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Pale Colored Stools

by (742)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created June 08, 2011 at 3:49 PM

For the last 3 days, my poop has been very light in color, enough to where it has freaked me out. There's also a lot of it, like when I used to eat fiber supplements (pre-Paleo). Google said pale/clay colored stools can be indicative of liver problems. I would rather have you guys hack this than go to the doctor, who will tell me to eat less fat. O_o Here's my info: 36YO female, at ideal weight for my height. Mostly Primal/Paleo for the last 2 years, no major changes in diet lately, except for a few cheats with wheat (but I've had pretty consistent cheats during the last 2 years with no problems). Feeling good other than the pale poop. Mild low backache after going to the bathroom, which lasts for 15 minutes. Extreme stress in personal life, more than normal. Had breakthrough bleeding last week, which is indicative of hormonal fluctuations since I'm not on the pill or taking HRT. Not pregnant, also STD free. Not sure if this is related, but thought it's worth a mention. Please hack my poop! LOL. Actually, I'm a little worried. I know if I go to the doctor, they'll tell me my horrible Paleo diet is putting too much stress on my liver and tell me to eat whole grains without doing any testing (yay US Military doctors!). I would much rather see if any of you have experienced similar things.

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3850 · May 03, 2012 at 9:33 PM

This would also explain why I had recurrent billary symptoms but when they took out my GB it was in the surgeon's words "completely healthy". (I was not gluten-free at the time and had many GI and autoimmune problems)

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3850 · May 03, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Wow, that exact thing just happened to me. I had my GB out years ago and paleo/GF has completely normalized my ahem, eliminations. But I got glutened good on Monday and today freaked out that my stool was almost white. (Have had no billiary pain at all, though lots in my lower GI). My research leads me to sclerosing cholangitis http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000285.htm as a possible cause. The autoimmune relationship makes sense, and explains the transient nature of the occurence after eating gluten.

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78407 · July 06, 2011 at 12:16 AM

It depends on the amount ingested. Small trace amounts(when a product is manufactured on same equipment) generally produces gas, loose stools, negative mood and feeling, low energy. But with more gluten ingested(like eating a bowl of couscous), I get those symptoms but stronger and other things like diarrhea, extreme abdominal cramping, worse mood changes which can even be as bad as depression instead of just an anxiousness. Gluten is mostly a mental thing for me while the gut pain isn't as bad, but still it represents that my body isn't absorbing nutrients.

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73 · June 16, 2011 at 5:37 AM

Sorry, Gallbladder. Lack of stool color indicates no bile. (If memory serves me silver stools are associated with pancreases dysfunction) I believe it is the gallbladder bile that helps digest the fats. Not an MD but have some western medical background.

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Tried that, and was told I HAD to eat grains of some sort. Was also given a lecture on the dangers of saturated fat. I don't mention this anymore, and will actually lie and tell them I eat corn and brown rice to shut them up. ;)

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Thanks, will get that checked out tomorrow. Pretty sure I'm not gluten intolerant and don't want to burn out my liver. I've done some traveling lately, so you never know...

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Hi! I've had testing for Celiac and gluten intolerance within the last 2 years and everything came back negative. I've been eating wheat over the last 2 years with no problems, this is just the past 3 days. Perhaps I've developed problems after being wheat free/treating myself when it used to be a part of my everyday diet. I don't eat out, besides the MSG/gluten/corn/soy nightmare, I just know too much about what goes on in the kitchen to enjoy the food. :) When you get sick from gluten, what are the symptoms, if you don't mind me asking?

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 7:57 PM

GB? gastro/bowel?

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 7:56 PM

I've had all the testing for celiac, including a colonoscopy, within the past 2 years, and everything came back normal. As far as I know, I'm not gluten intolerant, just carb/sugar intolerant. :) I thought the same as you - that liver problems would take a while to develop. Perhaps I've developed Crohn's or Celiac after being wheat free for a while, it's been known to happen...I have been eating a lot of wheat lately, so you never know. Thanks for this. Going to doc's tomorrow to get tested.

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390 · June 08, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I also go to military docs. I tell them what I eat without putting a label on it and so far that has panned out! I just tell her that grains really bother me (truth) and send me into a tailspin (truth again), as long as I emphasize the involvement of a variety of veggies she leaves me alone :)

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7 Answers

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78407 · June 08, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Do you eat out or eat any processed foods that can be manufactured on the same equipment as gluten? Even small traces can mess with the small intestine/bowel of people who are intolerant. Many people who go paleo/gluten free experience this especially because we avoid it so long our tolerance to gluten goes down.

Do you eat at restaurants that can possible put MSG(also causes problems similar to gluten as far as bowel) in their food? Or cross contamination from gluten. It's best to just not eat out unless it's a 100% gluten free place or has a segregated gluten free kitchen. Outback steakhouse does in some states but they use MSG in some dishes so you have to be careful.

I personally never eat out and cook 100% whole foods with salt and pepper and the only time I have problems is when I cheat or cross contamination. I got glutened the other day from eating packaged pecans, did research and found out on the website of the manufacturer that there is gluten on the same line but they clean it between runs. It said nothing about "may contain gluten" on the package so I took a chance and got sick for 2-3 days with lingering effects from small trace amounts!. Gotta be careful about little things like this, our world is practically made of gluten. There's gluten on every doorknob, there's gluten all over pots and pans in all restaurants that never gets washed. Gluten sticks to everything and is hard to get rid of because it's glue-like. Many adhesives are made from glutenous grains even.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78407 · July 06, 2011 at 12:16 AM

It depends on the amount ingested. Small trace amounts(when a product is manufactured on same equipment) generally produces gas, loose stools, negative mood and feeling, low energy. But with more gluten ingested(like eating a bowl of couscous), I get those symptoms but stronger and other things like diarrhea, extreme abdominal cramping, worse mood changes which can even be as bad as depression instead of just an anxiousness. Gluten is mostly a mental thing for me while the gut pain isn't as bad, but still it represents that my body isn't absorbing nutrients.

D5ef6397b5e2fd6fe5f093da5e3d403b
742 · June 08, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Hi! I've had testing for Celiac and gluten intolerance within the last 2 years and everything came back negative. I've been eating wheat over the last 2 years with no problems, this is just the past 3 days. Perhaps I've developed problems after being wheat free/treating myself when it used to be a part of my everyday diet. I don't eat out, besides the MSG/gluten/corn/soy nightmare, I just know too much about what goes on in the kitchen to enjoy the food. :) When you get sick from gluten, what are the symptoms, if you don't mind me asking?

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73 · June 08, 2011 at 4:40 PM

You still have to go in to an MD.

Could be some GB issues.

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73 · June 16, 2011 at 5:37 AM

Sorry, Gallbladder. Lack of stool color indicates no bile. (If memory serves me silver stools are associated with pancreases dysfunction) I believe it is the gallbladder bile that helps digest the fats. Not an MD but have some western medical background.

D5ef6397b5e2fd6fe5f093da5e3d403b
742 · June 08, 2011 at 7:57 PM

GB? gastro/bowel?

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3976 · June 08, 2011 at 4:11 PM

For what it's worth (and maybe not much), I have celiac disease, and the only time I've ever experienced this is for several days right after being accidentally glutened. My first solid stools are extremely pale, enough to have freaked me out, too, the last time it happened. I was also concerned about my liver, but I got the impression that such liver damage would take a long time to appear, and there would be other symptoms of liver problems. So... my guess, and it's only a guess, is that stress is causing you digestive problems, thus fatty, pale stool.

I don't know how helpful that is, but figured I'd share anyway.

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3850 · May 03, 2012 at 9:33 PM

This would also explain why I had recurrent billary symptoms but when they took out my GB it was in the surgeon's words "completely healthy". (I was not gluten-free at the time and had many GI and autoimmune problems)

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e
3850 · May 03, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Wow, that exact thing just happened to me. I had my GB out years ago and paleo/GF has completely normalized my ahem, eliminations. But I got glutened good on Monday and today freaked out that my stool was almost white. (Have had no billiary pain at all, though lots in my lower GI). My research leads me to sclerosing cholangitis http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000285.htm as a possible cause. The autoimmune relationship makes sense, and explains the transient nature of the occurence after eating gluten.

D5ef6397b5e2fd6fe5f093da5e3d403b
742 · June 08, 2011 at 7:56 PM

I've had all the testing for celiac, including a colonoscopy, within the past 2 years, and everything came back normal. As far as I know, I'm not gluten intolerant, just carb/sugar intolerant. :) I thought the same as you - that liver problems would take a while to develop. Perhaps I've developed Crohn's or Celiac after being wheat free for a while, it's been known to happen...I have been eating a lot of wheat lately, so you never know. Thanks for this. Going to doc's tomorrow to get tested.

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0 · February 18, 2013 at 5:10 AM

I've recently noticed lighter colored poop myself. I have been dieting, only have two shakes & a 300 calorie meal between noon & 6PM. I know I already have liver issues, but my doc says it's not life threatening. yet, anyway. I've drastically reduced my alcohol intake, quit smoking 3 years ago and am working out and riding my bike 5 miles a day. I've also noticed increased volume of stool, even though I'm not eating all that much. very strange. I'll give it a couple days then talk to my GP.

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742 · July 05, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Turns out that removing all traces of wheat and gluten from my diet has resolved the issue. I had extensive blood work done, including gallbladder and liver enzymes, and everything came back normal. Even the test for Celiac. My doctor told me that the only surefire way to test for Celiac is to take a biopsy of your colon and that negative Celiac tests are wrong about 60% of the time. Hooray for modern medicine! She advised a gluten free diet, which has improved my poop and other things, including depression and fatigue. Thank you to all that answered and gave me advice, especially Rock_Paper_Shirley, who hit the nail on the head. Cheers!

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1801 · June 08, 2011 at 9:52 PM

If you've been consuming wheat, have you been consuming dairy? If you've been consuming any dairy, you may have secondary lactose intolerance due to a bug you've got/had?

My kids have secondary lactose intolerance when they get bugs (even from breastmilk).

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390 · June 08, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Eh, I'd go to the doc. Could be the gluten like mentioned before, but liver enzymes are easy to check out. The only time I had that problem was when I contracted Hepatitis A from being in Italy, so my freak-out threshold is probably lower than others!

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742 · June 08, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Thanks, will get that checked out tomorrow. Pretty sure I'm not gluten intolerant and don't want to burn out my liver. I've done some traveling lately, so you never know...

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