Pale Stool: Symptoms

By Shaffer, Michael
By Spader, Catherine RN

What other symptoms might occur with pale stool?

Pale stool may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Pale stool caused by liver disease may be accompanied by fairly nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, and poor appetite.

Symptoms related to dietary or medication causes of pale stool

In some cases, pale stool may be caused by certain medications, preparations for procedures, or dietary factors that cause other symptoms including:

  • Constipation or hard, infrequent stools

  • Flatulence

  • Loose, watery or frequent stools

Symptoms related to liver or bile duct disease that may occur with pale stool

Pale stool is often caused by an underlying liver or bile duct disease. Symptoms of these conditions that can occur with pale stool include:

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition

Symptoms that may occur with pale stool can be caused by life-threatening conditions, such as liver failure, portal hypertension, or esophageal varices. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding, such as vomiting blood or major rectal bleeding

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucination or delusions

  • Poor cognitive functioning due to the liver’s inability to filter toxins and a buildup of waste products in the blood and brain

  • Severe weakness

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your baby has any of these serious or life-threatening symptoms that may accompany pale stool:

  • Extreme fussiness

  • Inability to wake your baby easily

  • Lack of stool or urine

  • Serious feeding problems or inability to breastfeed or bottle feed

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Unusually weak, stiff or floppy body

What is pale stool?

Pale stool is stool (feces) that is unusually light in color instead of medium to dark brown. The appearance of pale stools can include a variety of light colors or tints, such as white, silver, gray, light yellow, or putty-colored.

... Read more about pale stoolintroduction


What causes pale stool?

Pale stool can be caused by a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions, including dietary habits, medications, and underlying liver disease.

Dietary or medication causes of pale stool

In some cases, pale or unusually light-colored stool can be caused by certain medications and dietary choices including:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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