Some diarrhea medications can cause changes in stool color, such as black or white stool. However, passing white stools can indicate a serious medical condition, such as a blocked bile duct or liver problem.
White stool is not normal and can
This article covers the potential causes of white stools after diarrhea and answers frequently asked questions about this symptom.
People who experience white stool after a bout of diarrhea should consult a healthcare professional.
Learn more about stool colors with a helpful stool color chart.
In addition to white stool, other symptoms of a blocked bile duct
People with these symptoms should seek medical attention right away.
A doctor may order tests, such as an ultrasound, blood tests, or an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography), to determine the cause of the blocked bile duct.
If left untreated, bile duct obstruction can be a
Gallstones are small, hard deposits in the gallbladder, a small organ that stores bile.
If a gallstone becomes stuck in the bile duct, it can cause a blockage that prevents bile from flowing properly, leading to a gallbladder attack, or biliary colic. Light-colored stools
A gallbladder attack is a sudden, intense pain in the upper right abdomen. The pain may last for
Not all people with gallstones have symptoms. These are called silent gallstones. Silent gallstones do not need treatment unless they start to cause symptoms.
A damaged liver may not produce enough bile, leading to a buildup of bile and a decrease in bile reaching the intestines.
Examples of liver diseases that may cause a change in stool color include:
- biliary atresia (a rare disorder characterized by a missing or malformed bile duct)
In addition to white stool, other symptoms of liver disease include:
People who notice symptoms of liver disease should see a healthcare professional immediately, as early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in managing liver disease and preventing further complications.
In addition to a lack of bile, other possible causes of white stools after diarrhea include:
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about white stools.
Is it normal to have white poop after a stomach bug?
Gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, is often caused by viral or bacterial infections that lead to inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This inflammation can cause the pancreas to become inflamed as well.
The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and bile, which help break down fats. If the pancreas is inflamed, it may not produce enough bile, which can lead to white or pale-colored stool.
In most cases, white stool after a stomach bug will go away. However, if it persists for more than a week, it is important to see a doctor.
Can white stool be temporary?
Yes, white stool can be temporary. Several things, including stomach flu, antidiarrheal medications, or bile duct obstruction, can cause it. Once these conditions resolve, the stool color usually returns to normal.
Having white stool after diarrhea can cause concern, as it can indicate underlying liver, pancreas, or small intestine issues.
It is important to pay attention to changes in stool color or consistency and seek medical advice if white stool persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as jaundice, fever, or abdominal pain.