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What are some causes of pale stools?

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Quick Answer

Some causes of pale stools include alcoholic hepatitis, gallstones and sclerosing cholangitis, according to Healthline. Problems with the drainage of the biliary system inhibit bile flow and result in pale stools.

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Full Answer

Alcoholic hepatitis occurs when excess alcohol intake causes acute or chronic liver inflammation, notes the Institute of Human Virology. The disease causes malnutrition due to malabsorption and reduced appetite triggered by alcohol intake, which can lead to serious complications such as alcoholic encephalopathy and portal hypertension. Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include jaundice, fever and abdominal swelling.

Gallstones are hard deposits in the gallbladder that can form when excess cholesterol occurs in bile, explains Healthline. Other causes for gallstone formation include excess bilirubin and overly concentrated bile. People who are diabetic or have liver cirrhosis are more at risk for developing gallstones. In addition to causing pale stools, the condition causes symptoms such as radiating pain in the upper abdomen, fever and jaundice.

Sclerosing cholangitis is a disease that occurs when the bile ducts swell, scar and deteriorate, according to MedlinePlus. The condition, which has typically unknown sources, can be present in people with sarcoidosis, chronic pancreatitis, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Initial symptoms of sclerosing cholangitis include itching, fatigue and jaundice, while other symptoms may include appetite loss, weight loss and an enlarged liver.

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