White Specks In Stool: Causes and What To Do (Research Based)

White Specks In Stool - Causes and What To Do
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White bits in stool are not a common occurrence and can be caused by a number of health concerns. Sometimes the white bits in stool can resemble white specks or spots, other times it could look like a whitish substance that discolors your stool. Usually, noticing white pieces in the toilet after passing stool once or twice isn’t something to be concerned about. However, if you regularly notice bits of white stuff or specs that look like tiny white balls in your stool, you should visit your doctor for a checkup.

There are many reasons for white particles and clumps of whitish matter to be found in your feces. The white bits could be a sign of a fungal infection or that you have parasites in your gut. Also, digestive issues can cause white mucous to appear along with stool.

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Some more serious medical problems can also cause most of your stool to turn a whitish-gray color. In these cases, you won’t just notice white bits in your stool but all your stool will have a pale color.

In this article, we will look at the causes of white specks in your stool and also examine some of the reasons why your stool can change color.

Causes of White Specks in Stool

Actually, the color of your stool can tell much about your health in general. However, noticing white bits or lumps in your stool is not something to be ignored.

Here are some of the reasons why you may notice white particles in your stool. You will also find out what you can do to address any underlying health issue that may cause discolored stools.

Mucous in stool

The white substance in your stool could be mucous. Stool usually contains small amounts of mucous that aren’t usually noticeable. However, large amounts of a whitish substance in your stool might be a sign of a digestive disorder.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that larger amounts of mucus in stool could be a sign of an intestinal infection. For example, a change in color of your stool along with abdominal pain could be a sign of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or even cancer.1

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, whitish mucus in your stool could indicate that you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Along with the white substance in your stool, IBS also causes bloating, abdominal pain and discomfort, loose stools after eating, and a frequency change in bowel movement.2

IBS can be a tricky digestive problem to manage. However, readers of this website have found helpful advice to manage the symptoms of IBS in my article on the best herbs and natural treatments to relieve IBS.

Parasites

The white specks you notice in your stool may be a sign of parasites in your intestinal tract. Along with noticing white lumps in fecal matter, the University of Maryland says that parasites can also cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, loose stools, itching around the rectum, and weight loss.3

What are the white bits in your stool that parasites cause? The University of Maryland says that you may pass a worm in your stool if you have parasites. Also, the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology says that white specks or small tiny balls in stool could be parasite eggs.4

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If you think that you have parasites in your intestines, there are many foods you can eat to help get rid of the parasitic worms. One of the best foods to eliminate parasites is garlic. Garlic works as an antibiotic in the body and helps to flush out various parasites.

Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is also a natural and effective way to eliminate internal parasites. A study published in the Journal of Poultry Science found that DE has the potential to be an effective treatment to help control parasites.13 When buying diatomaceous earth, be sure to look for a brand that is food grade, meaning that it is safe to ingest.

Fungal infection

A fungal infection may be to blame for the appearance of small lumpy white balls in your stool. Fungal infections are commonly caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans yeast. This can happen if your immune system is severely weakened or you have been taking a course of antibiotics. Candida yeast infections manifest themselves as clumps of white matter on your tongue, vaginal itching, and sugar cravings. The white specks of candida infection can also come out in your stool.

The journal Clinical Infectious Diseases published research showing the connection between candida and passing loose stool. Researchers discovered that yeast infections can cause growths of Candida to be found in the stool.5

For more information on how to prevent and treat a fungal infection naturally, please read my article on the best natural treatments for treating candida.

Fatty stool (steatorrhea)

Parts of your stool could look white or pale because of too much fat content in your stool. This is a condition called steatorrhea and is caused by malabsorption. Malabsorption describes a condition where the digestive system can’t absorb certain fats, sugars, proteins, or vitamins.

The reason for part or all of your stool being white is that bile produced by the liver is needed to break down fat. It’s the bile that gives your stool the typical brown color. If there is not enough bile produced by your body, then this can cause your stools to have a whitish appearance.

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Dr. Stephan Goebei on Medscape.com says that steatorrhea can cause you to pass pale, bulky stools with a foul odor. You may also notice droplets of oil floating on the water after passing whitish stool.6

There can be many reasons why malabsorption occurs in your body resulting in steatorrhea. Usually, when these underlying causes are treated, your stool will return back to its normal color. You can read more about this condition in my article on why you have a greasy stool and what to do about it.

Other Causes of White Stool

Sometimes you may notice that you don’t just have specks of white matter in your poop, but all your poop is a pale color. Please read on to find out what could be causing whitish stools and when you should see a doctor.

Certain medications

According to MedlinePlus, some medications can interfere with your body’s bile production and cause clay-colored stools.7 GlobalRPh says that medications that can turn your stool a gray or whitish color are antibiotics, medications for gout or heartburn.8

Usually, when you stop taking the medication causing pale stool, your stool should return to its normal color.

Liver problems

Liver disease can affect your body’s production of bile, thus affecting the color of your stool. Dr. Michael Picco from the Mayo Clinic says that if the liver doesn’t produce enough bile then stool will be white or light colored.9

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There are other symptoms of liver disease that you should be aware of. Some of these are jaundice, abdominal pain, dark yellow urine, and bruising easily as well as others that are mentioned in my article about early signs of liver damage & how to strengthen your liver.

Gallstones

Your gallbladder is also connected with bile and your digestive system. According to doctors from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, if a gallstone blocks the bile duct you could have pale stools. Along with passing whitish-gray poop, you may have a high fever, pain in your upper abdomen, and yellowing of the skin.10

One way to remove gallstones is to drink lemon water. The acidic content of lemon helps to dissolve gallstones and flush out toxins from your liver. Lemon water helps to boost your digestive process and get your digestion working properly again.

However, you should visit your doctor if gallstones cause pain and discomfort that doesn’t go away.

Pancreatitis

Change in stool color when it becomes white or pale-looking could be caused by pancreatic disease. Pancreatitis can affect your digestive system causing malabsorption and a higher fat content in your poop.

Dr. John Cunha on eMedcineHealth says that whitish or gray-colored stool is sometimes due to diseases of the pancreas, gallbladder, or liver.11

Some other symptoms of pancreatitis are a sharp, shooting pain under your ribs, fever, nausea and vomiting, or increased heart rate.

Biliary atresia

Biliary atresia is a condition that can affect newborns and is caused by blockage of the bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder.

Johns Hopkins Medicine says that infants with a blocked bile duct will have pale or clay-colored stools that are foul-smelling, little or no weight gain, and slow growth.12

If you notice that your infant has pale colored stool, you should talk to your healthcare provider immediately to arrange tests and the appropriate treatment.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources
  1. MayoClinic. What causes mucus in stool?
  2. NIDDK. Symptoms & causes of irritable bowel syndrome.
  3. UMM. Intestinal parasites.
  4. Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2012 Nov-Dec; 18(6): 392–393.
  5. Clin Infect Dis. 1995 Oct;21(4):881-6.
  6. com. Malabsorption clinical presentation.
  7. MedlinePlus. Stools – pale or clay-colored.
  8. GlobalRPh. Agents which may discolor feces.
  9. MayoClinic. What would cause a person to have white stool?
  10. NHS. Gallstones – complications.
  11. eMedicnineHealth. Stool color changes.
  12. HopkinsMedicine. Biliary atresia.
  13. Poult Sci. 2011 Jul;90(7):1416-26
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