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Pale yellow bowel movements, are they something to worry about?

May 2014
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Practicing since : 2002
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Pale yellow bowel movements, are they something to worry about?
Posted Fri, 9 Aug 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 1 hour later
Thanks for writing in.

Stools get the color due to various changes that occur when the food passes through the small and large intestines. The yellow color of the stools is mainly from the presence of bilirubin, a degradation product of hemoglobin, which is present in red blood cells.

If your stools were pale just on one occasion and is back to its normal color the next time, then there is no need to worry.

If it is of longer duration, two things need to be considered from what you have said. Though you have mentioned pale yellow, clay colored and pale yellow stools need to be differentiated.

1. Is it clay colored stool: This can happen as a result of lack of bile due to blockage of the main bile duct. Blockage can be due to stone formation commonly.

2. Is it pale yellow stool: This may also be greasy, foul-smelling stool and is due to malabsorption of fat due to pancreatic insufficiency and other disorders of pancreas.

If it has been happening regularly, I suggest you have consultation with a gastroenterologist and get yourself further investigated by blood tests and imaging.

Hope your query is answered.
Further queries welcome.

Wishing you good health.

Dr Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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