Yellow Stool or Orange Diarrhea – When Should You Worry?

Yellow Stool or Orange Diarrhea – When Should You Worry?

Yellow Stool or Orange Diarrhea

You might have most likely had diarrhea a number of times, but having yellow or orange diarrhea can certainly be a worrying symptom. When one thinks of stool, orange or yellow is not normally the color that comes to mind. If your stool has this color, it might be a sign of a severe medical issue. This kind of diarrhea may be caused by parasites, GERD or an entire range of digestive issues.

What determines the color of the stool?

The shade of your stool is determined by your digestive process. However, what you consume also plays a big role in your stool’s color for the color of the food alters your stool’s outcome. This is because as food gets digested while moving through the digestive system, it changes its color.

The color that the poop is supposed to have as the outcome of the digestion process is brown. Therefore, if you are having orange diarrhea, it is certainly not usual from a physiological point of view.

Most people do not recognize that the shade of their stool says lots of things about their health. For instance, if you notice black spots in your poop then it may be an indication of taking a surplus in dietary iron. If your stool is very dark, it is an indication of a tarry stool. Having a tarry stool means that there is bleeding at a certain part of your digestive system.

If you are taking supplements that contain beta-carotene, it is possible that the shade of your stool may alter. This kind of alteration may also be caused by medication, but the major cause is food.

Causes of orange diarrhea

Certain foods – Below are some of the foods that are likely to cause the orange color in your stool:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Winter Squash
  • Apricots
  • Turnip Greens
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cilantro

Foods with a yellow coloring – Food that has an orange coloring or synthetic yellow coloring has the possibility to cause orange stool.

If you are young and healthy, your eating habits may be causing an orange stool with mucus or orange poop and stomach pains. Nevertheless, in older people, the primary cause may be a digestive issue. If a person’s stool is being passed out when orange in color, it means that it is failing to absorb sufficient bile salts. This is because bile causes the poop to turn into a dark brown color. The reason why the stool may be lacking bile is if it moves too fast through your digestive system. Situations such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) may also be the cause of orange diarrhea. It can also occur if your body is producing low levels of bile. This may occur if your bile ducts are blocked by a certain obstruction. Gallstones, tumors, inflammations, and cysts may be some of the obstructions.

Preserved foods – Preserved foods can also cause your stool to appear more orange rather than brown. These foods include junk food, jellies, and artificial soft drinks as well as 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 over time. In this situation, orange diarrhea could be a sign that you should start consuming healthier foods.

Escolar – This is a type of fish that can cause your poop to turn orange if you eat it in large qualities. Escolar contains fat that the human body cannot digest. The fat is released into the stool causing it to appear orange in color.

Microscopic colitis – This condition can cause diarrhea that is orange in color. 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 that is 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 that a virus causes this condition, while others think that 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 also need to change your lifestyle.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition. Basically, 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, make sure that 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 alleviate the symptoms of GERD.

Certain supplements – If you are taking supplements containing a high amount of vitamin A, your stool could end up being brightly colored. Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide may also cause this symptom. If you are consuming either of these supplements regularly, it is highly likely that they are the main cause. Bear in mind that vitamin A from food may also cause the same symptoms. If you are consuming vitamin A supplements or food rich in beta-carotene, inform your doctor about it because this may be the cause of orange diarrhea.

Parasitic infections – Some parasites are known to cause orange stools. However, these parasites also cause other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and chills. The additional symptoms are the result of your body fighting off the infections. Therefore, if they are not present, you may not have a parasitic infection.

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 the attention of a doctor.

If you cannot trace back the color of your stool to any dietary reasons like yellow or orange foods or supplements, consult a physician. In addition, if you are experiencing other symptoms such as dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn and weakness, bear in mind that these symptoms are also an indication that you need medical attention. When you see a physician early, it will be easier for him or her to treat the condition effectively.

Diagnosing the cause of orange diarrhea

A doctor will most likely ask you about the foods you are consuming, 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 are dependent on the symptoms you are experiencing along with orange diarrhea. Some of the first tests that 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 be causing 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 be causing 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 find a way to prevent it. For instance, if your poop appears orange due to the food you are eating, you can eliminate the problem just be modifying your diet. If the culprit is artificial coloration, reduce the consumption of foods with such colors or eliminate them completely from your diet. Nonetheless, if your stool appears orange due to 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. In general, consuming foods that are rich in fiber and avoiding artificially colored foods is vital for regular and healthy bowels.

Conclusion

Orange diarrhea that is caused by foods or supplements is probably something that you do not need to worry much about. However, if it is stressful, you can reduce the consumption of the foods of supplement that are causing orange diarrhea. 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.

 

References:

  1. What Causes Orange Stool?https://www.verywell.com/what-causes-orange-stool-1942943
  2. What causes orange poop?https://www.belmarrahealth.com/what-causes-orange-poop/
  3. Orange diarrhea: Some causes are serious – http://scarysymptoms.com/2012/01/orange-diarrhea-some-causes-are-serious/

 

 

 

 

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