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Nurse Milli, RN
Nurse Milli, RN, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  20 years experience in many areas of Nursing. Both Hospital and Private Practice experience.
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What Causes Yellow Watery Diarrhea?

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Need GI help!! I'm having yellow watery diarrhea. I've been having stomach aches, gurgling and loose bowel movements for two weeks. Three weeks prior to this, I was on a three course of Augmentin for a sinus infection. Then my wife got a stomach flu, and I began to have problems with my stomach. I've been on the BRAT diet now for almost two weeks, and taking probiotics everyday. What could this be? I do also have some mild URQ pain, but a US 6+ months ago for the same pain showed nothing unusual with my gall bladder or liver. At night, I have almost like a gnawing pain in my middle abdomen, almost like hunger pains. During the day, I have yellow, water diarrhea 2-4 times. My stools have been tested twice for pathogens, but nothing shows up. Could this be a viral infection that happened to catch me when my good bacteria was down due to ABX? Could this be gall bladder, liver or pancreas? What about cancer? I don't have blood in stools, just yellow with mucous.

You may have an inflammatory bowel disease since this is ongoing and you have also had some abdominal pain with it. Mucus in your stool can signify IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or UC (ulcerative colitis). Of course, you will need a Dr's examination to confirm this but mucus in the stool and diarrhea is suggestive of it. Also, recent antibiotics can cause C. difficile. One will see C. Difficile occur after a round of antibiotics.

Gallbladder will cause you nausea/vomiting, and pain in the abdomen.

The pancreas involvement would produce signs such as upper right abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, pain that radiates to your back, and abdominal pain that is somewhat relieved by the act of leaning forward.

Liver problems can also cause abdominal pain, but we really don't see stools with mucus when the liver is being considered.

H. Pylori is sometimes a culprit of abdominal pain that is relieved by eating. H. Pylori is a bacteria that is responsible a lot of the time for the development of peptic ulcers. When the stomach is empty, the pain would be worse with PUD (peptic ulcer disease). H. Pylori can invade the gut and cause nausea, vomiting, belching, bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss (due to lack of appetite), and even tarry stools (none of which you have listed but abdominal pain).

So, really, yours is a process of elimination here. Most of your symptoms are pointing to some sort of inflammatory bowel disease since it has not resolved since 2 weeks on onset. I would suggest that you let your Dr test your stool once again for bacteria (white blood cells) and also ova and parasites (routinely done on someone who has had diarrhea for 2 weeks) and then possibly a colonoscopy if this continues.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Is it odd that this came out of nowhere two weeks ago? I've never had any digestive or bowel related issues in the past. My wife has IBS W/ C, so I'am somewhat familiar with the symptoms.

Of the conditions you listed, which would include both pain and yellow, watery diarrhea? I've read that the yellow color suggests a rapid trip through the small bowel, which doesn't have enough time to turn the stool a normal color. What about GB/liver/pancreas problems? As I mentioned, I do have some mild URQ pain. Are there some tests or labs that I should inquire about related to these organs?

Is it totally unrealistic to consider a viral infection that took hold when my good flora had been wiped out? I would think that having two different docs do stool cultures through two different labs, with neither showing any pathogens, is probably pretty reliable, right?

Yes, a fast transient time of contents through the bowel can lead to a yellow-green stool because the time spent in the large bowel is not enough to absorb the compounds that make the stool brown. However, this has been going on for 2 weeks even with you modifying your diet and also you have mucus. IBS can cause a fast transient time and also can include mucus.

A viral infection (gastroenteritis) is not out of the question, but normally it resolves quicker than 2 weeks (not always, but most times). Stool cultures are only valid after the symptoms start, so if you have not had a stool study done in the last 2 weeks, the other results do not apply.

Blood tests can determine if you have pancreas involvement (amylase) and also an ultrasound of the abdomen can visualize the GB, liver and pancreas. I would say if your symptoms persists for a couple of more days and you are still on the BRAT diet with no success, it would be time for a Dr visit. They will start off with some blood tests and the stool study, then the other tests will follow depending upon clinical findings and examination.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Both stool tests were done within the last two weeks. The bizarre part of this, is that while the first day I had some regular colored diarrhea, the following several days were thick, forest green stools. It was probably almost a week and a half after the first diarrhea event that I began having the yellow watery diarrhea.

I'm having an endoscopy and colonoscopy tomorrow morning. This situation is making me quite anxious, because I've never had anything like this before.

Oh ok, I had no idea you have had the stool studies done in the last 2 weeks. That rules out ova, parasites, and C. difficile then as they would check for these first. Sounds like your Dr is on the right track with ordering the colonscopy and endoscopy tomorrow. He/She is probably trying to rule out the inflammatory bowel diseases then.

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