Common Causes of White Specks in Stools
Stools having white specks or spots are not normal and need to be investigated. If you have them one time, you may ignore them. However, if you are getting them on an ongoing basis, see your doctor for further evaluation. Here we are going to discuss some of the common causes.
Lack of Bile
The normal brown color of stools is due to the presence of bile juice in them. Bile juice is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It is released into our intestines to aid the digestion and absorption of fat in our diet.
So any problem in the liver that interferes with bile production, may turn your stools whitish in color. This would include liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis etc.
Also, any problem with the gall bladder, like cholecystitis or blockage in the bile ducts by stones or tumorous growths, may interfere with the delivery of bile juice and cause whitish stools.
Use of Certain Medications
Some antacids that have aluminum hydroxide may cause pale stools.
Sometimes capsules of certain antibiotics, like erythromycin, may appear in the stool as a whitish lump.
Mucus is an inflammatory exudate. It is produced by the inner lining of our intestines in response to an infection, allergy or inflammation.
Too much of mucus can make your stools look whitish in color. It indicates that your intestines are irritated and inflamed.
Conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis etc. need to be considered. The mucous lining of the intestines are irritated in these conditions. So digestion becomes poor, thereby leading to nutritional deficiencies, disturbed bowel movements, muscle weakness, weight loss and headaches.
Parasite such as giardia or worms such as tapeworm may result in stools having white lumps. These lumps could be the infective bugs covered with inflammatory exudate. The patient usually has digestive problems, nutritional deficiency and pain in the abdomen.
Clumps of Fungi
White spots in stools may represent clumps of fungi. This occurs commonly in situations where the immune status of the patient is not good e.g. after radiotherapy, chemotherapy or in medical conditions like AIDS.
The white specks may be dead candida cells. The intestines are inflamed and digestive problems may accompany.
Pale and Oily Stools
This may happen in steatorrhea, a condition where fat is not digested by the body and passed out as it is. Stools are foul smelling and oily.
It may occur in many conditions that interfere with the digestion of fats. Some people are sensitive to gluten. If they consume a food item that contains gluten, a reaction occurs which inflames the intestinal mucosa. This impairs the absorption of fat and other nutrients from the intestines.
Pancreatitis, hepatitis or cholecystitis- all result in steatorrhea and may present with malabsorption of fats.
Some people have severe lactose intolerance. They are not able to digest any dairy product that includes milk, cheese and butter etc. These food items when taken are pooped out in undigested form.
These may be leftover white colored particles of undigested food- like seeds, capsule cover of some drug etc.
White stools or white specks in stools are not normal. It is advisable to proceed with investigations to get a clear picture.
Stools are sent to the lab for routine and microscopic examination. If required, a stool culture may be done. This would reveal the stools contents such as fat, ova, cyst and fungus etc. Stool testing is helpful in identifying the problem and giving a direction for further investigations. If intestinal problems are suspected, imaging techniques are done.