You probably don’t think twice about your poop color. 99% of the time it’s some shade of brown, but every once in a while you crap out a color that makes you do a double-take on the toilet.
Not to totally freak you out, but white stool isn’t “normal” (at least by most standard medical definitions). In most cases, white or pale stool is caused by a lack of digestive fluids in your gut, which can indicate an underlying health issue (more on that later).
The good news is that most causes of white poop are treatable, as long as you get checked out ASAP. Keep reading to learn the most common causes of white poop, what to do about it, and when to see a doctor.
What Causes White Poop?
There are several health conditions that can cause white poop, but we’ll start with the most common: liver issues.
1. Liver Problems
The most common cause of white poop is a lack of bile in the gut. Also known as bilirubin, this digestive fluid is produced by your liver and stored in your gallbladder. Bile’s main job is to help enzymes digest fat.
Poop gets its usual brown color from bile, which is released into your small intestine as food digests. However, if your liver isn’t making enough bile, your stool can turn white, pale yellow, or clay-colored.
That leads to the next question: what’s causing these bile production issues? There are several types of liver conditions that can obstruct your biliary duct, including:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Hepatitis A, B, or C
- Liver damage from excessive alcohol consumption
- Liver cancer
- Liver cysts
- Fatty liver disease
- Wilson’s disease
Certain medications can strain your liver and turn your poop white or pale yellow, especially if you take high doses. Here are a few common culprits:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Aluminum hydroxide, a common ingredient in antacids like Pepto-Bismol
- Barium sulfate, which is sometimes used during X-rays
3. Gallbladder Problems
Bile is stored in your gallbladder, which is a pear-shaped organ located right next to your liver. During digestion, your gallbladder sends bile into your intestines, which (usually) makes your poop brown. However, certain gallbladder diseases can create a blockage in the bile duct, making your poop turn white.
The most common gallbladder issue is gallstones: which are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that block your bile duct. In addition to turning your poop white, gallstones can also cause abdominal pain, nausea, jaundice, vomiting, and fever.
4. Pancreatic Problems
If your pancreas isn’t functioning properly, it can’t secrete digestive fluids. When that happens, food passes through your digestive system too quickly, resulting in poop that’s pale and fatty-looking.
The most common issue here is pancreatitis, which can be triggered by infections, gallstones, autoimmune diseases, or excessive alcohol consumption.
Also known as beaver fever, giardiasis is an infection caused by a parasite that turns poop a pale-yellow color. You can get it by drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with soil infested by the parasite.
Additional symptoms of giardiasis include abdominal pain, headache, fever, and vomiting.
Is White Poop Something to Worry About?
If your poop is pale or white for more than one day, get in touch with your healthcare provider, as it may be a sign of a serious condition. Talking to a doctor about your bowel movements might not be the highlight of your week, but it’s the only way to know for sure what’s happening in your gut.
The doctor will likely start with some basic questions and a physical examination to narrow down the potential causes. After that, you may need to undergo some tests to evaluate your liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
Restoring your poop back to brown will depend on your underlying condition. Sometimes that’s as simple as avoiding certain foods or supplements. However, a more serious issue like gallstones may require surgical removal.
Regardless, the sooner you address the issue, the better off you’ll be.
We’ll Clean Any Color of Poop
Whether your poop is brown, white, pebbly, explosive, or extra smelly, you can always count on us to be there for cleanup duty. You might be stressed about your poop color, but you shouldn’t have to stress about a chapped rear from wiping.
With soothing aloe, vitamin E, and an extra-large surface area, you can bet your ass DUDE Wipes deliver the best wiping experience in the game. Tell those TP brands to stick their sandpaper where the sun don’t shine.