The acolia or pale stools are not normal, we often indicate problems in the biliary system which consists of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas.
Normal stools are generally brown in color, and vary in hue due to diet. Its characteristic brown color is due to bile salts, which are a digestive fluid produced in the liver and later reserved in the gallbladder.
Bile is released into the small intestine during digestion to help digest food, but if the liver is not producing enough bile salts or the flow is blocked in the ducts that carry it, your stools may change color for lack of bilirubin and turn pale or clay-colored.
The color change in the stool can give us information about the digestive tract and help detect disease. It is important that you consult with your doctor if you have pale stools, in this article we will know some of the most frequent causes that cause stools with white stools.
Medical causes that can cause white stools
The hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver primarily due to the hepatitis A, B or C, excessive alcohol intake or certain drugs among other causes. One of its characteristic symptoms is white stools.
Certain medications, such as NSAIDs or some antibiotics, can cause drug-induced hepatitis. Once the medication is discontinued, the acholia generally disappears within a few weeks.
Hepatitis can lead to liver failure, especially if it is caused by the hepatitis C virus which can be fatal and in severe cases require a liver transplant.
If your doctor diagnoses you with hepatitis, he will decide the best treatment for you, depending on the cause.
The gallstones or litos commonly known as stones, are solid deposits of hardened bile salts found in the gallbladder or bile ducts and block the flow of bile.
There are non-surgical treatments that can dissolve gallstones, but when they are large or the drug is not effective, surgery is necessary.
Primary biliary cirrhosis
It is the inflammation of the bile ducts in the liver, which causes the blockage of the flow of bile salts to the intestines.
Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease that gradually destroys the bile ducts within the liver, spreads to form scar tissue throughout the organ, and can eventually lead to liver failure or liver cirrhosis.
It mainly affects women and presents with other signs of cholestasis, such as itching and jaundice (yellow skin and mucous membranes). Its main treatment is ursodeoxycholic acid to delay liver damage, complications are treated as the disease progresses, but when the disease has progressed, the best treatment is liver transplantation.
Cancer, tumors, or cysts in the biliary system
Both benign and malignant tumors in the biliary system cause disturbances in the flow of bile and can also inflame the liver.
In the case of cysts, some smaller ones may disappear without treatment, but when they persist over time and are large, surgery is necessary.
If the tumor is malignant in addition to the surgical procedure to remove it, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be necessary.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It is common for it to be located in the head of the pancreas and its symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, itching, dark urine and white stools.
It consists of the narrowing of the bile ducts, which can be caused by previous surgeries, such as the removal of the gallbladder or other causes such as cancer, sclerosing cholangitis, pancreatitis.
The alteration in the flow of bile is the cause of the appearance of white stools, one of the treatments to correct this condition is by surgery and consists of placing a stent, which is a small tubular device that the surgeon placed inside the ducts to keep them open.
White stools in children
In children, white stools are a cause for concern and you should always consult with the treating doctor. They can be caused by various causes such as exclusive diets with milk, the recent use of barium sulfate or barium enema, and in more serious cases congenital problems of the biliary system.
Among congenital problems, biliary atresia must be ruled out in every newborn who presents progressive jaundice, dark urine and acholia during the first two weeks of life, since not diagnosing it in a timely manner can have fatal consequences.
However, according to a published study, using data from the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network, there is no universal consensus on the steps that should be taken in the diagnostic evaluation of these newborns to minimize surgical procedures.
If the reason for the pale stools is a food or medicine, eliminating it will solve the problem, but if the cause is another, the specialist will indicate the appropriate treatment.
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