Why am I so gassy and why do I have yellow poop??
May 2, 2022 3:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm miserably sick. We're going on six months of no answers, and although the details are very non-graphic I'll put them under the fold.

As the question title says - my poop is yellow. All the blood work - kidney and liver function - has come back normal. The gastric emptying study came back normal. The MRCP came back normal. The urine panel came back normal. And yet, here I am still with voluminous gas, a severely restricted diet and yellow stool. I also have always had very thick mucus, which is certainly exacerbating the situation. I do not have acid reflux, having had a hiatal hernia fixed some years ago. The imaging shows that the fix is still in place and there is no acid reflux happening. Also, yes, this does make the burping way more uncomfortable.

I will get in with a GI in July, and in the meantime, my primary is trying to order every test she can think of so that the GI will have information to work with. But here we are with nary a single lead in sight. (My diet is restricted because if something doesn't agree with me I very quickly get unbearably nauseous for many hours. Soft, bland foods seem to be basically safe. Anything else is a roll of the dice.) I'm drinking 1 - 2 liters of pedialyte a day because plain water makes me nauseous beyond one or two ounces. For the first couple months of this I had really bad cramping on my right side, but that seems to have gone away now that I'm eating mostly soft food. But the gas will come on for no apparent reason, and when I say the gas is bad - I can lean my head back and kinda open my throat and gas will just continuously escape my system. For minutes at a time. It's extremely uncomfortable. This also happens at the other end, but it's less uncomfortable (if more smelly).

I am at a serious loss, and so is my primary. It's impinging on pretty much every aspect of life, and gets much worse if I sit up too long (as opposed to being primarily in bed). This came on suddenly about six months ago, I've been to the ER twice and the CT, MRCP and ultrasounds all come back looking just fine. The standard bloodwork panels have come back ok. Is there a bacteria, fungus, mold, virus that we can do a test for? Any ideas at all would be welcome, even if they seem like ridiculous long shots.
posted by Bottlecap to Health & Fitness (21 answers total)
Best answer: Have they checked your stool for parasites? Especially giardia.
posted by arrmatie at 4:06 PM on May 2, 2022 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Nope, I'll add it to the list. Although I have no idea where I could possibly have picked up a parasite!
posted by Bottlecap at 4:09 PM on May 2, 2022

Not a doctor! But you can maybe ask for testing for SIBO.
posted by wilywabbit at 4:12 PM on May 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I too wondered about giardia. Yellow poop and painful, long lasting gas and mucus is the first thing I suspect with foster dogs who have this. You can get it from animals and also unclean water.
posted by answergrape at 4:13 PM on May 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ooh, almost definitely giardia. Had that after an iffy Steak n' Shake in Illinois. Several months of yellow laser butt and iffy farting
posted by scruss at 4:31 PM on May 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

If they haven't already, ask them to rule out gallstones. I similarly went 6+ months not able to eat or drink much due to nausea, same normal bloodwork and lack of answers from the doctors, and while I wouldn't call it yellow, I did have lighter colored and softer stools for quite some time.

Your right side cramping could also be an indicator of this; I did not have any pain at all (which is partly what was throwing off the doctors) but apparently gallstones typically manifest with crampy pain just under your ribcage on that side.

Finally found evidence on an UltraSound after a fresh second opinion (XRays and a CT scan didn't find them), had it taken out a few weeks later, and been fine ever since.
posted by SquidLips at 4:50 PM on May 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: That really sounds like giardia.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing the possibility of giardia.

And if the imaging hasn't ruled out pancreatic (or other digestive) cancers, you should test for that as well.
posted by gnutron at 5:03 PM on May 2, 2022

They've probably done this, but just in case: maybe a stool elastase test to rule out pancreas problems?
posted by cadge at 5:32 PM on May 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Apologies for the frankness, but do your farts or burps smell like sulfur or rotten eggs? That plus orange stool are the hallmarks of giardia. I'd get yourself to an urgent care or wherever you can get a stool sample sent off ASAP. Waiting until July sounds excruciating! Best wishes to you.
posted by emd3737 at 6:22 PM on May 2, 2022

I once had terrible gas and occasional diarrhea for months and ended up figuring out that it had to do with the tap water in my new apartment. Even if I used tap water to make pasta or something and boiled it, I’d still feel terrible after eating the pasta, and couldn’t hold in farts no matter how hard I tried. I had no health insurance at the time so just used bottled water for every aspect of drinking and cooking until I moved out of the building after about 9 months. It was so miserable but I never had the problem again.
posted by jabes at 8:43 PM on May 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have intermittent bouts of this, with a diagnosis of ME/CFS, Diabetes and Hashimoto's. In addition to yellowish stool and major gas, explosive diarrhea (apologies for tmi). The reason is Not entirely clear but when it gets very Bad, i take DAO for a few weeks (as per my doctor).
Diamine oxidase (DAO) , i take it about 15 minutes before a meal. DAO is a digestive enzyme helping with histamine breakup in the small intestine.
You could try and see if it tides you over until July. But of course check with your GP first.
posted by 15L06 at 11:59 PM on May 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Just as anecdata: you don't even necessarily have to fully drink water that has giardia in it. My mom went canoeing in a local river and the canoe capsized. She had on a life preserver and doesn't remember swallowing any water when the canoe went over, but she got giardia.
posted by kuanes at 3:21 AM on May 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FWIW: Giardia has an incredibly low infectious dose (just a few cysts). I'll Nth the "probably Giardia" brigade.

Source: I worked for 3 years in a water testing lab that tested specifically for Giardia in water systems. Even a single cyst was cause for alarm.
posted by griffey at 6:16 AM on May 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Piling on the giardia. It's rampant in the dog world right now (at least in my part of the world), makes sense the humans would see an uptick as well. According to google the dog variant can indeed be transmitted to humans.
posted by cgg at 7:26 AM on May 3, 2022

Best answer: FWIW: Giardia has an incredibly low infectious dose (just a few cysts). I'll Nth the "probably Giardia" brigade.

Also, people associate giardia with "drinking the water," like when someone drinks unfiltered water while camping. But you can also be exposed by, say, shaking hands with someone who didn't wash carefully after using the bathroom, just like other diseases that spread by oral/fecal transmission. (And, as mentioned above, there is a dog/human exchange, too.) So lots of people get giardia who don't think they are at risk because they weren't drinking water in the woods, or, even if they were out camping, they blame their water rather than the communal food prepared by someone who didn't wash their hands, for example.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:29 AM on May 3, 2022

I had C Diff recently without typical presentation. Maybe add it to the list? I really hope you feel better soon.
posted by jeszac at 10:15 AM on May 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Your PCP should be able to order a screening for parasites, so you don't need to wait months for that. I honestly can't believe they did all these tests without testing you for parasites first!
posted by purple_bird at 11:46 AM on May 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also: the usual stool tests screen for a whole lot of things. C diff, giardia, e coli... it's been a while since I had the test but there's at least 10 different bugs they look for.
posted by apartment dweller at 7:46 PM on May 3, 2022

I have Crohn's Disease, and this was an issue for me post-bowel resection. My doctor said that it was due to an excess of bile in my stool, which was causing the color and burning during defecation. I was put on a medication called cholestyramine (a powder that I mix into a morning smoothie) and that worked wonders.
posted by lemonwheel at 11:19 AM on May 5, 2022

Response by poster: Guess who’s on anti-giardia pills!! After nine months it might take more than one round to clear things out. And probably a good minute to get back on my feet from being malnourished for so long. Hopefully that’s the whole problem - fingers crossed.
posted by Bottlecap at 7:17 PM on May 5, 2022 [11 favorites]

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