Disease, Illness & ConditionsAches & PainsOral HealthInjuriesDigestive HealthEye CareWellnessAlternative MedicineChildren's HealthOlder AdultsFirst AidMental HealthDisabilitiesHealth Care IndustryReproductive Health

What Do White Spots in Your Stool Mean?

Updated on September 18, 2017
medicalhangout profile image

Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.

The color, consistency, and frequency of your bowel movements can say a great deal about the current state of your health, and finding strange things in your stool can certainly be alarming. In this article, we'll go over several reasons you might be finding white matter in your poop.

If you're not experiencing any other symptoms (like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bloody stools), then chances are the white bits are harmless (likely from something you ate) and they should go away. Wait for a couple of days and see if they go away or if you develop any other symptoms.

If stool abnormalities continue, and especially if they're accompanied by other symptoms, then you should see a doctor for a stool analysis.

Below I'll go into detail about reasons you might be finding white spots in your poop, as well as give some information on other poop abnormalities you might be experiencing. I'll also identify some things that are not likely to cause white specks in your poop.

Possible Causes of White Spots in Poop (Ordered From More to Less Likely)

Cause
How you can know
Other details or symptoms
Something You Ate
Have you had okra, quinoa, or other fibrous veggies lately? Sometimes bits of these remain undigested and can appear in your stool. Nuts and seeds are other common culprits.
If it's something you ate, the white spots should go away if you change your diet. If you have other symptoms, like diarrhea, fever, or abdominal pain, that last for longer than two days, you should get seen by a doctor.
Capsules From Medications
Sometimes medication capsules remain undigested in stool. If you've started a new medication and are seeing white balls in your poop, it could be the capsule from the medication.
Consult your doctor if you start experiencing any other symptoms like diarrhea, fever, or abdominal pain.
Tapeworms
Tapeworm segments can be visible in stool. They are white and flat, about the size of a postage stamp.
You might not have any symptoms if you have a tapeworm. If you do, symptoms might include nausea, weakness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hunger or loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. See a doctor to have a stool sample taken.
Threadworms
Threadworms won't appear as spots. Rather, they look (like their name suggests) like tiny threads in your stool. They may be moving.
Intense anal itching is one of the main indicators of threadworms, along with difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

It can be alarming to see strange objects in your poop! Luckily, most of the time and for most people, it is no cause for concern.

Here's some more detail about some of the more likely causes of white things in your poop.

Undigested Food

Sometimes white particles may simply be due to undigested food, such as seeds or fibrous plant matter. Have you eaten okra lately? What about quinoa? If you notice white specks in your stool once or twice and you don't have any other symptoms, you could dismiss it just as something you ate. However, if the white flecks appear regularly, and if their presence is accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea or weight loss,1 then you might need to get medical help.

It could also be a globule of fat or something similarly harmless — again, if it happens just once or twice, you shouldn't worry about it. It's only when it becomes a recurring pattern that you should be concerned.

The Capsules of Medications You're Taking

Sometimes white balls in the stool are actually what used to be the capsules of medications you've taken or their "husk".2 Have you recently started a new medication? If you have, and you aren't experiencing any other symptoms, what you're seeing is probably nothing to worry about.

Tapeworms

If you're living in the US, it's highly unlikely that you have a tapeworm infection. However, I am including it because it is one possible cause of finding white things in your stool.

Tapeworm segments can sometimes be visible in your poop. They look like flat white patches about the size of a postage stamp, and they may possibly be moving.

Oftentimes people with tapeworms don't have any symptoms, but if you do, you might experience:3

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hunger or loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

If you've seen white patches or are experiencing any of the above, especially after traveling or eating food that might be suspect, you should see your doctor to have your stool examined.

Threadworms or Pinworms

Pinworms are another white object that might appear in your poop, though these will look less like dots or specks and more like tiny half-inch long or shorter threads that may be moving.4

People suffering from a pinworm infection usually suffer from anal itching and other symptoms that go along with that, such as insomnia or infections from scratching the anal area. Women may experience itching in the vaginal area as well.

If you suspect a pinworm infection, you should see a doctor for examination and a prescription for treatment.

Unlikely or Unproven Causes of White Matter in Your Stool

Giardia

There are some sources that claim you are able to see cysts from giardia in your stools, but this is incorrect. Giardia cannot be seen with the naked eye. To be diagnosed, you must see a doctor and give several stool samples which will be examined under a microscope.5

Candida or Yeast in Your Stool

I have not been able to find any research that supports the idea that candida is ever visible in the stool, even for people who have a compromised immune system. Though candida is often present in the stool, as it is a fungus that is present in general in the human body, the idea that it could be visible and look like white spots is something that I have not found any supporting evidence for.6

Hypercalcemia or High Levels of Calcium

I found no scientific evidence to support the idea that calcium leaving the body would be visible as white spots in your stool.

Lactose Intolerance

I found no evidence to support the idea that lactose-intolerant people would be able to see visible white dairy matter in their feces.

Other Abnormalities: Mucus in Your Stool

Mucus is a jelly-like substance that is normally present in stool in small amounts. It can look clear, to white, to semi-yellow.

I'm including information about it here because it is something that can appear to be white and is found in the stool, though more likely than not, mucus would not take the appearance of white spots. It would look more like white blobs or strings.

The inner intestinal linings naturally produce mucus in order to keep your colon moist and lubricated. You might occasionally notice some streaks in your stool, and it's likely nothing to be concerned about.

However, if you've noticed a significant increase in mucus that is happening regularly or that is also accompanied by blood or pus, abdominal pain or cramping, or changes in bowel movements, it's enough of a cause for concern that you should see a doctor.7

Mucus that's accompanied by diarrhea could be indicative of an intestinal infection, while mucus that's accompanied by blood or abdominal pain could be indicative of a more serious condition, such as Crohn's disease, cancer, or ulcerative colitis.

Other Abnormalities: Pale or Light-Colored Stools

Bile is a digestive fluid that is produced by the liver and is responsible for the yellow-brownish color of normal stools. It is naturally yellow-brown to greenish in hue, and it is excreted from the body through feces.

According to HealthLine, pale or clay-colored stool is not normal and could be an indication of a problem with your biliary system, a combination of your gallbladder, liver or pancreas.8

My research indicates that it's unlikely you'd find your poop to be "spotted" because of problems with your biliary system. It's more likely that the entire stool would be clay-colored or pale, as opposed to only parts of it. I'm including information about it here, however, since this information might be relevant to people who are seeing white areas in their stool.

If you have a pale-colored poop every once in a while, it's probably not a bit deal. If you start seeing them regularly, however, you'll want to seek medical attention because you might have a serious illness.

In addition, if you're having bulky, greasy, pale, and foul-colored stools, you might be experiencing steatorrhea — which means that there's too much fat in your stool, and you could a condition causing malabsorption.9

See a doctor if you've been experiencing pale, clay-like, or greasy stools more than just occasionally, and especially if you're having other symptoms like abdominal pain.

Wishing You Good Health!

I hope this article has been useful to you. Remember no Internet research replaces consulting an actual physician. For an accurate diagnosis, please take a trip to the doctor.

Sources Used

  1. Wilkinson, John M., M.D. "Undigested food in stool: What does it mean?" February 28, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  2. "Tablets and Pills in the Stool." (n.d.) Pharmacist Answers. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  3. Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS. "Tapeworms in Humans." September 16, 2015. WebMD. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  4. "Threadworms." August 24, 2015. National Health Service UK. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff. "Giardia infection (giardiasis)." October 13, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  6. Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD. "What is Candidiasis?" January 24, 2017. WebMD. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  7. Wilkinson, John M., M.D. "Mucus in stool: A concern?" June 17, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  8. Kivi, Rose and Diana Wells. Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA. "What Causes Pale Stools?" January 24, 2017. Healthline. Accessed September 15, 2017.
  9. Kerr, Michael and Jacquelyn Cafasso. "Malabsorption Syndrome." May 23, 2017. Healthline. Accessed September 15, 2017.

What should you do when you notice white flecks in your stool?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Cathe 5 months ago

      I should have known the answer would be my Crohn's. Every horrible thing wrong with me in the last few decades has been due to that dreaded disease I have been cursed with. Your guide is excellent.

    • profile image

      Todd Hutto 6 months ago

      Really informal!

    • profile image

      Sanjay Gupta 7 months ago

      Wonderful chapter , good guide line for confused peoples.