Medically reviewed by Debra increased Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — composed by Zawn Villines top top February 28, 2019

Many points can change the shade of stool, including vitamins, infections, and certain foods. Part underlying clinical problems, such as gallbladder and also liver disease, have the right to also adjust stool color. Pale stool, particularly if it is white or clay colored, have the right to indicate a serious health and wellness problem.

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When adults have actually a pale stool v no other symptoms, it is generally safe come wait and also see if the stool returns to normal. As soon as children and babies have really pale or white poop, a doctor should see castle as soon as possible.

In this article, learn around the causes of pale stool, and also their accompanying symptoms and also how come treat them.


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Share on PinterestConsuming fatty foodstuffs may make a who stools pale in color.
Bile indigenous the liver create the usual brown hue that a healthy and balanced bowel movement. When the stool is an extremely pale, the often means that not enough bile is reaching the stool.

Problems with the gallbladder, pancreas, or liver are factors why stool may not contain enough bile. People who have actually consistently pale stools might want to speak to a doctor around conditions that affect these organs.

The most common reasons because that a pale stool color include:

1. Foods

Some foods may lighten the shade of stool, particularly fatty foods, or those containing food coloring. Vitamins that include iron deserve to turn the shade of stool dark brown.

It is fine for bowel motions to be lighter 보다 usual occasionally. If they room white or clay colored, however, it might mean a person has actually an underlying medical condition.

2. Giardiasis

Giardiasis is an epidemic that may turn the stool irradiate or glowing yellow. Giardia lamblia, the most common intestinal parasite in the world, causes the infection. A person can contract this parasite by drink contaminated water or being in close call with who who has the infection.

Giardiasis is an ext common in areas with inconsistent accessibility to clean water.

The most usual symptoms that giardiasis incorporate stomach pain, headache, puffy stomach, vomiting, and also fever. A doctor deserve to write a prescription for a drug that kills the parasite. Through treatment, most civilization feel much better in a couple of days.

3. Medications

Certain drugs and medications can damages the liver, specifically when a human takes an ext than the dosage their doctor or the manufacturers recommend.

Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, because that example, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can harm the liver. A human who notices a pale stool after acquisition a brand-new medication or after taking OTC pain relievers for a lengthy time or in overabundance of the correct sheep may have medication-related liver damage.

It is finest to avoid taking the drug, if it is no a prescription medication, and also see a physician as soon as possible.

4. Gallbladder disease

The gallbladder stop bile and also is located on the upper right side of the stomach, alongside the liver. Throughout digestion, the gallbladder release bile right into the intestines v the bile duct. Gallbladder diseases can change the color of stool.

Gallstones, among the most common gallbladder diseases, can block the bile duct, bring about intense pain, nausea, vomiting, and also pale stool. There is no treatment, gallstones can reason problems with other organs, such as the pancreas and liver.

Treatments because that gallbladder troubles depend on the cause. A physician may need to remove gallstones, either surgically or through medication come dissolve them.

A person deserve to live a common life without your gallbladder, and also so a doctor may remove the gallbladder in the case of recurrent gallstones. Doctors may advise alters to a who diet after ~ surgery.

5. Liver problems

Problems with the liver or bile ducts have the right to turn the stool pale. There room many varieties of liver disease, including:

liver damages from alcohol consumptionautoimmune diseases, which take place when the body attacks the cells of the liverfailure of various other organs

Treatment because that liver condition depends on the particular condition and also how much it has actually progressed. For mild liver disease, a human may only need medication and to make way of living changes. Those with serious liver disease may need a liver transplant.

When difficulties with one more organ, such together the gallbladder, cause problems v the liver, a doctor need to treat that condition as well.

In enhancement to pale stool, various other symptoms the liver disease include:

nausea and also vomitingvery dark urinefatty stoolitchingswelling in the ankles or legs

Anyone under a doctor’s treatment for liver an illness should report any type of changes come stool color.

6. Pancreas problems

Diseases the the pancreas deserve to make it tough for this body organ to secrete pancreatic juices into the cradle system. This deserve to lead come the food relocating too easily through the gut, resulting in a pale and also fatty-looking stool.

Some conditions can reason pancreatitis, which is swelling and inflammation that the pancreas. These include:

infectionsgallstonesexcessive alcohol consumptiona high-fat diet

Treatment because that pancreatitis relies on the cause. Some world need hospitalization, fluids, or antibiotics. Surgery might treat some forms of pancreatitis. When an additional condition reasons pancreatitis, such as gallstones, a doctor should also address that issue.


Pale stools in youngsters are not necessarily a clinical emergency if they happen once and also are pale however not white.

Breastfed babies have light yellowish-brown stools. This hue is specifically prevalent among babies who have not yet transitioned to solids. When they space eating solids, their stool normally becomes browner.

When the stool is white or really light brown, this deserve to signal a much more serious problem, such together cholestasis, a type of liver disease.

In newborns, cholestasis or any type of other difficulty with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas may be a medical emergency, therefore a caregiver should speak to their pediatrician appropriate away.

If the baby has other symptoms, transforms yellow, or shows up to it is in in pain, a caregiver must take them straight to the emergency room.

In older children who have no other symptoms, it is typically safe come wait because that the next bowel movement.


White or clay-colored stools during pregnancy usually show a problem with the gallbladder, liver, biliary ducts, or pancreas. Part women build a pregnancy-related liver an illness called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.

Symptoms that cholestasis include:

intense itchinesspain under the ribs top top the upper right side that the stomachdark urine even when well hydratedpale stoolnauseaexhaustion beyond that of a common pregnancy

Doctors execute not completely understand what reasons cholestasis, yet they think that pregnancy hormones might impact liver functioning. Treatment may incorporate medication and also frequent monitoring, consisting of blood work and also ultrasounds. In part cases, a woman may need to provide birth early.


Diseases the the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas can quickly end up being life-threatening. However, these diseases are commonly treatable.

The longer a problem with these crucial organs continues, the more likely that is to reason lasting injury or damages other organs. So that is vital to err on the side of caution and quickly check out a medical professional for pale stool.

An adult who only has actually a pale stool and also no other symptoms deserve to wait till the next bowel movement prior to they speak to a doctor. If the pale stool persists, they can be way to watch a doctor within a day.

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If there are other symptoms, such together pain, dark urine, turning yellow, vomiting, or a fever, it is ideal to look for urgent treatment.