What is Orange Diarrhea – When Should You Worry?

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Having orange diarrhea?

That might be scary, first because it is diarrhea, and second, because it is orange. So, what might be the cause of this uncomfortable situation?

Could you be suffering from a terrible medical condition? 

Read on to discover the answers to those and other questions regarding orange diarrhea.

What is Orange Diarrhea

Orange diarrhea is loose, watery stool that is orange in color. Though there are chances that it could be caused by natural elements like food, it’s typically linked to certain medical issues, which we will discuss in a little while.

But, before you conclude that you’re having orange diarrhea, you got to first make sure it’s actually orange. To do that, examine the loose stool’s color in a well-lit bathroom. Be sure not to pass urine, so that it doesn’t affect the color of the stool. Remove the toilet seat, so you have a good view of the stool’s color.

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What is Causing the Orange Diarrhea

If you’re just having orange stool, without diarrhea, you might not really be suffering from any disease. Orange stool might be as a result of particular food, beverages, medication or even supplements. Let’s have a look at the various substances that cause orange stool.

  • Beta-carotene – Foods containing beta-carotene, such as apricots, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, kale, mango, cilantro, and winter squash, might cause your stool to be colored orange, especially if you take them in huge quantities. By the way, supplements containing Vitamin A typically have beta-carotene.
  • Particular medication combinations.
  • Antacids containing elements like aluminum hydroxide.
  • Foods, beverages, and candies with artificial colors.
  • Intaking lots of Butterfish – this one results in sticky, fatty, orange-colored, loose stools that might last a week after intake.
  • Taking too much fish oil, fries, and other junk food all at once.
  • Eating excessive food that is colored orange – this can lead to short-term orange diarrhea.

Medical-Related Causes of Orange Diarrhea: When to Worry

In case you’re experiencing orange diarrhea along with severe symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, and dizziness, there might be a more serious underlying issue that needs the attention of a medic. Some medical-related causes of orange diarrhea are:

  • Elevated motility in the gut due to infectious diarrhea.
  • Bile duct blockage – this one is rare, and it’s normally as a result of gallstones or pancreatic or bile duct cancer. Don’t fret; it’s highly unlikely that you’re suffering from this one. Bile duct blockage more typically produces white or clay-colored stool.
  • Microscopic colitis – this one is inflammation of the colon. This one causes interference with the way food is getting absorbed so that if you eat something orange or reddish, you have diarrhea with an orange tinge. It’s actually not a serious condition.
  • A parasitic infection – when affected by a parasite, you’ll normally have chills and nausea alongside the orange diarrhea. If you’re thinking that parasites are the ones causing you to have orange diarrhea, it’s important that you take lots of purified water, apart from seeing a doctor or a registered pharmacist.
  • Higher than normal levels of bilirubin – recently, studies have shown that when bacteria break down excessive amounts of bilirubin in the intestines, the results might be yellow or orange stool with blood traces. The problem with increased levels of bilirubin is that it might be an indicator of a problem with the liver, and therefore if you’re having lots of diarrhea with blood traces, then it’d be a good idea to see a doctor immediately.

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What to do about Orange Diarrhea

The first thing to do about any diarrhea is to rehydrate. That means taking lots of fresh, purified water. Then, observe the severity of the diarrhea and if it’s serious, see a doctor. On the other hand, if it’s not serious, you can start by avoiding the junk food (or any of the other foods we’ve discussed above) that might be causing the orange diarrhea.  

If after doing that the orange diarrhea doesn’t go away, it’s high time you saw a doctor.

And again, if you’re suffering the diarrhea alongside other symptoms like blood in stool, stomach pain, dizziness, and vomiting, there’s no need to wait; see a doctor immediately.

FAQ

1. What’s the cause of orange diarrhea?

Orange diarrhea results from a range of conditions, including IBS, lack of bile, blockage of the bile duct due to tumors or gallstones, and more. But most likely, if you’re having orange diarrhea, it’s nothing serious. Causes could range from medications and certain types of foods (especially those with orange or yellow and red colors) to infectious diarrhea and microscopic colitis.

2. What foods can cause my poop to be colored orange?

Excess beta-carotene, whether in food or supplements, can cause your waste matter to be colored orange. Common beta-carotenes include carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.

3. Which fluids should I take and which ones should I avoid when I have diarrhea?

Take plenty of clear fluid, including water (especially this one), soda, clear broth, and natural fruit juice. Avoid milk and milk products, caffeine, apple juice, and alcohol until you get better, as these fluids might worsen the condition.

4 How is orange diarrhea treated?

The treatment depends on the course and the severity of the diarrhea. If the diarrhea was caused by some food you ate, and it’s not very severe, you can just take plenty of water to rehydrate (avoid salty water) and wait for the diarrhea to go away on its own but if it doesn’t cease within a few days, then you know it’s time to see a doctor.

On the other hand, if the diarrhea is severe, see a doctor immediately. Treatment may involve a few pills along with rehydration because diarrhea literally drains the body’s water.

Conclusion

Orange stool is normally nothing to worry about because stool color can be as a result of what we take, but when it is orange diarrhea, that definitely needs some action. As we mentioned before, the first thing to do is rehydrate with plenty of fresh, purified water. If you’re having any severe symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.

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Featured Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

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