Stools in healthy people are generally yellow in color because of Bilirubin (dead red blood cells, which are also coloring agents in the feces and urine). Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced by the breakdown of hemoglobin (Hb) in the liver. Bilirubin is secreted through the bile and is passed through the feces. Its function is to give a brownish yellow color on the feces. But sometimes one finds the color of the stool is not as usual, but more like the color of food consumed. Stool color changes due to food intake are normal and not dangerous.
The typical odor of stool or feces is caused by bacterial activity. Bacteria produce compounds such as indole, skatole, and thiol (sulfur-containing compounds), and also hydrogen sulfide gas. The color of the stool is affected by a medical condition, food and beverages consumed, it is highly likely stool color changes according to the food consumed.
What is Your Stool Color?
- Yellow = the possibility of your stool is high in fat, the presence of nutritional absorption disorders such as celiac, gluten allergy etc. Set your diet to be low fat, if after that the color of your stool becomes brown then this is not a serious sign.
- Green = Normal in newborn. In adults, green stools can also be an indicator of some types of bacterial infections, because inflammation of the intestines also causes shortened transit time. This green dirt can also be caused by the vegetarian lifestyle, because the chlorophyll substances contained in the leaves cannot be digested and will be carried along with dirt.
- White = Stool color arising from blockage of bile ducts such as gallstones or infections of the liver.
- Black = Signs of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, high intake of iron.
- Brown = the normal color of the stool that shows normal health, your digestive system is running smoothly.
- Orange = Orange color is rarely associated with diarrhea or bowel movement. If some unusual stool colors suggest a potential health problem, orange is usually a harmless and temporary color change. Typically, orange stool is caused by certain foods or food additives.
Food that Caused Orange Stool
Orange stool may not be due to a disease; instead it occurs with the consumption of certain foods, beverages, supplements or medication that stains the stool an orange color.
- Supplements with vitamin A usually have beta carotene
- Foods that have Beta-carotene. These include carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, winter squash, etc.
- Antacids that contains elements such as aluminum hydroxide
- Certain combinations of medications
- Artificial colors in food and beverages
Apart from the food consumed, orange diarrhea can be caused by several things related to indigestion. Orange diarrhea can be caused by a number of problems:
Digestive Issues that can Cause Orange Diarrhea
- Bowel movement is too fast, and your feces are not processed by bile during your digestion. This rapid transit could be caused by one or more of several different conditions, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or short bowel syndrome (SBS).
- Body is not producing enough bile; lack of bile salts is one medical reason that can cause orange stool. Addition to orange diarrhea, patients may experience jaundice, ascites, and generalized itchiness.
- The bile ducts that take it from the liver to the digestive system are suffering from an inflammation or are otherwise blocked. A blockage in the bile ducts could be caused by gallstones, inflammation, cysts, or tumors.
- Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease/GERD: It is a digestive disorder marked by abnormal backward flow of stomach acids, enzymes, and bile from the stomach to the esophagus. This can eventually result in lowered amounts of bile availability that leading to orange diarrhea.
External factors that trigger orange diarrhea
To know if a parasite is the cause of orange poop, you will also need to pay close attention to accompanying symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Conditions like piles, fissures, hemorrhoids, may sometimes orange diarrhea.
- Some harmless bacteria species naturally occurring in the body can also cause orange diarrhea, but no other symptoms.
- Stool color changes may sometimes occur after undergoing tests like MRI, CT scan, or Nuclear Meds study. This is due to the remnants of dyes of the diagnostic tests.
- Administration of cytotoxic or other toxins during chemotherapy is another cause of orange diarrhea.
Tips to Diagnose Whether the Orange Stool is Normal or Abnormal
Orange stool can occur due to minor causes like intake of certain foods or supplements or due to varied underlying health conditions. If you been consuming more carrots lately or taken up a vitamin A supplement too much that triggers your stool turns out orange then you don’t have to worry. But if your orange poop is accompanied by other symptoms or is not resolving itself even after you have changed your diet, then you should see a doctor. Once the cause of orange poop is properly diagnosed, you can find ways to prevent it.
Abnormal Orange Diarrhea
Orange diarrhea may arise for the same reasons as orange stool but an irritation or infection of the gut results in simultaneous diarrhea. This can be linked by the discoloration of bowel movement or it can due to independent causes.
- Increased gut motility (yellow bowel movement that may be described as orange): IBS, food poisoning or other cause of loose bowel movements
- Ingesting large amount of Butter-fish: sticky, orange, fatty, loose stools may last for up to one week after butter-fish ingestion.
- Other foods such as fish oil, nuts, junk food, if ingested in excess.
Prevention and Treatment for Orange Stool
Although your poop is bright orange does not immediately equate to a threat in your body, it is still important the precautionary methods and treatment as an initial aid.
- Observe your food intake: If you see any change in the color of your poop, try to think about the food that you have consumed for the day or the day before it. It may just be because you ate too much carrot or artificial colored food.
- Eat properly: Eating properly means not to eat too many artificial products and junk foods.
- Consuming fiber regularly for healthy and regular bowels.
- Prevent a parasitic infection by only drink water from safe and known sources.
When You Have to See Doctor for Orange Stools?
When in doubt, self-diagnosis would never help. Seek professional help to be treated correctly. Although typically harmless, you should see a doctor if food choices cannot be blamed for your stool color change. Also if you are experiencing other symptoms like dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, constipation, and weakness that refer as early indicators that you require medical intervention. Take the best treatment from the doctor to avoid it become more serious problem.