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:
|Short Bowel Syndrome||4%||Ruled out|
|Gluten Sensitivity||4%||Ruled out|
|Gallbladder Disease||1%||Ruled out|
|Bile Duct Cancer||1%||Ruled out|
|Pancreatic Cancer||1%||Ruled out|
Do you have clay-colored (pale) stools?
Possible responses:→ No / don't know
→ Yes, sometimes slightly pale
→ Yes, often slightly pale, sometimes very pale
→ Yes, my stools are usually/always very pale
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.