Friday, February 06, 2009 gottago, Community Member, asks

Q: what is meant by "clay colored" or "pale" stools?

I have light brown, or light, yellowish brown, very loose stools, and I have had them for a long time. 

I read that I should be concerned about "clay colored" or "pale" stools.  Consider me ignorant, but what color is clay?  Gray?  Very Light brown?  Reddish brown? 

I have the same question for "pale." Do they mean pale brown or pale like white or gray? 

All the sites seem to copy each other, and all use this phrasing as if it is univerally understood. 

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Answers (1)
Elizabeth Roberts, Health Guide
2/ 6/09 4:52pm

Hello gottago,


For the sake of answering your question about your symptom, yellowish brown stool, let's ignore what you're reading on other sites.


A yellowish color in stool could indicate that you are passing along bile in your stool. From what I know this is usually not a big problem. However, if this, or the very loose stools, are new symptoms for you, then you should consult with your doctor, who will most likely have you do a stool sample test to be sure all is okay.


It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor when you have any significant changes in your bowel movements, especially if you have IBD - inflammatory bowel disease.


Good luck to you,



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By gottago, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/12/14, First Published: 02/06/09