Feces are normally brown. This is due to the fact that, together with the spent substances, a small amount of bile is excreted through the intestines. The brown enzyme contained in it, oxidizing in the colon, gives feces a characteristic shade. If the function of production and withdrawal of bile acids is impaired, feces become discolored.
Parents should not only carefully monitor the nutrition and weight of the child, but also evaluate the appearance of his bowel movements. White feces in children are often a sign of dehydration, obstruction of the biliary tract, inflammation or pathology of the digestive system. Faced with a similar phenomenon, it is necessary to determine the cause and degree of danger of such changes.
In a healthy child, the bowel movements should be light yellow or brown. Their color and texture can be influenced by different factors:
- sleep and wakefulness.
For example, in newborns, gut-like feces of a yellowish and even “apricot” color are considered normal. But after milk or an artificial mixture with a high calcium content, the stool can be light, thick, viscous, like clay.
In children at 2 years old, the color of feces will change depending on the foods they eat during the day: from dairy food, feces will be light yellow, from meat - dark brown.
Herbal products also give feces a characteristic shade:
- beets - red
- carrots - orange,
- coffee, blackcurrant, blueberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries - from saturated brown to black.
In this case, a change in stool color occurs without pain and any symptoms from the digestive system.
With a change in the color of feces in the crumbs, it is worth analyzing not only food, but also medicines that he has been taking recently. Pharmacological medicines and herbal medicines can also change the color of children's bowel movements:
- bismuth preparations, which are prescribed for children from 6 years old, give feces black color,
- iron-containing medicines - green-black,
- vitamins, anti-TB drugs and some types of antibiotics - gray-white.
Often the cause of a change in stool color is the pathological processes that occur inside the child's body. Therefore, if the baby's bowel movements become colorless or gray-white with a greasy sheen (fat feces), changes in his behavior and general condition are observed, parents need to inform their child's doctor about this. Such changes in children 2-10 years old can be a sign of serious illness.
What makes whitish bowel movements stand out?
In children of different ages, white poop signals about health problems. Sterkobilin gives the habitual brown color to the stool. The development of any pathology causes a malfunction in the body, and the production of this substance decreases. If, in addition to the changed color of bowel movements, no signs of the disease are observed, parents should pay attention to the urine of the child. With a shade that remains in the same tonality, it is recommended to observe the general well-being of the baby.
If the baby defecated white products defecation, it is important to remember what he ate the day before. In infants, changes in stool depend on milk obtained from the mother’s body and the woman’s diet. The predominance of fermented milk products makes baby stool colorless. In the “artificer” kid, the shade of the poop may change due to the recent transition to a new mixture.
In children with access to a common table, white stools appear due to the abuse of calcined or carbohydrate foods. For example, a large portion of cottage cheese and sour cream contributes to the formation of a bleached and thicker viscous stool.
One of the safest reasons for the secretion of light defecation products is teething. The relationship between the two events is not fully understood, but parents often note a combination of such phenomena. It is not necessary to undertake anything, it is only important to observe the condition of the baby and inform the pediatrician.
Also, parents should know that white feces in a child sometimes provokes medication:
- antimycotics - Griseofulvin,
- Paracetamol in large doses,
- antibiotics - Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Augmentin,
- Aspirin and preparations with acetylsalicylic acid,
- anti-inflammatory non-steroids - Nimesulide, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac,
- medicines against epilepsy - Dipromal, Aceipiprol, Leptilan, Encorat, etc.
White fecal disease
Consider why white feces can still be released. If fecal changes are not related to nutrition or treatment, the violation is due to gastrointestinal dysfunction. Defecation is affected by problems of the biliary system, intestines and liver. Thus, the white color of feces can be a symptom of various diseases.
- Rotavirus infection. The clarified stool is allocated in the form of diarrhea, the child opens vomiting and the temperature rises. First, the stool turns yellow, but on the 2nd day it resembles clay. Additionally, a picture of ARI is drawn - headache, sore throat, runny nose, cough, poor appetite.
- Dysbacteriosis The white stool liquefies, and green mucous inclusions are visible in the masses. The feces are frothy and foul-smelling. The child complains of abdominal pain, often farts, itches due to skin rashes.
- Pancreatitis The inflammatory process in the pancreas makes itself felt not only with whitish feces, but also with pain near the navel or in the stomach on the right. Nausea, vomiting, thirst, temperature jumps require the attention of parents and the advice of a gastroenterologist.
- Whipple's disease is a rare pathology in children. It is manifested by an increase in stool up to 10 p. per day, the release of light gray feces, iron deficiency anemia. The child's lymph nodes become inflamed, the temperature rises.
- Hepatitis. A dangerous disease will be diagnosed if, for several days in a row, defecation products stand out in a light gray hue and urine becomes too dark. The yellowness of the skin appears later.
What should alert parents?
If the child is emptied by colorless masses, parents should track additional deviations:
- losing weight baby
- lack of appetite,
- severe bloating,
- discolored urine
- complaints of the baby about abdominal pain,
- yellowing of the skin and eye sclera.
The combination of colorless feces with any of these conditions indicates the need to call an ambulance. Serious diseases such as pancreatitis, hepatitis, biliary dyskinesia occur with such disorders.
How to treat children with white bowel movements
If the pediatrician fails to establish the root cause of the deviation, the child is sent for additional examination by an infectious disease specialist or gastroenterologist. In the case of diagnosis of hepatitis, the patient is hospitalized and treated with anti-inflammatory and antiviral drugs (Ribavirin, Interferon-alpha). After treatment for the prevention of relapse, a small patient is taken into account and periodically sent for examination.
If the excretion of colorless feces is associated with anomalies of the bile ducts, the therapeutic course is composed of antimicrobial and painkillers, antibiotics and vitamins.
The pancreas, spoiling the color of the stool, is supported with medicines of different groups:
- Lightened feces cannot be ignored. If a newborn or a one-year-old baby allocates it often, the baby should be examined for dysbiosis. In children under 12 months of age, instability of the intestinal microflora is common.
- Watch what and how the child eats at the family table. At 2 years old, children actively imitate adults, so they can eat the wrong product or oversaturated with their favorite dairy products.
If the child is emptied with white feces for more than 5 days, take him to the doctor even in the absence of other disorders. Remember that in serious pathologies, mild situations develop out of time lost.
When the excitement is redundant
Numerous factors can influence the shade of bowel movements in children, sometimes they are completely harmless, sometimes very dangerous. In some situations, parents can not worry, children are unlikely to have serious changes in the body when white bowel movements are not accompanied by a number of additional symptoms:
- abdominal pain,
- the appearance of diarrhea,
- fever and others.
Consider the most common and completely harmless reasons, which are the answer to the question why the baby's bowel movements got a strange shade:
- Color may change if a large percentage of products containing milk are on the kids menu. This can be kefir, light varieties of cereals, cooked in milk, sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese.
- White stool can be caused by taking certain pharmaceuticals - for example, Aspirin.
- In infants, feces brighten when transferred to milk complementary foods or when a new mixture is introduced into the menu.
If the stool in children changes as a result of the above reasons, it is enough to adjust the diet or stop taking medications so that everything goes back on track.
Another reason that first comes to parents' mind when white feces appear in children is hepatitis. Indeed, with jaundice, bowel movements acquire a very light shade. However, urine, usually light yellow, begins to resemble a dark beer. If such a change is not observed, we are talking about a completely different reason.
Change in stool color in newborns
White feces in infants are much more common than in older children. The reason lies in the nutrition of the mother - it is she who directly affects the external characteristics of the baby's feces. If we talk about the norm, the feces of a baby are like a yellow-brown gruel, odorless. Feces of white color are formed in the presence of supplementation with dry mixtures. To make sure that this is not the effect of any disease is simple - after a few days everything comes back to normal.
If breastfeeding takes place, the color of feces changes in accordance with the diet of the nursing mother. And, again, such changes pass quickly, at most after a day. Another influencing factor indicating why stool coloration changes is teething. At this time, a weakening of the immune system is observed, the body is more susceptible to the invasion of pathogenic organisms that cause such changes.
The influencing cause can be antibiotics taken by the child for a long time. The appearance of white feces indicates dysbiosis and the need for measures to restore microflora. However, other phenomena can also be the cause of dysbiosis, while the stool can be colored differently, but the consistency passes either into a very liquid or very solid form, in children there is either diarrhea or constipation. At the same time, pus, mucus can be present in the feces, its smell becomes unpleasant, putrid. Also, children have bloating. Dysbacteriosis in infants is the most common pathology of the digestive system.
If rotavirus infection is observed in children, light-colored feces represent a secondary symptom of pathology. The main signs are:
- the appearance of vomiting.
The main danger in this case is dehydration, you will need to give the baby a saline solution to restore balance and go to the doctor for tests.
Pancreas problems in newborns are extremely rare. Usually, the organ’s functionality is impaired since the birth of a child, with an increase in the iron diet it ceases to cope with the load and cannot produce the required enzymes.
Hence the discolored feces, as well as:
- pain in the lower abdomen,
- the appearance of nausea
- intense thirst.
Whatever the reasons that cause white feces in an infant, the first action of parents is to contact a specialist and conduct an examination, which will guarantee the correct treatment.
Stool color changes in children older than a year
The causes of the appearance of light feces and listed below are mainly characteristic of children older than 12 months. However, infants can also be susceptible to these pathologies.
Infectious pathologies occur at different ages, for babies this is the most common phenomenon.
In addition to rotavirus infection, it can be influenza, in addition to light or grayish feces, there is:
- nausea turning into vomiting
- complete loss of appetite and other symptoms.
Feces change during the first days under the influence of infection or as a result of the influence of pharmaceuticals used for treatment.
If the child has stagnation of bile, the enzyme contained in it is not excreted and stains the feces. Lightening feces is observed with obstruction of the gallbladder, twisting or bending. Such conditions require immediate treatment.
Whipple disease can cause discoloration of the feces. If a child develops this pathology, in addition to changes in the color of feces, their foamy liquid consistency is noticed. The frequency of emptying reaches ten or more times, the smell of feces is sharp and unpleasant.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons for changing feces, some of them are completely harmless and go away on their own. But if other, more disturbing symptoms join the color change, you should immediately show the baby to your doctor.
Danger to the child
As soon as mom noticed that the feces turned white, you need to track the condition of the baby. Should alert:
- weight loss,
- temperature increase
- abdominal pain,
- yellowing of the skin or sclera of the eyes,
- discoloration of urine.
The combination of at least one of the listed symptoms is a reason for a visit or a call to the attending physician. Hepatitis, a violation of the removal of bile and other serious conditions can cause a similar pathology.
What to do
If, after an initial examination and questioning, the pediatrician cannot determine the reason why the child has white stool, the small patient is referred for further examination by a gastroenterologist or infectious disease specialist. Depending on the identified disease, appropriate treatment is prescribed.
With hepatitis, the baby is placed in a hospital, prescribing a course of antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs (Interferon Alfa, Ribavirin). For problems with bile ducts, antibiotics, painkillers, antimicrobials, and vitamin complexes are prescribed. The treatment of the pancreas is complex, includes antispasmodics, antibiotics, vitamins, enzymes, anti-inflammatory, sedative and choleretic drugs.
Do not ignore this symptom. Dysbacteriosis can discolor stools - a common occurrence in children up to a year when the microflora is still unstable. In any case, it is important not to miss the moment when the pathology can be stopped without the use of heavy drugs.
White diarrhea in a child can be prevented by the usual preventive measures. It is necessary to monitor proper nutrition. After two years, the baby, imitating adults, can eat a piece of fried chicken from his father’s plate, be carried away by fatty dairy products (for example, homemade cream). Better not to allow this.
It is important to ensure the baby a healthy lifestyle, walk more in the fresh air, and not in children's entertainment centers. It is easier to catch rotavirus in the maze or on the trampoline, and not in the park or in the forest.
Healthy baby chair
For the sake of truth, it must be said that the color of feces in newborns is very changeable, as is its consistency. The greenish, yellowish and even reddish color of the feces is quite normal. The mushy consistency can be changed to a thicker and harder one. Such changes in stool are primarily associated with the nutrition of the child. An increase in the content of products with characteristic color features (green broccoli, orange carrots, yellow pumpkin) also affects the color of feces.
Causes of white feces
White feces in a child are not always the result of any diseases of the internal organs. The use of cottage cheese and other fermented milk products with a high content of calcium in a large volume, including an adapted infant formula, can make feces light.
We list the main causes of the appearance of light feces in a child:
- Dysbacteriosis is the main reason for the appearance of white feces in children. A child in 1 year may have white feces just because of dysbiosis. The intestinal microflora is still very vulnerable and easily exposed to harmful bacteria that upset its natural balance. Intestinal imbalance is expressed in the pungent smell of bowel movements. White feces in a child at 2 years old is also likely due to dysbiosis. Symptoms of intestinal dysfunction include abdominal pain, fever, and a rash.
- Rotavirus infection. White feces in a child are observed during periods of illness of the body with the Rotavirus virus, which is accompanied by vomiting, fever. The stool consistency is clay-like during this period, and the most common form is diarrhea. The feces of a newborn baby and a child at 2 years old are equally likely to become white due to rotavirus infection.
- Pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis) is a disease unusual for such a young generation, but its probability cannot be completely ruled out, since cases with this disease were still reported in children at 3 years old. Disorders in the pancreas can be observed at earlier stages (from birth), because the organs are not yet formed and a large load on the body can lead to a malfunction of one or another organ. Typical signs of pancreatitis are pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.
- Whipple's disease. A rather rare disease begins to actively progress when the child is 3 or 4 years old. The disease is accompanied by frequent bowel movements, while the stool is liquid, foamy. Light stool has a distinctive pungent unpleasant odor.
- Gallbladder problems. The bile contained in the body stains the feces brown. Violation of the gallbladder (bending, obstruction or kinking) leads to the fact that the feces get a whitish color. There is a version that in a child under the age of 5, the appearance of light feces is possible due to spasms in the gallbladder. With age, such troubles go away.
- Hepatitis is the disease that most scares parents when they see light feces in their baby. The disease is accompanied not only by a change in feces, but also affects other organs. Urine becomes dark and a pungent odor appears. The presence of such symptoms obliges parents to take the child for a consultation with a specialist for testing, so that it is possible to establish a true diagnosis.
These are the main reasons for the appearance of light feces in children of different ages.
What stool is abnormal?
White feces in an infant or an older baby is not always a pathology. And in order to understand at what point you should worry, you must first establish the norms.
In children of one year old, the color of feces varies from sand to brown every day, especially if they are breast-fed and the mother changes her diet. In children on artificial nutrition, the color of feces varies from beige to yellow, and when they begin to introduce complementary foods, the stool becomes brown or light brown.
According to the consistency, the stool is normally initially liquid, after which it becomes mushy, then as clay and more and more with age it takes on the form of a shaped poop. When a child is fully given adult nutrition, the feces become dense and practically do not change in consistency and color.
If the diet is dominated by blueberries, eggplant then the feces will be dark, if vegetables, then it can become pale or greenish, and yellow feces will be dominated by meat and other protein products in the diet.
The chair of a baby up to 3 years old is very changeable and a caring mother should carefully monitor the diet of her child in order to note what could cause a change in the color of feces.
What affects the color of feces?
Discolored or any other stool other than normal does not appear just like that. There are reasons for everything. It should start with the fact that the color of the stool is responsible for the enzyme of the gallbladder sterkobelin, due to its lack, the poop in the child whitens. Therefore, the main reason for the color change of feces to light is the malfunction of the gallbladder.
Factors affecting the color of the poop in a child of all ages:
- Foods for babies - artificial or natural nutrition.
- Taking medication.
- Digestive system diseases.
- Viral diseases.
- Imbalance in the intestinal microflora.
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Causes of white feces
At 9 months, at 2 years old, at 4, 5 years old, mother will always worry if the child begins to change with stool, as this is often an indicator of the pathology of the digestive system. A feces of a light color and completely terrifies parents, since the first thing they think is hepatitis.
Almost always, the reason for varying the color of the stool is a change in diet, but if parents are sure that nothing was given to the child, then other options can be considered.
White poop in children can appear for such reasons:
- Introducing calcium-rich foods into a baby’s diet. Cottage cheese, milk, sour cream, yogurts - all these products can make white baby poop, when consumed in unlimited quantities.
- Intestinal dysbiosis in children under 7 years of age is not uncommon. Further, it appears less frequently, since the digestive system is already fully adapted to many products, and it is more difficult to upset the balance of microflora. But up to seven years, the work of the digestive tract and the immune system is established, and therefore dysbiosis can easily develop against the background of any disease and a symptom of this will be a change in color and consistency of feces. First, the child goes to the toilet with white poop, after which diarrhea begins, abdominal pain and malaise appear.
- Pancreatitis and other inflammatory processes in the pancreas are rare for children, but they also occur. Malfunctions in the work of this gland lead to incomplete or incorrect digestion of food, as a result of which the child may develop white stool.
- Rotavirus infection in children is the most common cause of white poop. Along the way, other symptoms of the disease appear - vomiting and fever, dehydration.
- Whipple's disease - most often diagnosed in children aged three years and manifests itself in the form of a light foamy feces with a fetid odor. Defecations in the baby are constantly becoming more frequent, which leads to the rapid development of dysbiosis.
- Pathologies in the work of the gallbladder and its ducts can lead to the formation of white feces in a child. If stercobelin does not enter the intestine or passes in insufficient quantities, then the stool will not be able to stain in the usual brown color.
- Hepatitis is a disease that scares all parents. A white turd can appear in a child for this reason, but it is too early to panic. You should carefully examine the skin and mucous membranes of the baby, if they are not yellow, then there is nothing to worry about.
- Medicines of certain groups can cause discoloration and consistency of the stool. So tetracycline drugs, NSAIDs, antimycotics, drugs against epilepsy have a side effect - staining the poop in white.
It is necessary to monitor the condition of the child and respond quickly if it changes for the worse.
When to sound the alarm?
If the child is pooping with white feces, then you should not worry right away. A couple of days you need to follow the nature of the chair. If he gradually returns to normal, then the failure was temporary associated with the baby's nutrition.
But if such symptoms appear, then you urgently need to run to the doctor and do something:
- The baby has a stomach ache, swollen.
- Do not exhaust gases.
- Nausea appears.
- Some time after the stool is discolored, vomiting begins.
- The sclera of the eyes, the mucous membranes of the mouth and the skin began to acquire a yellow tint.
- Body temperature has risen.
- Dehydration began, and the baby began to quickly lose weight (especially for infants).
- The child is lethargic, tired, refuses food and favorite games.
- Urine changed in color - it became brown or white, clouding and sediment appeared.
How to understand the reason?
If the problem is not in the baby’s diet, then parents should immediately find out why the feces became white.
A comprehensive examination will help establish the cause, including:
- Analysis of urine.
- Fecal analysis.
- X-ray of the intestines.
- Ultrasound of all abdominal organs.
- Clinical and biochemical blood test.
- Instrumental research on the recommendation of a doctor.
Which doctor is treating?
To begin the treatment of the disease, you need to diagnose it. Only a specialized specialist can do this. A child of any age who has developed white feces should be shown to a general practitioner. He will decide what to do next and can refer the baby for a consultation with an endocrinologist, gastroenterologist, infectious disease specialist or immunologist.
Unpleasant flatulence (gas emission) and bloating due to parasites, but if you drink 3% solution before bedtime.
The doctor will establish the disease and the cause of its occurrence in order to tell parents how to protect the child from such bad weather in the future. The course of treatment will be selected individually depending on the established pathology and age of the child.
White feces in a child is a symptom, but what? This is what parents will have to figure out together with the doctors. If white poop appeared due to nutrition, then it’s just worth bringing the baby's diet back to normal, and if the reason lies elsewhere, and the child has a serious digestive tract disease, then medication can’t do without.
Even advanced constipation and flatulence can be cured at home, without diets and hospitals. Just remember to drink once a day.
Gastroenterologist practitioner. Work experience - 9 years in a private clinic. If you have not found the answer to your question - ask the author!
If the problem occurs in a child under 1 year old
White lumps in feces in infants often indicate a change in habitual nutrition. The chair of the crumbs depends on the diet of the mother and baby. If lactic acid products prevail in the mother’s menu, then there is nothing surprising in the fact that the stool became whitish. Even the "artificer" is sensitive to the new milk mixture.
Know! Any change in stool in a baby depends on the products received and the composition of breast milk. Therefore, mother should not immediately think that the white shade of feces is caused by hepatitis or another dangerous infection.
Carefully observe the baby. An active baby with a normal body temperature, without yellowish mucous membranes of the eye proteins is the first sign of health. White feces in infants most often indicate an excess of calcified food and carbohydrates. Even a regular serving of cottage cheese with sour cream for an older child can form discolored stools.
You need to know that in the feces of the newborn there may be light discharge from the effects of the drugs that the woman in labor took. However, completely white bowel movements indicate impaired bile excretion. To clarify the reasons, biochemical blood tests for AST, ALT, bilirubin, amylase will be required. Analysis of urine for bile pigments will eliminate pancreatic disorders. Parents should be alert for such concomitant symptoms:
- Losing weight baby
- discolored urine
- yellow shade of skin and eye proteins,
- stomach pain
- lack of appetite.
Colorless bowel movements are characteristic of biliary dyskinesia, pancreatitis, and hepatitis.
White lumps in the feces of the baby are not a reason to panic. Consultation of a qualified specialist and conducting the necessary studies will help to accurately identify the cause of stool coloration. In the absence of a serious illness, the stool of a newborn will soon normalize and become light brown.
If white feces are observed in children older than 1 year
Why does the child have white stool - only the doctor will say for sure. However, parents should be aware of the factors that influence stool coloration. It:
- taking medication
- lactic acid diet.
When whitish feces are observed for more than 5 days, you need to see a doctor. A two-year-old baby, already accustomed to the common table, can be oversaturated with dairy dishes or eat an unsuitable product. Then the color of feces will quickly recover after a couple of days when changing the diet.
On a note! With an infection without medical attention, the streaks in the feces will not disappear.
The use of drugs also has a direct effect on the shade of bowel movements. White feces in a child are observed from taking such medications:
- antimycotics (griseofulvin),
- anti-inflammatory drugs (Tetracycline, Augmentin, Doxycycline),
- antiepileptic drugs (Aceipiprol, Dipromal, Encorat).
When using the above medicines, the child becomes very light stool. In this case, it is necessary to consult with the doctor who prescribed the medication.
The defecation process is directly affected by dysfunction of the stomach, intestines, liver or pancreas. To normalize the pancreas, the doctor prescribes treatment with choleretic drugs, sedatives and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Parents should not ignore the white stool in the child. It is necessary to examine the baby for dysbiosis and infection. Unstable intestinal microflora is a very common phenomenon. Dysbacteriosis often provokes bowel movements with white lumps. The treatment prescribed by a specialist and diet will help cope with the disease. It is important to eliminate the oversaturation of the diet with dairy products and completely abandon fatty foods and fried foods. It is especially often diagnosed with dysbiosis in young children under 3 years old. Do not miss the precious time of drug therapy. In the absence of treatment, abnormalities in the digestive tract can develop into a serious pathology.
Parents must remember! White lumps in the stool indicate that there is a problem in the child's body. It can be determined as accurately as possible only with the help of appropriate analyzes and studies.
Laboratory research methods will show a clear picture of the intestinal and stomach microflora.
During treatment, the stool gradually stabilizes. As soon as the baby feels better, the symptoms of the disease disappear. A properly balanced diet will help support the work of the digestive tract and other internal organs. The diet will provide an easy process of digesting food and forming feces of the desired structure. Allowed foods will help you get on the path to recovery faster. The entire treatment process must be controlled by a doctor. In especially difficult situations, the child must be treated in a hospital.