Some people take for granted looking at the color and characteristic of their stools. This may seem disgusting for some but it can be crucial especially if the color or characteristic turns out to be abnormal. When children pass pale stools, there are different reasons to consider and different types of treatments to choose from.
Stools are usually in the shade of brown or some other color but never white. This characteristic color of stools is often attributed to bile salts, which are produced in the liver. Bile salts are important for digestion of fats and often excreted in the stools, giving them the characteristic color. Any factor, which may obstruct the production of bile in the liver or release of bile from the gall bladder, can result in pale colored stools. Often pale colored stools are considered to be an important sign, indicative of jaundice.
Occasionally pale colored stools can also be a result of vitamin and nutritional deficiency is also frequently observed in children suffering from protein energy malnutrition.
Reasons For Pale Loose Stools In Children
Pale stools are one thing, but pale and loose stools are a whole other matter.
- Inability of fat absorption in the small intestine as well as impaired bile flow can cause pale stools.
- Pale, loose stools are caused when the unabsorbed fats reaches the colon which then irritates it causing the diarrhea.
- In steatorrhea, the child will produce loose, white, greasy, sticky, floating, foamy and smelly stools after a high fat meal.
- Other causes of pale and loose stools in children include: acute or chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, liver or biliary duct disease, severe inflammation of the small intestine, and candida overgrowth in the large intestine.
Many conditions and diseases can cause pale colored stools. These include:
- Bile duct cysts, which can obstruct the release of bile salts from the gall bladder into the intestines.
- Viral hepatitis, which can impact the ability of the liver to produce bile salts.
- Malabsorption, often resulting in steatorrhea.
- Biliary atresia is a congenital disorder, characterized by absence of the bile duct or obstruction to the bile duct.
- Medications such as barium enema or excessive intake of antacids can also manifest in the form of pale colored stools.
Treatment For Loose And Pale Colored Stools In Children
Treatment for pale colored stools in children varies depending on the underlying cause identified. A thorough evaluation may be essential however here are some dietary suggestions,
- Avoid refined and processed foods. Avoid oily and starchy foods.
- Increase the intake of easily digestible foods like boiled vegetables, steamed rice, etc.
- Increase intake of fresh fruit juices which are loaded with essential vitamins and can hasten the recovery of the liver and improve the intestines digestive abilities.
- Homeopathic drugs like Lycopodium and Chalidonium are considered useful for natural removal of bile stones.
- Surgical intervention may be required in congenital disorders like biliary atrasia.