Acolic Stools --- Top 7 Causes and
Treatments
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June 12, 2011


By Michael Chang, Contributing Columnist








Your body often gives you signals for how it is faring. If you
are tired, the yawns that seem to escape every few minutes is
letting you know that your body is feeling the sleep
deprivation. If you have a migraine issues, the throbbing pain
in your head is letting you know that something might be
wrong. And if you are producing putty-colored stools, it is a
symptom of perhaps a much more serious issue. Acolic stools,
which are pale, or clay-colored stools, are not a disease or
condition in itself; rather, it is a symptom of a much larger
problem.

The bile produced and released by the liver gives the normal
brown tint of your excrement. If, for some reason, your biliary
system—that is, the drainage system including your gallbladder,
liver, and pancreas—is affected by a blockage, disease or
condition, the result could be pale or clay-tinted stools.
Associated symptoms include jaundice, which is the yellow
discoloration of the skins and eyes, and dark urine. If these
conditions occur simultaneously, it is imperative that you see a
physician immediately. These signs are a signal from your body
of perhaps a much more serious medical condition.

Causes of Acolic Stools

Acolic stools occur as a result of blockages of bile flow from the
liver, due a number of underlying causes. In normal bowel
movements, the bile salts from the liver give the stools the dark
brown color we have come to associate with excrement;
however, if any part of the biliary system is compromised, due
to a variety of reasons, the stools that come out of your bowel
movements will be a pale, putty color.

The following are some common causes of acolic stools:
•        Alcoholic hepatitis
•        Biliary cirrhosis
•        Cancer or benign tumors
•        Gallstones
•        Cysts of the bile ducts
•        Congenital reasons

Top 7 Causes and Treatments for Acolic Stools




























If after your bowel movements, you see that your stools are
discolored—a pale, putty tint—you might be alarmed and want
to find a solution to this condition. However, the treatment to
acolic stools depends on the underlying cause of the issue.
Since acolic stools are a symptom, rather than the actual
disease, you will have to determine and diagnose the problem
before you can actually rid yourself of these discolored stools.

At times, the disease can be potentially fatal and diagnosing the
cause of these discolored stools will help you treat the
condition. Diagnosis can be done through a variety of tests,
including abdominal ultrasound, blood tests, liver function
tests, and even surgery to locate defects in the biliary tract.
Once the diagnosis reveals the underlying cause, you can find
ways to treat the condition and thereby, rid yourself of acolic
stools.

1.
Change Your Diet and Take Vitamins to Combat
Malabsorption of Fat

Sometimes, the cause of the acolic stools is a result from
malabsorption of fats and other vital nutrients in the digestive
system. The result is light stools that are both yellowish in tint
and greasy in composition.

Normal fat absorption requires the bile from the gallbladder or
liver. However, if the biliary tract is compromised, there might
be a shortage or lack of bile, resulting in acolic stools.
Consequently, a change in diet or incorporating supplements
can be prescribed. You can replace lost nutrients with
alternative food and high protein-vitamin supplements.
Moreover, taking a multi-vitamin eliminates the hassle of
ensuring adequate daily intake of nutrients. Lastly, perhaps,
taking a probiotic can help with the absorption of trace
minerals.

2.
Avoid Alcohol Intake to Relieve Alcoholic Hepatitis

Acolic stools can be a symptom of hepatitis and treating this
condition is important as its consequences can be potentially
fatal. Alcolic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that arises
due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Regarded as the
earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis can
persist and develop into cirrhosis if the same heavy intake of
alcohol continues. If these symptoms of acolic stools arise as a
result of alcoholic hepatitis, it is imperative that alcohol abuse
cease immediately so that the hepatitis can resolve itself slowly.

In addition to stopping alcohol consumption, supplemental
vitamins and minerals, such as folate and thiamine, can be
helpful in resolving the alcoholic hepatitis.

3.
Undergoing Treatment If Needed For Biliary Cirrhosis

According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
of the 72,232 hospitalizations in 1989 for chronic liver disease,
an approximate 1.8% was due to biliary cirrhosis. Biliary
cirrhosis, which is an autoimmune liver disease characterized by
the slow progressive destruction of the small bile ducts, affects
the flow of bile from the liver—thereby, producing pale, putty-
colored stools. Besides the discolored excrements, those
suffering from this condition also may endure long-term
damage to the liver tissue, although most patients only have
mild scarring, rather than true cirrhosis.

While this condition is usually not the cause of a patient’s
death, there are treatments such as Ursodeoxycholic acid, or
Urdox tablets, which can help slow the progression of the
disease.

4.
Remove Gallstones to Increase Bile Flow

Gallstones, which are solid particles formed from the bile
collected in the gallbladder, is the most common reason for bile
duct blockage. Because of these stones, the bile is unable to
pass through to the intestines, causing acolic stools. In severe
cases of gallstones, surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is
not a vital organ, can be undergone in order to clear the way
for bile to flow to the intestines.

5.
Resect Bile Duct Cysts to Resume Bile Passage

While bile duct cysts are a rare condition, accounting for a mere
1% of all benign biliary diseases, according to Current Opinions
in Gastroenterology 2009, the formation of such a cyst on the
bile duct can obstruct the flow of bile. This can consequently
result in both jaundice and acolic stools. Surgical removal of
these cysts remains the general prognosis for this condition,
primarily to prevent cyst-related complications and to reduce
risk of malignancy. After removal of these cysts, the flow of bile
will resume to normal and your acolic stools should no longer
be a problem.

6.
Treat Biliary Artresia Through Surgical Procedures

A rare congenital condition to occurs in newborn infants, biliary
atresia is the blockage or absence of the common bile duct
between the liver and the small intestines. Because of this
blockage or lack of bile duct, the flow of bile cannot occur,
resulting in both jaundice and acolic stools. According to the
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
(NDDIC), biliary atresia occurs in one about 10,000 children.

If untreated, the condition can progressive into liver failure.
Thus, upon visible symptoms, which occur after two to eight
weeks after birth, measures should be taken to treat this
condition. The only effective treatments are surgeries like the
Kasai procedure, which connects the liver to the small
intestines, or a liver transplant.

7.
Use Stent Tube Drainage to Treat Bile Duct Blocking Cancer

Sometimes the bile duct blockage is caused by cancer in the bile
duct. Because of this cancer, the bile duct is unable to pass the
bile through, resulting again acolic stools. According to
MacMillan Cancer Support, bile duct cancer occurs infrequently
with around 1000 new cases annually in the UK. While rare, it
needs to be treated if you suffer from this condition in order to
widen the duct. One particular procedure is to insert a stent,
which is a tube about as thick as a ballpoint pen refill, into the
bile duct so that it remains open, enabling the bile to drain into
the intestines.















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Changing your diet can help reduce
acolic stools