What Causes Pale Stools?
Pale stools can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose pale stools, we could:
- Research the topic
- Find a doctor with the time
- Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.
Step 1: List all Possible Causes
We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "pale stools" as a symptom. Here are eight possibilities:
- Gallbladder Disease
- Bile Duct Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Short Bowel Syndrome
- Liver Congestion
- Gluten Sensitivity
Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist
We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
processed meat consumption
meal-induced pain for under a week
moderate abdominal pain
moderate alcohol consumption
difficulty gaining weight
moderate unexplained weight loss
gastric bypass surgery
severe epigastric pain
pain medication use
being a recovering alcoholic
... and more than 120 others
Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause
A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of pale stools:
|Short Bowel Syndrome
|Bile Duct Cancer
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis
is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.
Do you have clay-colored (pale) stools?
→ No / don't know
→ Yes, sometimes slightly pale
→ Yes, often slightly pale, sometimes very pale
→ Yes, my stools are usually/always very pale
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate slightly pale stools, pale stools or very pale stools, The Analyst™
will consider possibilities such as:
Pale stools are often due to some form of bile dysfunction. Bile salts, which are made by the liver and excreted via the bile ducts, make feces the normal brown color. An inflamed liver (hepatitis) or some kind of blockage in the bile ducts (like a gall stone) can turn stools pale.