Clay coloured stools

Hi everyone hope all is well with you all, would anyone have any idea what having light coloured stools indicate, I have googled it but not really satisfied with what's said, my gp does know but he said well you do have cirrohiss, I don't see my heptologist again until Feb 2015 and bit concerned had it for 2 months as far as I know, as I was on iron tabs for 18 months, took a chance coming off them but I heard pale stools could be serious, and low and behold forgot to tell my heptologist this month, any advice appreciated. Angse

19 Replies

  • I don't think it indicates anything more serious than the fact - as your doctor says you do have cirrhosis of the liver.

    Normal stool color should be brown, this brown color is caused by bilirubin or bile, a chemical that is produced by the breakdown of old blood cells in the liver.

    Bile along with other digestive juices are secreted into the small intestine where they begin the process of breaking down food. As pointed out above, bilirubin or bile gives your stool its brown color, however pale, yellow or clay colored stools can indicate a lack of bile.

    There are many reasons why you aren’t producing enough bile, but the most common ones suggest a blockage that is either preventing or limiting the supply of bile

    Bile is stored in the gall bladder before being released into the digestive system. When released the bile flows through tubes known as bile ducts.

    If these ducts become blocked the bile cannot be secreted and this can result in a pale stool.

    A blockage of the bile duct can be caused by:-

    an inflammation of the bile ducts


    pancreatic tumors


    An obstruction of the bile duct can also result in pressure and discomfort around the chest area. This happens when bile builds up in the gall bladder causing pressure.

    Complications with the liver such as cirrhosis can also inhibit the production of bile, so, in short the clay coloured stools could just be another symptom of your cirrhosis.

    I wouldn't be too worried about it, your iron tablets have obviously masked this before now. Of course if you are concerned about it give your consultant a bell just to get his/her more educated advice.

    All the best, Katie :)

  • Thanks Katie, my goodness where does all your knowledge come from, yes of course, cirrohiss not helping, I did read on internet that if you do have a blockage of bile duct it could be fatal, that just worried me a bit, at my last scan no gallstones were present, so that rules that out, it thanksfor advice, may speak to my hheptologist's secretary so she can ask him, anyway how is things with you, I hope you are keeping well. /Angse

  • Hubby's last ultrasound showed a possible gall stone but his hepatologist wasn't worried about it in the slightest although this could be due to the fact she knew she was sending him for his transplant assessment and he'd be loosing his gall bladder anyway when the transplant happens.

    As regards my knowledge, I just do research when someone poses a question (it's good to have a hobby! LOL!!) - in no way would I claim to be an expert or the font of all knowledge, I am just answering from experience & learned knowledge along our journey.

    I would always urge anyone worried about anything or any change in symptoms that they are not sure of to run it past their own doctor or specialist - it's no good sitting at home fretting and worrying about something which may be nothing at all or may indeed be something which specialist would be concerned about especially when your next appointment isn't for such a long time.

    Hubby and I are just being patient, waiting for that all important phone call. He's very down at present and very exhausted, he seems to be sleeping during the day a lot more - not quite sure if that's 100% due to the liver or the worry/stress/mental toll. It is hard to motivate him when he's so tired but I do try, urged him out for a much needed hair cut earlier. We are back at the transplant clinic in Edinburgh on 9th September so he'll get bloods done, see consultant and see the dietician who should be happy with him as he's managed to put on a stone since he had his embolization operation - doctors want him to have put as much on as possible so he has some reserves for when he has the hoped for transplant.

    Anyway we are doing ok, check with your consultants secretary as you say and hopefully it'll turn out to be more than likely "just one of those things that go along with cirrhosis". Your iron tablets and lovely colouration they'd have given your stools will have masked this previously. It's one of the conversations me and hubby have often regarding his 'regularity' and the 'colour' owing to his big bleed showing in his toileting before he vomitted blood and before his diagnosis.

    Katie :) xx

  • So sorry Katie your husband not to well at present, it really can take its toll escepically as he has been so Ill he has been through a lot, you to having to watch him being unwell like this, don't know which is worse being unwell yourself or watching a loved one go through it, yes your right I do my own research to as things come up but sometimes google can come up with some scary stuff, so I thought why do I do it, I should have gone to my friends on British liver trust and find out properly, people who may have already gone through it, well I had better take an iron pill now, I did take a risk not taking it, thank goodness no bleeds. Angse

  • Hi there just been browsing through the site (I have pbc) and saw your post. I hope all goes well for your husband and am sending love and prayers for you both.

  • Thanks so much Greensphene, all the best to you also. :)

    Katie xx

  • Also Katie

    Sorry to be nuisance, but I just saw a previous post of yours, to say your husband was on ESA and was awaiting pip assement, could you tell me when you have time how he got on, as since my husband died last august 2013, I have had to go on ESA and sending in doctors certificates every three months, anyway I also applied for pip as my niece told me I should be entitled to it, so I applied 7 months ago, was told I could wait up to a year, I rang DWP and they said they would contact them and call me back, he did and said no I may have to wait that long as they have back log to sort out, then 3 days later received letter for appointment with Atos for 12 September, I called back DWP for another reason, and was told this appointment with Atos was to see if I could receive more money from ESA and go into support group, but I would still have to have another appointment with Atos for PIP so I have to have 2 I have heard they are a nightmare, I have sent Atos copies of all letters from hospital and everything that was done, so was just wondering if they are as bad as everyone says, sorry this has gone on a bit Angse

  • Hi Angse, no worries. Will send you a private message as regards benefits and assessment. Just going to type it now.

    Katie :)

  • Thanks Katie. Angse I better go shopping otherwise no dinner tonight haha

  • chirrosis of the liver does cause clay coloured stools this is quite normal for people with liver disease,i have chirrosis of the liver for four years now and my stools are clay coloured.i wouldn't worry/

  • I would get in touch with your hepatologist a.s.a.p. I was diagnosed with AIH and Cirrhosis 2012, prescription drug induced!!! The symptoms that finally got me referred were 24/7 acid reflux and pale stools. MaggieK

  • Thanks I will get some answers as will contact hospital for advice thank you hope you are well Angse

  • Clay coloured stools and low iron can be symptoms of coeliac. Please get tested, blood test initially, then endoscopy to confirm.

  • Thank you did not think of coeliac, my iron level is fine, but I have to take iron indefinitely as had massive GI bleed last year, still have varices, so that's a precaution, but will bring that up as well thank you hope you well. Angse

  • How is your urine?

  • How is your urine?

  • Hi urine fine really clear. Angse

  • I have the light colored stool also feeling very stupid in the head and very tired..this came all of a sudden..glad it's no big deal..

  • I have them every once in awhile. Clearly they do not look healthy. Mine just go away. I think its when my liver is under more stress that the stools turn clay color.

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