Should light colored stool in adults be a cause for concern? Light colored stool could appear gray, light yellow or putty-colored. People passing this kind of stool should not delay visiting the doctor as this is a sign that something is wrong in the body. Those individuals who are affected by the condition may also experience additional symptoms related to the underlying problem.
The treatment for light colored stool in adults comes in a wide variety, each designed based on the specific needs of the patient. Still, diet modification, vitamin supplementation and some prescription medications may all be that are needed to normalize the color of the stool. But severely affected individuals may require a more comprehensive treatment regimen and even surgery to treat the root cause.
Causes of Light Colored Stool in Adults
It is the bile that is responsible for the brown coloring of the stool. The bile is a greenish substance that works in digesting fats. Anything that alters the production of bile in the liver will result in changes in the stool’s color. Light colored stool in adults is rarely caused by diet and medications. Oftentimes, the stool becomes light due to certain kinds of medical conditions that cause the liver to produce less bile. The problem could also develop when there is an obstruction within the bile duct going to the gallbladder or pancreas. Problems in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and bile duct could make the stool become lighter.
Color Variations of Light Colored Stool in Adults
When someone passes light colored stool, he or she can be described as having grayish, light yellow or putty colored stool. These color varieties are related to different kinds of medical problems involving the organs and structures within the biliary system.
- Grayish stool
Grayish stool could be a result of bile duct obstruction which results in malabsorption. The obstruction could be related to gallstones, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis and giardia infection. Grayish stool can also be attributed to steatorrhea, a condition that occurs due to high amounts of fats.
- Light yellow stool
This type of light colored stool in adults is a signal of a more severe medical problem, such as pancreatic cancer, gallbladder and liver diseases, steatorrhea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Celiac Disease.
- Putty-colored stool
Light colored stool may appear similar to the color of clay or putty. It could be due to some kind of gallbladder disorder, malabsorption, alcoholic hepatitis, bile duct cysts and tumors, gallstones, viral hepatitis and sclerosing cholangitis.
Symptoms Associated with Light Colored Stool in Adults
Light colored stool in adults usually come with other symptoms relative to the medical condition that is causing it. Many reportedly feel nauseous, severely exhausted and suffer a loss of appetite. Jaundice is noted among those who have serious liver problems. A doctor’s visit can confirm the exact cause of having light colored stool by running several tests including routine blood work, abdominal ultrasound, tests to check the liver’s functioning, ERCP and even surgery. Once a definitive diagnosis is reached, treatment immediately starts to get the light colored stool in adults return to normal.