toilet paper, diarrhea medicine,

People usually pay attention to their bowel movements and may become alarmed by a change in color. Often, even a dramatic shift in stool color is not a serious problem. Anyone who has eaten beet soup and later noticed a pinkish or magenta-colored stool has experienced this. Green food coloring or occasionally even a large serving of green vegetables may impart a greenish tinge. Black poop can signal a serious problem with intestinal bleeding, which needs urgent attention. On the other hand, it could result from taking Pepto-Bismol and not be serious at all. We do think that white poop, like unexplained black poop, deserves medical attention.

What Is the Story on White Poop?

Q. The past weekend I had terrible diarrhea. At first I assumed it was a virus and after three days I started feeling a bit better. But the last two days my stool is almost white, like dried up dog poop.

I have never seen this before and would like to know what could cause eggshell-colored stool. I recently started a new blood pressure medication that seems to be causing constant gas. The drug is something like hydralazine + HCTZ.

A. White poop could be a warning signal and should always be brought promptly to a doctor’s attention. The normal brown color comes from bile, a secretion from the liver that aids in digestion.

A white or light-colored stool suggests there could be a problem with the liver, pancreas, gallbladder (which stores bile) or bile duct that carries it to the small intestine. Sometimes the resulting stool is described as clay-colored. Your new blood pressure medicine can cause diarrhea and liver inflammation. Contact your doctor right away.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Kathy

    I had always heard that a clay colored stool is something that warrants attention. I have had it happen twice and went to the doctor right away both times. I was surprised to find that there isn’t even a medical code # for this for filing insurance. The doctor didn’t seem alarmed, although he did run some blood work and it came back normal. He said it was probably something I ate, which didn’t seem like a probability.

    I am surprised now to hear about the Progresso clam chowder because that is something I was eating for several years. During those years I was also using generic ranitidine periodically for gerd, which I thought might have caused the episodes. Perhaps the combination of ranitidine and Progresso clam chowder were a sure trigger for the events, because I didn’t have it happen every single time I might have eaten the soup. I haven’t used ranitidine or eaten the Progresso soup in a long time, nor have I had a repeat of clay colored stools.

  2. Ann
    North Carolina

    When our granddaughter was about 9 years old she had very pale yellow-white formed BM’s, irritability, picky eating habits (mostly cheese) and low weight for her age. Testing found some food allergies but most significant was the diagnosis of Celiac disease. A gluten free diet under the supervision of a physician, has returned her poops to normal color, improved mood and weight into the normal range on the growth charts for her age, now 13.

  3. PK

    People…one cause that I discovered is Clam Chowder, specifically Progresso brand. I found an online forum where dozens of people at it and then the next day or two had the crap scared out of them because their poop was white.

    I went through this today, was sure I had serious problem with my liver, pancreas or gall bladder. Google “Progresso white poop” and you’ll be relieved, assuming you have eaten this just prior to the onset of your symptoms.

    • M

      Thank you. Yeah, it was a very sudden change–literally the second half of a bm was white, like there was a color line halfway through. This happened about 8 hours after I’d had some Progresso Light New England Clam Chowder. I remembered I’d had this happen once before and as best as I could remember it was the day after eating a can of progresso’s light new england clam chowder.

  4. Stel

    Can dairy consumption affect the color of my stools where some pieces come out whitish and others brown?

  5. Rz

    Hi I have been having allot of pain in my guts and had diarrhea the I started pooping white I have had my gallbladder a few years bad. I also take pain pills for my back norco’s.
    Should I call my doc about this it’s starting to go back to brown now but it was white for two days what should I do plz get back to me ASAP

  6. f, curtis

    have been taking magnesium supplement for the past 3 weeks have noticed that my bowel movements are looser and are a darker brown than normal, if this is because of the magnesium l am not worried but it seems strange that it has happened since taking the supplement.

  7. MF

    This could be C. Diff. Be sure to have a stool sample for it. And as they said do it right away if you haven’t already.

  8. Marsha C.

    My grandson has had diarrhea for 5 days. It was a buttercream color for 4 days and had a really bad smell. It turned to white today and kind of foamy. He isn’t eating much and has even thrown up several times. He will go to the doctor on Monday, but I’m concerned about the color and his not eating much.

  9. Marilyn C.

    Our toddler had white diarrhea (like cottage cheese) a few months ago which was the result of milk which curdled because of an intestinal virus. When we stopped the ingestion of milk and waited for the virus to run its course, the white poop stopped. It was nothing serious.
    Clearly the situation in the original question above was not the same and would be handled differently.

  10. Renate M.

    I like your Response and News Letters very much!
    My Question is can you take different Medications together for Expl. all in the Morning, or all in the Evening, as well as incl. Vitamins. In my Home country in Europe they divide that in Morning, Lunchtime, Afternoon and Evening.
    Thank you for your Answers in Advance!

  11. Cindy

    What are you eating? Are you taking any alkalizing supplements like magnesium or calcium? I had a week of similarly light-colored stool along with diarrhea and realized I was taking a lot of magnesium and calcium and had an overly alkaline diet with little salt or acid.
    Once I stopped the supplements and started eating more salt and acid-forming foods like eggs, chicken, beef, brown rice, etc., the diarrhea ended and my stool returned to normal. For me, my efforts to eat lots of fruits, veggies, and raw cashews and almonds had adverse effects — too alkalizing.
    Perhaps your new medication is causing the food to move too quickly through your gastrointestinal tract without enough time for your body to absorb necessary vitamins and nutrients.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.