Can Yellow Diarrhea Be a Symptom of COVID-19? Gastroenterologist explains.
Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.
Yellow diarrhea can be a sign of Covid-19. Call your doctor immediately if you have other symptoms and signs of Covid-19, such as fever, shortness of breath, lost smell, or taste sensation.
How common is yellow diarrhea with covid-19?
Covid-19 can present with gastrointestinal manifestations such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.
The yellow color of diarrhea is a frequent finding in most cases of diarrhea. In addition, about 61% of Covid-19 patients report at least one gastrointestinal symptom during the disease (reference).
The yellowish discoloration is often due to the speeding up of intestinal contents. As a result, your stool will not have enough time to be processed into its standard brown color.
Although yellow diarrhea can occur with Covid19, it is not a specific symptom of the disease.
Diarrhea alone was reported in over one-third of Covid-19 patients. However, No specific study specifically targeted the prevalence of (yellow) diarrhea with the disease.
The table below shows the frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms with covid-19 (reference).
|Any gastrointestinal symptoms||(61.3)|
|Loss of appetite||(34.8)|
|Melena (Black stool)||(0.63)|
|Reflux (acid reflux)||(0.63)|
|Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)||(0.31)|
|Odynophagia (Pain during swallowing)||(0.31)|
|Hematochezia (red blood in stool).||(0.31)|
How to know if yellow diarrhea is due to Covid-19?
Yellow diarrhea can happen with Covid-19 infection. However, yellow-colored diarrhea as a single symptom is not specific for the Covid-19. It can occur due to a wide variety of causes such as:
- Indigestion of a large fatty meal.
- A gut infection with a protozoan called Giardia.
- Stomach flu (viral Gastroenteritis).
- Other types of gastroenteritis or food poisoning.
- Stress/Anxiety situations.
- Recent Use of Medications.
- Acute Hepatitis A (especially in children).
- Current binge drinking of alcoholo.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (especially diarrhea-predominant dominant)
- Food sensitivities/intolerance.
Other causes of acute and chronic yellow diarrhea are explained in this article.
You can suspect Covid-19 as the cause of yellow diarrhea if you have the following symptoms (reference)
|Symptoms of Covid-19:|
When to seek medical advice for yellow diarrhea and covid-19?
- Yellow diarrhea for more than 48 hours (even without other symptoms).
- Recent contact with a confirmed Covid-19 patient.
- Having established gastrointestinal disease such as Crohn’s with recent flare-up (yellow diarrhea).
- Yellow diarrhea is associated with one of the typical Covid-19 symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle aches.
- Sore throat.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Lost taste or smell sensation.
- Chills or rigors
- Fatigue or dizziness.
- Chest pain.
Can yellow diarrhea precede typical covid-19 respiratory symptoms?
In a small subset of covid-19 patients, gastrointestinal symptoms can precede respiratory symptoms (reference). Call your doctor if you have unexplained yellow diarrhea for 48 hours or more.
In a study of 1141 patients with COVID-19, 183 patients (16 percent) presented with GI symptoms (eg, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting) in the absence of respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath (reference).