What are the causes of white or yellow stool?

Bowel movement colours can vary from brown to green, yellow, white or red. White stool has various causes like low bile levels, gallbladder problems and side effect of anti-diarrhoea medication. Causes of yellow stool include undigested bile, allergies to gluten and intestine infections.


Bile is the digestive fluid that turns stool brown. White stool indicates a low level of bile in the body while bright yellow stool is a sign of undigested bile.

White Stool Causes

White stool can be a side effect of anti-diarrhoea medication. Health conditions that white stool indicates includes gallstones, liver infections, body abnormalities, tumours, cysts and biliary cirrhosis.

Yellow Stool Causes

Yellow stool is a common symptom of coeliac disease (allergy to the protein gluten). Other causes of yellow stool include bacterial infection in the intestines, food moving through the gastrointestinal tract too fast and excess fat in bowel movements.

Yellow Stool in Babies

Yellow stool is normal for babies who are breast fed.


Understanding the reason for different bowel movement colours is beneficial in detecting possible undiagnosed conditions. If your stool is white or yellow, consult your doctor to determine the cause of your abnormal coloured stool.

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About the Author

Zachary Fenell is a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame College of Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with minors in philosophy and writing. Fenell has been writing since 2002, when he joined his high school newspaper, "The Arc Light." In college Fenell won awards for excellence in English and communication.