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Child has white stools, constipation. Could probiotics or holistic health remedy be causing this?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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Yes. I have a three year old son who returns home after his weekend visits with his father and his stools are white. This has happened 6 times in the past six months. I did take a stool sample into my pediatrician, but they forgot about it the last time and didn't test it. They had put it in their fridge as it was 4:00. He is going again this weekend and I'm a little worried as his sister will be there again. She is an acupuncturist and has strong beliefs in holistic medicine. He has struggled with constipation, but if he is fed a fiber XXXXXXX diet does fine on his own with his bowel movements. I am concerned about what they may be giving him. The last time I asked my ex about this, he told me he had no idea why his stools would be white. Could probiotics or some holistic health remedy be causing this? And is it cause for concern? Thanks!
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 4 hours later
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.

I can understand your concern for your child. Pale or white stool may result as an indicator that the child is not being supplied with all the proper vitamins and minerals. The other possibility is of malabsorption syndrome and post gastrointestinal viral infections. Probiotics and holistic treatment should not cause this.

Two other important causes which should be ruled out are:

1)     Liver diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, can cause white stool.

2)     Sometimes the problem lies not in the liver but in the tube (duct) that delivers the bile to the intestines. This tube can be squeezed shut or blocked like by a tumor or a gallstone which prevents the bile from entering the intestines.

During the digestive process, Bile is excreted into the small intestine. This liquid is dark in color and is what gives normal stool its brown color. If stool is white, then this bile is not reaching the stool either because it is not being made by the liver or because something is blocking it from getting to the small intestine.

If the symptom of white stool persists then you should consult a physician and get your son’s liver enzymes along with a CT scan liver and gall bladder done. He should also get a stool test done.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.




Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Child has white stools, constipation. Could probiotics or holistic health remedy be causing this? 4 hours later
Why is this only happening after his weekend visits with his father? His stool returns to the normal color within a day. Could it have something to do with the stress that is being put on his body by having to go with his father? He is very upset about going and has been since he was 18 months old.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 20 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for writing back to me.

It is strange that the stool color returns to normal after one day. Stress will not cause such sudden change of stool color from white to yellow. One cause for this change of stool color could be intermittent blockage of the bile duct which when opens up can cause yellowing of stools again. Get his bile duct and gall bladder evaluated by getting an ultrasound abdomen done.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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