Yellow poop is not a primary symptom of Crohn’s disease. However, yellow stools can occur due to fat malabsorption. A person with Crohn’s may also notice yellow mucus on the outside of their stools.

The mucus that may appear on stools can completely or partially cover the stool and may appear white or yellow. The body produces mucus to protect the inner lining of the intestines and make it easier to pass stool.

However, if stools are regularly yellow the whole way through, this could be a sign of an underlying condition affecting the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.

If a person only notices yellow stools occasionally, they could be the result of dietary changes, such as eating yellow foods or yellow food colorings, or stress.

This article explains whether yellow stool is a symptom of Crohn’s disease. It also looks at the causes of yellow stools and when treatment may be necessary.

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Stools that are yellow all the way through are not a primary symptom of Crohn’s disease, but they may happen due to malabsorption, which can occur in Crohn’s.

It is also possible that a person with Crohn’s disease may notice a coating on their stools that can appear yellow.

Yellow all the way through

Foul-smelling yellow stools may be a sign that the digestive system is not absorbing nutrients as it should.

Malabsorption can happen due to Crohn’s disease.

Steatorrhea is a condition that can happen due to fat malabsorption. It can cause pale, bulky, and foul-smelling stools.

Steatorrhea can happen in a person with Crohn’s disease if the condition has affected their terminal ileum, which is the far end of the small intestine that intersects with the large intestine.

A person may be able to avoid malabsorption by getting regular tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and avoiding foods that cause Crohn’s flare-ups.

Learn about nutritional deficiencies and Crohn’s disease.

With a yellow coating

Having mucus in the stool is a possible symptom of Crohn’s disease. The mucus may appear as streaks on the stools or cover them completely. It may be white or yellow.

Mucus in the stool is typical for people with Crohn’s disease. However, if a person notices an increase in mucus or changes to mucus, it is best to contact a doctor for advice.

Learn more about mucus in stool.

In children

A child’s stool may appear yellow. However, diarrhea that appears yellow could be a sign of toddler’s diarrhea, a type of persistent diarrhea.

Toddler’s diarrhea happens due to a diet low in fat and high in sugar or fluids. Drinking too much fruit juice or other sugary drinks may cause it.

If the diarrhea persists, it could mean that the child has Crohn’s disease. Persistent diarrhea may also be due to one of the following conditions:

It is important to seek medical advice if a child experiences persistent diarrhea.

Yellow stools can be the result of various health problems, or they may happen following recent changes to a person’s diet.


A diet high in fat can lead to steatorrhea.

Foods that contain yellow food coloring can also give the feces a yellow tint.

Bile acid diarrhea

Bile acid diarrhea is a type of chronic diarrhea that affects 1 in 100 people. It can cause yellow, greasy, foul smelling diarrhea.

Other symptoms include:

  • painful, watery, or explosive persistent diarrhea
  • urgent need to pass stools
  • multiple bowel movements a day, often at night
  • excessive gas
  • abdominal cramps
  • bloating


Giardiasis is an intestinal parasitic infection that a person can contract by consuming contaminated food or water.

Early symptoms include fatigue and passing two to five loose stools in a day. People may also experience:

Treatment usually involves antiparasitic medication.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a condition in which consuming gluten damages the intestines. The symptoms vary among individuals but can include:

People living with celiac disease need to follow a gluten-free diet.

Learn about the difference between Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

Conditions affecting the pancreas

Conditions affecting the pancreas can cause yellow stools. These conditions include:

Pancreatic cancer and associated cysts or tumors can prevent the body from properly absorbing the nutrients in foods. This impaired absorption can cause loose, yellow, and strong-smelling stools.

This change may happen if the body becomes unable to excrete pancreatic enzymes properly.

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

Stools may also float due to the high fat content in undigested food.

Learn more about the causes of yellow stool.

The cause of yellow stools determines the treatment options.

Yellow stools sometimes result from changes to the diet. Eliminating yellow foods from the diet may make the yellow color go away.

In some people, high fat foods may move through the intestines faster and produce yellow stool. Keeping a food diary can help a person identify any foods that may be causing yellow stool.

If yellow stools are the result of an underlying condition, a doctor can advise on which course of treatment is right for the individual.

A doctor may recommend one of several courses of treatment to reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease. These include:

  • Corticosteroids: These drugs dampen the immune system’s response and suppress inflammation.
  • Immunomodulators: These medications control the immune system response.
  • Biologic therapies: These therapies control proteins to decrease intestinal inflammation.
  • Aminosalicylates: These drugs reduce inflammation. They are prescribed off-label.

Doctors may also prescribe bowel rest. It is a course of treatment that involves a liquid diet or a feeding tube. Bowel rest allows the intestines to heal. It can often take place at home.

Surgery is another option for some people with Crohn’s disease. Although it will not cure the condition, surgery can sometimes relieve symptoms. Doctors may use surgery to treat:

  • life threatening bleeding
  • fistulas
  • side effects from medications
  • intestinal obstructions

Learn about foods to avoid during a Crohn’s disease flare-up.

It is best to contact a doctor if a person notices either consistent or frequent changes in the appearance or consistency of their stools.

A person should also contact a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:

View our Crohn’s disease overview article for more information about the condition. Here are some frequently asked questions about Crohn’s disease.

What are 5 symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

How long can a person have Crohn’s without knowing?

Crohn’s disease typically begins gradually, so a person may start to experience symptoms without realizing they are due to Crohn’s disease. It can take a number of years from the onset of symptoms for a person to receive a diagnosis.

Learn about the visual signs of Crohn’s disease.

What is the life expectancy of someone with Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease does not typically affect a person’s life expectancy. However, a person’s doctor can provide more information based on their circumstances.

A person with Crohn’s disease may notice a yellow coating on their stools. This coating is mucus, which helps the stools pass through the intestines.

Stools that are yellow all the way through may be the result of an underlying health condition. Health conditions that can cause yellow stools include liver, gallbladder, and pancreatic diseases.

Yellow stools can also happen following a high fat meal. It is important to monitor yellow stools to see whether they clear up on their own after making dietary changes.

If yellow stools persist, or if they happen alongside symptoms such as abdominal cramping, pain, or diarrhea, it is important to contact a doctor for advice. They can help determine the underlying cause and advise on suitable treatments.