White or pale-coloured stools are a cause for concern and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. In this context, "white stool" refers to stool that is white, grey, or pale, which may be indicative of an underlying health condition.
White stools can be caused by a lack of bile, a substance produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, that helps digest fats in the diet. When the liver does not produce enough bile or when there is a blockage in the bile ducts, the stool can appear pale or white. According to MayoClinic other causes of white stool can include certain medications, liver disease, pancreatitis, and gallstones.
What Does White Stool Mean
According to a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, white stools were found to be a significant predictor of biliary atresia in infants. Biliary atresia is a rare condition in which the bile ducts outside and inside the liver are damaged or absent, leading to a buildup of bile in the liver, which can cause liver damage and cirrhosis if left untreated. The study found that white stools, along with jaundice and acholic stool (pale, clay-coloured stool), were highly suggestive of biliary atresia and should prompt further evaluation.
Another study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that white stool was a common symptom in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a chronic liver disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts. The study found that 22% of patients with PSC reported having white stool.
Medical diseases that impair nutrient absorption can also result in greasy, foul-smelling, or white faeces. This can be caused by a variety of medical problems, including liver illness, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease.
Baby and Toddler White Stool
If your newborn or toddler has white poop, it could indicate an underlying health problem. Babies have a different colour poop than most adults and children. White, black, or crimson poop, on the other hand, is not normal. White poop may suggest a medical disease such as cystic fibrosis or a liver or bile duct problem.
Also read: 6 Home Remedies To Ease Pain While Passing Stool
How Does a Healthy Stool Appear?
Although healthy stools can be a variety of colours, textures, and sizes, the majority of people have brownish poop, including yellowish-brown, greenish-brown, and dark brown. If you consume a lot of green veggies, your excrement may have a greenish tint, which is quite natural.
Your stool will not always look the same, and it is natural for it to vary in colour, texture, and size.
However, if you have frequent constipation and/or diarrhoea, or if your poop is black, red, or white in colour, you should see your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Also read: Have You Ever Experienced Blood In Your Stool? These Could Be The Possible Reasons
White stool can indicate an underlying health condition, and individuals with this symptom should seek medical attention. Healthcare providers will evaluate the individual's medical history, perform a physical examination, and may order additional tests to determine the cause of the white stool.