While normal stools can range in colour depending on diet, general health and individual variation, stools that appear white may be a cause for concern. People with white stools should consult a physician to avoid potentially life-threatening health problems.
White stools may also be described as claylike, pale or grey in colour but are usually normal in amount, frequency and size. Some people may have white stools that are loose and watery like diarrhoea.
People may notice their stool is white after wiping or when flushing the toilet; parents or caregivers may notice white stools in babies or children during a diaper change.
White stools can result from a number of infections, including hepatitis and diseases or abnormalities of the liver, intestines or gallbladder. It also can be the result of side effects from medications such as antibiotics.
When diagnosing symptoms of white stools, a doctor may request a specimen, do an internal exam and ask the patient health questions about any other symptoms.
White stools can be a sign of a blocked bile duct, which is a serious medical condition that can lead to other health complications, if left untreated.
People who regularly use medications to treat diarrhoea, heartburn or indigestion might experience frequent white stools, which usually go away after discontinuing use of the medication.
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