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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can a viral gastrointestinal infection cause pale yellow stools?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 11304 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 6 Jun 2016 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: Could a viral or bacterial gastrointestinal infection, or parasites cause beige/ pale yellow stools lasting several weeks?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 35 minutes later
Brief Answer:
if diarrhea present, if no diarrhea may need to consider other causes

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

The brown color of stool is usually due to the changes in the bile.

Bile is normally present in the stool , as it passes through the intestines , it undergoes changes causing the color to alter to an eventual brown.

If you have diarrhea then it is possible that there is a persisting infection that is causing the yellow color though there are also other causes of persistent diarrhea as well.

If you do not have diarrhea then other causes of yellow stool would need to be considered.
You may need to have a sample sent to the lab and blood tests such as liver function tests may need to be done.
Imaging to take a look at the liver, gallbladder and pancreas may also be needed.
Celiac disease can also cause yellow stool as well.

You may need to consider seeing your doctor for assessment if it continues.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Thankyou. I have had liver function tests a week ago & it came back normal. Diahorrea is present but formed stool is also intermittent with the diahorrea. What I'm very concerned about is whether it could be pancreatic cancer. Is this likely and would any other symptoms be present?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
if there are no other symptoms then not as likely

Detailed Answer:
HI

It is understandable to be worried since the color changes has been longstanding

In terms of pancreatic cancer, there are usually some changes on blood work- a mild anemia, increased in bilirubin (bile ducts may be blocked), change in some of the liver enzymes, change in amylase and lipase in some persons

You can have the amylase and lipase checked if you want to take a look at the pancreas

Pancreatic cancer causes non specific changes and symptoms such as a loss of appetite, significant weight loss, fatigue, nausea, malaise (feeling bad), pain

If you have these symptoms or any symptoms that you are concerned about then you should see your doctor.
If there are no symptoms present then it is not likely

If you are not sure then you can also consider imaging such as abdominal ultrasound or CT

Please feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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