Why is my poop white? If you are asking this question, you must have noticed something not quite right in the coloring of a recent bowel movement. A variety of things can lead to some oddly colored poop creations. What are the most common causes of white poop?
Certain medications lead to white poop. Over the counter antacids or anti-diarrhea medications sometimes create white stool. Additionally, barium enemas or the barium cocktail used for certain gastrointestinal exams cause white or clay colored stool as a side effect. Some prescription antibiotics or antifungal medications report white stool as a common side effect as well. Side effects of these medications are generally temporary and are usually not cause for concern—and are often discussed with patients in advance by the doctor or pharmacist.
Diet may be to blame for white poop. An unbalanced diet, high in fat, may lead to large amounts of undigested fat passing through the digestive system. This can sometimes create a light, whitish appearance in the stool. While this is a possible cause for white stool, it is still a good idea to discuss the issue with a physician to rule out more serious factors.
White stool often indicates a problem in bile production. Bile produced in the liver gives stool its normal brown color as it mixes with waste and passes through the digestive system. If the stool does not contain bile, or has very little, the stool is often white or lightly colored. Blockage of bile ducts, cysts or tumors, or medical conditions affecting bile production may be to blame.
Liver infections and disease may cause white feces. Conditions such as alcoholic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, or cirrhosis of the liver cause changes in liver function and impact the liver’s bile production activities. Again, a lack of color to the stool usually indicates a problem in bile production—in this case, created by poor liver functioning.
White poop may be caused by other bodily infections or medical conditions. Certain disorders of the gall bladder or pancreas often impact bile production and excretion as can digestive conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is important to note other symptoms and concerns when discussing white stool with your physician as the other symptoms may help lead to an underlying cause or condition.
Unlike other stool discolorations, white poop is more often caused by an underlying medical condition or physical abnormality than by something temporary. Even if a dietary change or over the counter medication is suspected, a consultation with a medical practitioner is recommended. A physician visit is especially important if the stool discoloration is accompanied by other symptoms or concerns.