Why Is My Poop Orange?
What Does Orange Diarrhea Mean?
A trip to the toilet is something that we all do naturally. Nobody notices anything unusual until something stands out, like bright orange diarrhea. When you suddenly have a change in your stool or poop color, you take notice.
Maybe it is green, black, a reddish-orange poop, or orange watery diarrhea. Nobody likes mucus in the poop.
A black stool may be because of bleeding in your stomach, and a red stool may show bleeding in your lower gut, such as from the rectum or large intestine.
A white-colored stool may show obstruction of the bile ducts.
So you ask. Why is my poop orange? A color change normally is associated with the foods that you eat and the color and strength of those foods.
An orange or reddish-colored stool is normally no different to any of the other colors. Having one orange stool with mucus and no other symptoms is most likely not a cause for worry.
You might have most likely had diarrhea several times, but having yellow or orange diarrhea can be a worrying symptom. When one thinks of stool, an orange or yellow stool is not normally the color that comes to mind.
If your stool has this orange color, it might be a sign of a severe medical issue. This kind of orange watery diarrhea may be caused by parasites, GERD, or various digestive issues.
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Foods That Can Cause Bright Orange Diarrhea Or A Reddish Stool
Orange stools are often caused by eating red or orange foods. Supplements containing beta-carotene and aluminum hydroxide can turn your stools orange or to reddish poop. A lack of bile salts is one medical reason that can cause orange stool.
Beta carotene is a type of compound called a carotenoid. Carotenoids can be red, orange, or yellow and are found in many vegetables, fruits, grains, and oils. Beta carotene is also known as a “provitamin.” That's because it can be converted into an active form of vitamin A.
Below are some foods that are likely to cause the orange color in your stool. Any food with an artificial yellow or orange coloring, including:
- Winter squash
- Collard greens
- Fresh thyme
- Sweet potatoes
- Turnip greens
Food with orange or synthetic yellow coloring can cause orange stool. If you are young and healthy, your eating habits may cause an orange stool with mucus or poop and stomach pains.
In older people, the primary cause may be a digestive issue. If a person's stool is passed out when orange, it does not absorb sufficient bile salts.
This is because bile causes the poop to turn dark brown. Just ensure it is not watery orange diarrhea.
The stool may lack bile because it moves too fast through your digestive system. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) may also cause orange diarrhea. It can also occur if your body is producing low levels of bile.
This may occur if a certain obstruction blocks your bile ducts. Gallstones, tumors, inflammations, and cysts may be some obstructions.
Preserved foods can also cause your stool to appear more orange rather than brown. These foods include junk food, jellies, artificial soft drinks, and juices containing artificial colors.
Eating preserved food is not harmful, but consuming junk food can lead to health problems such as obesity and liver problems. In this situation, orange diarrhea could be a sign you should consume healthier foods.
This condition can cause diarrhea to be orange. It is the inflammation of the large colon's lining. This condition is not that serious, but it interferes with food absorption.
Therefore, when you eat something orange or reddish, your body will not digest some of that, and it will end up in your watery stools, giving them an orange tinge.
The two major types of microscopic colitis are lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis.
The cause of microscopic colitis is not well known. Some doctors think a virus causes this condition, while others think it occurs mainly because of a weak immune system.
The other common symptoms of microscopic colitis are cramps, dehydration, rectal bleeding, and pain in the stomach.
In most cases, the pain caused by this condition goes away on its own. However, it is important to address the inflammation and the other symptoms.
A doctor will prescribe medication to treat this condition, but you must also change your lifestyle.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition. GERD is heartburn. When too much bile returns up your throat, it can prevent food from being digested properly.
GERD can also increase the risk of suffering from esophageal cancer. Therefore, if you have this condition, ensure you take care of it immediately. GERD may also cause other symptoms, such as a chronic sweet taste in your mouth.
You may also wake up choking or with a sore throat. When stomach acid moves up your esophagus, it may also cause damage to your teeth. Lifestyle changes, medications, and proton pump inhibitors may ease the symptoms of GERD.
If you take supplements containing an excessive amount of vitamin A, your stool could be brightly colored. Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide may also cause this symptom.
If you consume either of these supplements regularly, they are likely the major cause. Remember, vitamin A from food may also cause the same symptoms.
If you consume vitamin A supplements or food rich in beta-carotene, inform your doctor about it because it may cause orange diarrhea.
Some parasites cause orange stools. However, these parasites also cause other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and chills. The additional symptoms result from your body fighting off the infections. Therefore, you may not have a parasitic infection if they are not present.
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What Supplements Are You Taking?
There can be synthetic forms of beta carotene in supplements. Taking supplements that are packed with beta carotene can also produce the reddish or orange stool.
Also, food dyes such as those used to make orange drinks or orange-colored candy can do the same trick on your stool.
Digestive Problems That May Cause An Orange or Reddish Stool
In most healthy people, the orange stool most often results from eating one or more of the foods or supplements listed above. It's important to note what happens with the rest of the body when the orange stool is happening.
If you are suffering from any digestive issues, this may lead to a change in color of your stool. How bile interacts with your enzymes may cause the brown color to be different.
Having diarrhea can cause this, or something to do with your liver could cause this.
What About Having a Lack of Bile?
Those who suffer from heartburn know how much of a pain acid can be when it comes back into the mouth from your stomach. What if your body does not produce enough bile?
This could also be an issue, as the body may not produce enough or because your bile ducts are blocked.
Bile travels via the bile ducts from your liver, where it is produced, along to the gallbladder, where it is stored, and then to the small intestine, where the bile contacts your poop or stool.
If the stool is still orange when it is eliminated as a bowel movement, it could mean that the stool is not being exposed to enough bile salt, or it is not absorbing enough.
Bile is a yellowish-green liquid secreted from the liver to aid the digestion of your foods, and when it reacts with the natural enzymes present in the bowel, it turns the stool brown.
If your poop or stool is not taking in enough bile or is not exposed to it, it may be a different color than normal. There could be several reasons you have a blockage in the bile ducts, including gallstones, inflammation, cysts, or tumors.
When Should You Seek Medical Advice?
Like anything to do with bodily functions, if you feel good, you normally are good. If you have eaten a lot of colored foods, then the chances are that your poop is that color for that reason.
Passing your stool normally with no issues is a good sign. If all is well with the color and you feel no effects differently when this happens, all should be ok.
However, if you have had no colored foods or fruits and your stool or poop is orange, then you should consult your doctor. This is because some medical conditions cause your stool to turn the color orange.
Your diet and how you feel should be a priority. If you have eaten lots of carrots or colored vegetables, then you should have no cause for alarm.
Do You Need To Treat This?
If an orange poop or stool results from a diet rich in orange foods, swap out some carrots or sweet potatoes for other healthy options. The effects of excessive beta carotene in the foods should return to normal once you have cut back on the amounts of colored foods you consume daily.
Normally any amount of excess beta carotene only has a temporary effect on your bowel movements. In most cases, no treatment is necessary. If the color of the stool doesn't become normal despite making the above changes, it may show an underlying medical problem.
Having an orange-colored stool isn't necessarily because of any serious illness. However, it's a good idea to monitor it. If you have any concerns, speak to your health consultant.
Medications That May Cause An Orange Stool
Several medications may cause your poop to be orange or reddish color. Speak to your health consultant if you are suffering from any symptoms when on medication or if you have orange or reddish poop.
If this is a temporary medication, the stool should return to normal once you have finished the dose. However, if this is a new long-term medication, seek advice. They will advise you and may offer a different medication for this concern.
When to Inform a Physician About Orange Diarrhea
You should not be too worried about orange diarrhea because it is most likely caused by supplements or foods rather than an underlying medical condition.
However, when this issue occurs multiple times, it may be a sign that it is occurring because of something else that may require a doctor's attention.
If you cannot trace back the color of your stool to any dietary reasons like yellow or orange foods or supplements, consult a physician.
If you are experiencing other symptoms such as dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn, and weakness, remember these are also signs that you need medical attention.
When you see a physician early, it will be easier for him or her to treat the condition effectively.
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Diagnosing The Cause Of Orange Diarrhea
A doctor will most likely ask you about your foods, particularly red or orange foods. The professional will then determine if it is necessary to perform other tests to find out what is causing orange diarrhea.
The doctor will take tests that depend on the symptoms you are experiencing, along with orange diarrhea.
Some first tests the physician may order are stool analysis, blood tests, colonoscopy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, immunological tests, CT scan, ultrasound, MRI, and tissue biopsies.
If your doctor suspects that a digestive condition may cause orange diarrhea, he or she may refer you to a gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the digestive system.
Gastroenterologists have extensive training in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the stomach, esophagus, large intestine, stomach and biliary system.
A gastroenterologist can perform other exams based on what could cause the problem. For instance, he or she may request that you undergo a computed tomography scan if a bile duct blockage or gallbladder issue is suspected.
After the cause of the orange diarrhea is diagnosed, it is possible to prevent it. For instance, if your poop appears orange because of your food, you can eliminate the problem by changing your diet.
If the culprit is artificial coloration, reduce the consumption of foods with such colors or erase from them your diet. If your stool appears orange because of beta-carotene, you do not have to do anything about it because it is a beneficial vitamin.
If the cause of the problems is GERD, you need to seek effective treatment for GERD. Consuming fiber-rich foods and avoiding artificially colored foods are vital for regular and healthy bowels.
Checking Your Bowels For Other Issues Like Colon Cancer
Your bowels offer signs to your health. There are several signs from your bowels that may indicate if you have colon cancer. These signs are RED flags and should be a cause for concern.
Check out the below symptoms and if you are suffering from any it would be best to consult your doctor straight away for a check up.
Symptoms of colon cancer include – but are not limited to:
- blood in your stool
- change in frequency
- change in consistency
- incomplete bowel movements
A single change will not mean a lot to you. If you have two or more of these symptoms at the same time then you should get it checked out through your doctor.
What Are Your Bowels Telling You?
Check out the Bristol Stool Chart to see what type of Poop your is and to know what it means.
There are 7 different types that have meaning
- Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (difficult to pass and can be black)
- Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
- Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface (can be black)
- Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft (average stool)
- Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges
- Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool (diarrhoea)
- Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid (diarrhoea)
Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the ideal stools as they are easy to defecate while not containing excess liquid, 5 indicating lack of dietary fiber, and 6 and 7 indicate diarrhoea.
The Bristol stool scale is also very sensitive to changes in intestinal transit time caused by medications, such as antidiarrhoeal loperamide, senna, or anthraquinone with laxative effect.
Constipation can be an indicator of the following conditions:
A poor lifestyle. Possibly little or no sport and an unhealthy diet. Poor choice of foods including lots of unhealthy yellow foods like cakes and biscuits and very little water in your system
Diabetes – Poorly managed diabetes can damage the nerves supplying the digestive tract, causing constipation.
Thyroid conditions caused by chronic constipation because of low levels of thyroid hormone.
Pregnancy – An increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. A relaxing of the muscles in the lining of the digestive tract that can lead to more sluggish movement of the bowels and constipation.
Bowel obstruction – Poor bowel movement caused by a blockage inside your colon preventing your waste from passing through your digestive tract.
Cramping, a bloated stomach and constipation are all important indicators. You must contact your doctor immediately if you have suffered from this as a bowel obstruction can be very serious.
Bristol Types 5 through 7 possibly diarrhea
A lack of fiber is the major problem for a type 5 stool, while type 6 and type 7 could be some type of inflammatory problem.
Not enough fiber and too much water in your stool causes your poop to become too soft and runny. Lots of fiber in your poop soaks up the excess water.
Your Poop Color and Your Health
Dark Brown Poop
A healthy color caused by bilirubin – a pigment released by the breakdown of old red blood cells.
Iron supplements and certain foods and medications can cause black stools, but a black, sticky, tar-like appearance may be because of gastrointestinal bleeding. Black stools are not necessarily a cause for concern. In most cases, this is simply a temporary condition caused by too much dietary fiber in your diet.
If you have black stool on a regular basis, however, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Make sure to check with your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Bleeding from your rectum or anus Painful or frequent passing of gas
- Flatulence Redness or soreness around the anal area Weight loss or gain
Color of the bowel movements is caused by various factors including the food you eat, medications you take or serious underlying medical problems. It's very important to see your doctor if your bowel movements have changed in any way.
A lack of bile caused by issues with the gallbladder, liver or pancreas can cause pale grey or white stools.
Certain plant foods can cause your poop to turn green. Green poop can also be due to too much bile or too little bilirubin.
Certain red foods can cause your poop to turn red, but red-colored poop can also result from intestinal bleeding or hemorrhoids.
Foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, can turn your stools orange. Blocked bile ducts and certain medications can cause your poop to turn orange as well.
A yellow or greasy-looking stool may contain too much fat because of malabsorption or because of a lack of certain enzymes (including bile).
The Frequency of Toilet Runs
How often should you Poop is not a question that is asked a lot. Most people poop anywhere between 3 times a day to 3 times a week! Almost everyone has a routine for the toilet on a regular basis.
Some will go first thing in a morning every morning, whilst others will not go until later in the day. There should be some sort of pattern for a healthy poop. If there is no pattern to your pooping there may be an underlying gastrointestinal issue.
There is no such thing as a sweet smelling poop. All poops should smell bad. Poop comprises of all the stuff your body has broken down and has to get rid of, including bacteria that give off strong smelly gases.
However, truly foul-smelling stools may result from an infection, Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Celiac Disease.
Questions Regarding Your Stool
Why Do We Sometimes Have Floaters
This normally occurs when you are visiting friends. Not really but that is everyones fear. Your stool normally sinks because the contents of feces are heavier than the water.
In other words your poop is quite a heavy lump. If your stool is a floater it normally means there is more gas inside the stool and it is lighter and not so dense as normal. Excess fat in the stool (steatorrhea) can also cause feces to float.
This is especially common in individuals who have GI conditions that affect fat absorption. This could be Celiac disease or Crohn's disease, but can also happen in healthy individuals who consume large quantities of fat, which is likely the cause if the stool is also oily and foul smelling.
Why Is It Difficult To Squeeze One Out Sometimes?
Yes, a man problem. This could simply be anything from what you ate to irritating hemorrhoids. In very rare cases you may have a tumour in the intestine which could make bowel movements painful.
Common Causes of Difficulty To Squeeze One Out
Constipation is the most common cause of pain. Normally if you have difficulty squeezing one out it is due to constipation. Never try to rush this as you may cause a tear to your anal skin which could give other types of infection and problems.
Diarrhea can also cause cramping, leading up to elimination If you are a fan of spicy foods you will know the problems that this can also cause. A very hot Indian meal can give you a severe burning sensation the following day.
Any sort of severe pain while experiencing bowel movements could be a tumour obstructing the rectum or anus.
Orange diarrhea that is caused by foods or supplements is probably something you need not worry much about.
However, if it is stressful, you can reduce the consumption of the foods of supplement that are causing orange diarrhea. Lets hope this answers the question “why is my poop orange”.
If you are experiencing other symptoms along with orange diarrhea, or if it continues for more than one or two days, it is important to see a doctor.
- What Causes Orange Stool?
- What Causes Orange Poop?
- Orange diarrhea: Some Causes Need Checking Out.