Orange Diarrhea: 11 Causes, 4 Prevention tips, When to see a doctor

Orange diarrhea can be a scary symptom as we don’t expect our poop or stool to be orange in color. Our stool plays a vital role in telling us about our health. The consistency and the color of the poop are some of the important markers of our health.

Diarrhea is a general thing amongst people, but orange diarrhea is not. So, we become worried when we have orange poop. But, should you worry? We will find out the answer to this question in this article.

What does your Stool or Poop color tell you:

shades of poop
Shades of poop
Image source: guthealthproject.com

Before you know what abnormal stool color is, you should know what is normal. Do you know how normal stool looks like? Normal stool color can range from light yellow to dark brown. The color of the stool depends on the food that is expelled after digestion and also on a pigment called Stercobilin.

Stercobilin is the pigment which is formed from the bilirubin, which is a liquid produced and secreted by our liver to digest the fatty content of our food.

Most of the times, your stool color tells you the status of your health and warns you if you have any health ailments. If you have a red colored stool, it indicates that you might be having lower gastrointestinal bleeding from disorders like anal fissure, haemorrhoids, colon cancer, etc.

If you have a black colored stool, it is called melena. It happens if you have upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to disorders like bleeding peptic ulcers, esophageal varices, etc. If you have a white fatty stool, it indicates you have some problem with digestion of fats or malabsorption, for example, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Pancreatitis, Pancreatic cancer, Giardiasis, etc.

Orange diarrhea or Orange Poop Causes:

orange diarrhea
Image source: livestrong.com

There are many causes of Orange diarrhea ranging from the color of the foods we consume to more severe Gut disorders and Parasitic infections. Let us explore all of them below:

Beta Carotene rich foods:
Beta carotene rich foods
Beta carotene rich foods
Image source: supplementsglobal.com

Beta Carotene is a pigment which is present in certain foods, and it gives them an orange color. When you ingest large amounts of such foods, you can develop Orange diarrhea or orange stools. Some examples of such foods are:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Kale
  • Winter Squash
  • Spinach
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apricots
  • Pumpkin
  • Collards
  • Mango
  • Green leaves of Turnips
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
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If you think that you are consuming a lot of these foods and you have developed Orange diarrhea, then you can try stopping these foods for a while and then see if your orange stools subside. If they happen to stop, then your Orange diarrhea is most likely caused by Beta-Carotene rich foods.

Consumption of Processed foods:

In this competitive world, we are very busy, and we often resort to eating processed and packaged foods. These foods contain a lot of artificial dyes or colors to make them look attractive. The colors can be orange, green, yellow, red, etc. When you eat such artificially colored foods, your stool can develop an orangish hue.

Some examples of foods containing artificial dyes are sugar candies, ice candies, bubblegums, icecreams, junk foods, chips, etc. These foods are detrimental to your health in many ways apart from causing Orange diarrhea.

Certain Types of Fish:

Consumption of certain types of fish like Escolar can also lead to Orange diarrhea or orange stool. Escolar is a fish found in the waters of the Tropical regions. It contains a fatty acid which is indigestible.

This fish is not harmful to the body, but as it contains indigestible fatty acids, they are released in the stool leading to the formation of orange stool which is oily or fatty. You can take a very limited amount of this fish and also grill it properly beforehand to avoid developing Orange diarrhea.

GERD:

GERD is the abbreviation of a medical disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease. In this disease, there is reflux or backward movement of bilirubin and acidic food contents of the stomach into the esophagus as the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter is reduced or diminished.

We need Stercobilin; a pigment derived from bilirubin if we want our stool to be normal brown or yellow colored. But, in this condition, as the bilirubin is going back into the esophagus and not reaching the stool completely, we might notice orange poop or Orange diarrhea.

There are many other symptoms of GERD that a person might suffer from apart from having an orange stool, for example:

  • Heartburn or retrosternal pain
  • Belching or burping
  • A nocturnal or a nighttime cough
  • Having a sour metallic taste in the mouth
  • Having foul smell in the mouth or Halitosis due to acidic food reaching the mouth
IBS:

IBS is the abbreviation for Irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is also one of the causes of orange stool or orange poop. In this condition, the affected person has many symptoms like:

  • Severe abdominal pain or cramps
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain relieved by passing stool
  • It can be associated with anxiety or depression
  • Passing ribbon-like stools
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Other disorders of the Gut:

Several other diseases of the gut or gastrointestinal tract can also lead to the development of orange stool or orange diarrhea. Some examples of such conditions include short bowel syndrome, IBD or Inflammatory bowel disease. IBD includes Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Liver disorders:

There are many disorders which can stop the bile or bilirubin from reaching the gut, leading to Orange diarrhea. Some examples of such diseases include:

  • Alcoholic Liver disorder
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Paracetamol toxicity, etc
Diagnostic tests:

Sometimes, certain dyes can be injected into the body to facilitate performing certain diagnostic tests like Computerised Tomography (CT scan) or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan).

These dyes can also make you develop Orange diarrhea. If these dyes cause your orange stools, then it will reduce within a few days after completing the tests.

Parasitic infections:

Sometimes, certain parasitic infection or parasitic infestation can also lead to Orange diarrhea. If any parasites are causing your orange stool, then you will also suffer from other symptoms like:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Itching or pruritus in the anus
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia or loss of appetite
  • Bleeding in the stools
  • Decreased absorption of food
  • Weight loss, etc
Dietary supplements:

We already discussed that foods containing Berta carotene could cause orange stool. Similarly, nutritional supplements or tablets containing Beta-carotene or Vitamin A can also cause Orange diarrhea. There is no need to worry at all if dietary supplements are causing your orange poop.

Medications:

Certain drugs like Rifampicin which is used to treat Leprosy and Tuberculosis is known to cause Orange diarrhea. Orange stool can also be caused by certain antacid syrups used for the treatment of gastritis.

Prevention and Treatment  Tips for Orange diarrhea:

Although Orange diarrhea or orange poop can be a scary symptom, there are certain ways in which you can prevent this from happening. All you have to do is follow certain healthy habits like below:

Dietary Modifications:

Our diet determines the way our stool looks and also our health. So, having a healthy diet plays a vital role in keeping us fit and preventing Orange diarrhea. Just avoid eating all kinds of Processed and packaged foods like Chips, etc.

Try to include natural fruits and vegetables in your diet including green leafy vegetables. But, if you already have orange poop, you need to skip the foods that contain Beta-carotene for few days to see if your Orange diarrhea resolves with this change.

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Detoxification of the liver:

Liver disorders also can lead to the development of orange stool. So, try to detoxify or cleanse your liver by consuming appropriate foods and doing exercise to get rid of Orange diarrhea caused by liver disorders.

Probiotic-rich foods or Supplements:

Our gut contains healthy bacteria to facilitate the digestion and absorption of the food we eat. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria like Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, etc. which promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and diminish the growth of harmful disease-causing microbes.

You need to consume probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis to have a healthy gut. Having a healthy gut keeps your stool normal and prevents Orange diarrhea. Probiotic-rich foods include Kefir, Kimchi, Yakult, Yogurt, etc.

Adequate hydration:

Our body needs to be adequately hydrated to ensure proper digestion. We need to drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water every day. Drinking sufficient water makes sure that food is propelled smoothly through the gut and also that digestion is proper.

If you don’t drink an adequate amount of water every day, food is not digested correctly and not appropriately propelled leading to many abnormal symptoms like indigestion, abdominal fullness, bloating and Orange diarrhea or orange stools.

When to see a doctor:

Having only Orange diarrhea without any other symptoms is not a cause for concern. But, if you experience any abnormal symptoms, you need to consult your physician to get checked up. Some examples of such symptoms are:

  • Having unusual weight loss
  • Having severe abdominal pain
  • Having bleeding in the stool
  • Having blood while urinating
  • Feeling very weak
  • Feeling Dizzy

Orange Diarrhea or Orange Poop-Do you have to worry:

Having Orange diarrhea or orange stool can make you worried. But, you should know when to worry and when not to worry. Majority of times, Orange diarrhea or orange poop is harmless. It is mainly caused by the consumption of foods rich in Beta-Carotene or due to artificial food colors. In such case, simple cessation of such foods will control Orange diarrhea.

But, if you experience any abnormal symptoms like mentioned above, you need to consult your physician to rule out any underlying disorders in your body that might be causing Orange diarrhea. We hope that this article was informative.

References:
  1. Doctorhealthpress
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319464.php

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