes in your diet, the presence of diarrhea, or the use of certain medications.
Possible mechanisms of yellow stool with GERD include:
- More fat in your diet.
- Yellow foods and food additives.
- The speeding-up of food inside your intestine and colon (AKA diarrhea or loose stool). Speeding up stool passage will not leave enough time to acquire its normal brown color.
The Possible common causes of yellow or pale stools with IBS are:
1. Yellow foods and food additives.
Consuming too many yellow foods can turn the stool color into light brown or yellow without having diarrhea.
Common examples include:
- Sweet potatoes.
- High-fat foods.
- Yellow dyes in foods or drinks.
Review your recent meals for any of the above foods. The more the amount you eat, the more likely you will have a yellow stool with GERD.
Also, Yellowish foods are the most common cause of yellow stool with GERD without having diarrhea.
2. GERD Medications
PPIs and H2-blockers:
GERD medications such as Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and Histaminic H2-blocker decrease the secretion of gastric acid (HCL).
Long-term use of such medication with prolonged acid suppression may alter the function of your intestines and the colon (reference).
Long-term PPI may alter your bowel habit, causing constipation or diarrhea. Diarrhea, in particular, may result in yellow stool with GERD.
Examples of PPIs and H2 blockers:
Many of the antacids used for GERD or acid reflux are actually laxatives. As a result, they induce diarrhea and yellow stool when taken with GERD.
- Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia).
- Calcium carbonates (Tums).
- Gaviscon (aluminum hydroxide and magnesium trisilicate).
3. Associated Irritable bowel syndrome.
Surprisingly, many people with Acid reflux (GERD) also have IBS. About 48.8% of patients with IBS also have GERD (reference).
IBS is a functional disease that causes recurrent abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation).
IBS with predominant diarrhea or mixed type may cause yellow stool with GERD.
Check for the symptoms of IBS below and consult your doctor if you think you have IBS with GERD.
Common symptoms of IBS include:
- Recurrent abdominal pain (at least one day per week for the past three months).
- The onset of pain is associated with either diarrhea or constipation.
- The onset of pain is associated with a change in stool form (It becomes loose or hard).
- Loss of appetite.
- The pain is either relieved or exacerbated after bowel movements.
4. Food intolerance.
Food intolerance is widespread. Many people are intolerant to lactose, fructose, and other foods.
For example, about 65% of people are lactose intolerant when they become adults.
Food intolerance produces symptoms similar to IBS (abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea). In addition, recurrent yellow stools with GERD may indicate food intolerance.
Common foods that cause intolerance symptoms:
- Lactose intolerance (found in milk and dairy products.
- Fructose intolerance (found in most fruits and honey).
- Caffeine intolerance (in coffee and caffeinated drinks).
- Gluten intolerance (in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity).
- Others such as amines (histamine), sulfite, and salicylate intolerance.
- The symptoms start after eating the offending food.
- Abdominal pain.
- Gas, distension, and bloating.
- Diarrhea and yellow stool.
- FODMAP intolerance (in foods containing fructose, lactose, green leafy vegetables, and artificial sweeteners.
Learn more about food intolerance HERE.
5. Other causes of yellow stool with GERD.
- Acute gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
- Associated bile acid diarrhea.
- Associated celiac disease.
- Any other causes of chronic diarrhea (learn more).
- Gilbert syndrome (a benign genetic defect that causes mild jaundice and yellowish stool. It affects about 5% of people.
- Recent gallbladder removal (post-cholecystectomy diarrhea).
- Some medications such as metformin, antibiotics, etc.
When to worry about a yellow stool with GERD:
The presence of yellow stool without diarrhea in people with GERD is not a cause of concern. In most cases, it is due to dietary factors.
See a doctor only if you have:
- Severe diarrhea for days, weeks, or months.
- Blood in stool.
- Jaundice (yellowish skin and eye whites).
- Dark (tea-colored) urine.
- Persistent vomiting.
- Chronic diarrhea or loose stool with long-term GERD medications (more than eight weeks).