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Stool Color, Changes in Color, Texture, and Form

Light-colored white or clay-colored stools

White-or clay colored stool are often seen with diseases of the liver or bile ducts. It also may be caused by pancreatic cancer that blocks the bile ducts. Lack of bile causes stool to lose its brown color and leaves it appearing pale.

Maroon stools

Maroon colored stools are often due to bleeding in the GI tract. The source of bleeding for red stools is the upper GI tract (esophagus, stomach, duodenum), while the colon is the source for bright red blood. Maroon stools, which is caused by partial digestion of the blood in the intestine often arises from the small intestine (jejunum, ileum) and proximal colon, but the color also depends in part on how rapidly the blood travels through the intestines. The faster the stool moves through the GI tract, the brighter red the color. This can be an emergency situation.

In children with intussusception, where one portion or the intestine telescopes into another part, causing a temporary obstruction, stools may be described as currant jelly in color and consistency.

Reviewed on 6/28/2017

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