Yellow-colored foods and drinks can sometimes cause yellow vomit, and some people with respiratory or nasal infections may also throw up yellow mucus that has accidentally been swallowed. Most of the time when vomit is yellow, however, it is due to the presence of bile, a digestive juice used to break down fats. Bile in vomit is more likely to occur when a person expels the entire contents of his stomach. A person may also vomit bile if this digestive juice backs up into the stomach, or if he suffers from a bowel obstruction.
On of the most common, and least dangerous, causes of yellow vomit is the presence of yellow food or liquid in a person's stomach. For example, a person may have yellowish vomit if he gets sick after eating a yellow food, such as corn. Yellow-colored drinks, particularly yellow cocktails, can also cause a person to expel this type of colored vomit.
A respiratory or sinus infection can also cause yellow vomit in some cases. During these types of infections, large amounts of mucus are usually produced. This mucus will often contain infectious agents, like bacteria, and it can also leak down the back of the throat and into the stomach. Large amounts of yellow mucus in the stomach can cause a person to have yellowish vomit.
Bile, or gall, is another common cause of yellow vomit. This digestive juice is typically very bright yellow in color. It is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until it is needed.
Small quantities of bile are almost always present in vomit. Due to the presence of food articles as well, however, usually makes bile less noticeable. Prolonged bouts of vomiting will often expel the entire contents of a person's stomach. When this happens, bile can be forced into the stomach, resulting in higher quantities of bile in vomit, making it appear bright yellow.
Yellowish vomit in bile can also be caused by a more serious condition. Bile reflux is a condition in which large amounts of bile back up into the stomach. This can cause vomiting as well as pain and heartburn.
A small bowel obstruction can also cause a person to vomit bile. When there is an obstruction in a person's small bowel, it will prevent food from passing through. This can cause the bowel to expel its contents, including large amounts of bile. Other symptoms of an intestinal obstruction may include constipation, abdominal pain, and a swollen abdomen.
It is very important for a person to check with a medical professional if he has yellow vomit. This is especially true if symptoms like abdominal pain and fever are present. Although this color of vomit may be harmless, it is important to rule out any serious medical conditions.
What Does Yellow Vomit Mean?
It might seem alarming to throw up yellow vomit. Orange is the most common color of vomit because the food hasn’t gone through the digestive system. Even red vomit is somewhat normal as blood from your mouth or throat can be present in the vomit. But yellow vomit seems strange because it’s not as thick or vibrant as typical vomit.
Yellow vomit often means your stomach is empty, so you’re not throwing up food or drinks you consumed earlier. Instead, you’re releasing bile from your gallbladder. Bile reflux happens when bile backs up into your stomach or esophagus. It can burn like heartburn and make you feel nauseous until you vomit.
Other symptoms of bile reflux can include diarrhea, heartburn, chest pain, and abdominal cramping. See your doctor if you’re experiencing these issues and vomiting yellow bile. They can suggest treatment to manage bile reflux better.
However, a few conditions produce yellow vomit on their own. These diseases include:
- Food poisoning
- Liver failure
- Morning sickness
In some cases, vomit can change color as the disease progresses. You might have the stomach flu and start throwing up yellow vomit. As your body releases some of the infection, your vomit could change to green and then orange as you get better.
The texture of vomit can change as well. If you have food in your stomach, the vomit texture can be thick or chunky. As you throw up your stomach contents, the vomit texture can change to be a smooth liquid.
Is Yellow Vomit Different From Bile?
Yellow vomit can differ from bile in many instances. If you’re dehydrated, your vomit might be yellow because the only liquid in your body is the bile. You can also throw up yellow vomit after binge drinking. A side effect of chemotherapy can be throwing up yellow vomit, too.
If you’re throwing up bile, you might have a more serious health problem. Bile kills bacteria and helps dissolve fatty acids in the food you eat. Your liver produces about a liter of bile per day, storing it in your gallbladder to aid digestion. It travels from the gallbladder to the small intestine as needed.
When you have bile in your vomit, it’s because the sphincter between the stomach and small intestine opened to allow the contents to pass. Vomit consisting largely of bile can also be a sign of bile reflux.
Intestinal blockages cause yellow vomit. You might have this problem if you’re throwing up yellow vomit along with experiencing some of these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps and swelling
A doctor can run tests to find the source of the blockage. They might perform an x-ray or ultrasound to locate the problem before determining a method of treatment.
How To Stop Throwing Up Yellow Vomit
There are many reasons people throw up yellow vomit. It could be random nausea, food poisoning, or even a side effect of flu or a cold. When mucus drains into your stomach, it can make you feel sick, resulting in throwing up yellow vomit.
Vomiting can last for a day or two, off and on, without being a cause for concern. A bug or minor infection might cause you to feel sick, and vomiting is your body getting rid of the problem. If you’re throwing up at the same time every day or vomit in a cyclic pattern, you might have a more serious problem.
If your yellow vomit is a result of bile reflux, you can take steps to improve your health and stop the problem. Eat smaller, healthy meals long before you go to sleep. Stay sitting upright after eating so the food can digest properly. Cut down on fatty foods, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
A healthy diet can keep you from throwing up yellow vomit, too. While you might still get sick from food poisoning or influenza, eating right boosts your immune system. The stronger your immune system, the less likely you’ll get sick.
If you’re unable to stop throwing up yellow vomit, you need to contact a medical professional. Yellow vomit can be a sign of a severe underlying problem. Some people vomit after experiencing a brain injury or migraine.