White Stool Meaning

Typical stools can vary in tones of brown, mainly due to diet. White or clay-colored stools are not normal. If your stools are white or clay-colored, you might have a problem with the drain of your biliary system, which is consisted of your gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.

My Stool Is White: What Does That Mean?

Bile salts are released into your stools by your liver, offering the stools a brown color. If your liver is not producing enough bile, or if the flow of the bile is obstructed and not draining pipes from your liver, your stools will be white (pale).

Having white or clay-colored stools once in a while might not be a cause for concern. If it happens often, you may have a serious health problem. You should see your doctor whenever you have white or clay-colored stools in order to eliminate disease and disease.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause White Stool

There are many possible causes of white or clay-colored stools. Some of the common causes include:


Specific medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen and naproxen), birth control pills, some antibiotics, and anabolic steroids can cause drug-induced liver disease. Drug-induced liver disease is a swelling or inflammation of the liver caused by medications. Drug-induced liver disease and the associated tarnished stools typically disappear within a few weeks after the medications are terminated.

Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis and White Stool Color

Viral Hepatitis May Cause White Stool Color

Viral hepatitis is a swelling or inflammation of the liver caused by viruses such as the liver disease A, B, or C viruses. Liver disease C typically results in liver disease.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic liver disease is swelling or inflammation of the liver caused by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Alcoholic hepatitis can result in liver disease or liver failure.

Biliary Cirrhosis

Biliary cirrhosis is an inflammation or irritation of the bile ducts in the liver. The inflammation or inflammation obstructs the flow of bile to the intestines. The exact cause of biliary cirrhosis is unknown. There is no cure for biliary cirrhosis, and the disease is dangerous. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 25 percent of individuals with biliary cirrhosis experience liver failure after 10 years of having the disease. (NIH).


Gallstones are hardened deposits in the gallbladder that can block the circulation of bile. Medications can sometimes dissolve gallstones. You may need surgery to remove your gallstones if they are large or if they cannot disappear after you take medications.

Sclerosing Cholangitis

Sclerosing cholangitis is an inflammation or scarring of the bile ducts, which are televisions that carry bile throughout the body. The specific cause of this disease is unidentified, but genetic aspects may be partly responsible. Your doctor might have the ability to repair the damage to your bile ducts using medications or surgery.

Structural Defects in the Biliary System

You might have been born with structural problems in your biliary system that avoid the flow of bile. Your doctor might be able to surgically repair the problems.

Biliary Stricture

Gallbladder removal surgery can result in the narrowing of the bile ducts. This condition is known as biliary stricture. Your doctor may be able to fix the problems using surgery or a stent. A stent is a small tube that a cosmetic surgeon puts inside the ducts to keep them open so that bile can flow easily.


Benign (noncancerous) or deadly (cancerous) tumors in the biliary system can hinder bile circulation or can irritate the liver. Your doctor may be able to remove the tumor surgically. You might need radiation or chemotherapy treatments if the tumor is malignant.


Cysts on the bile ducts can avoid the circulation of bile. The cysts might go away without treatment, or your doctor might perform surgery to remove them.

Jaundice and Pale or White Stools

Among the most common complications of white or clay-colored stools is jaundice. This is because of a buildup of bile in your body. Jaundice is a yellowing of your skin or around the whites of your eyes. See your doctor instantly if you have signs of jaundice since it might likewise be a symptom of liver disease.

How Will a Doctor Diagnose White or Clay-Colored Stools?

Your doctor will ask you concerns to discover how often you have white or clay-colored stools, other symptoms you may have, and to discover what medications you are taking. Your doctor may likewise perform tests to help diagnose the cause of your white or clay-colored stools. Possible tests include:.

  • blood tests.
  • computed tomography (CT) scans: imaging scans that appearance inside your body.
  • magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) (an unique type of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, that captures detailed pictures of the biliary system).
  • abdominal ultrasound: a test that uses acoustic waves to develop a picture of your organs.

Long-Term Outlook

Once the underlying cause of white or clay-colored schools is treated, your stools ought to go back to a normal brown color. Nevertheless, not all causes are treatable, such as liver disease and some cancerous tumors. If the cause is incurable, you will continue to have white or clay-colored stools.



Updated: August 14, 2016 — 2:59 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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