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Orange Diarrhea

The color of the stool says something about a person’s health. The stool comes in different colors and it is surprising to see something out of the ordinary. However, what is considered normal stool color can be unique to every person.

Just because the stool color is unusual does not necessarily mean that it is a symptom of a disease. The color of stool is usually dependent on the types of foods you eat. People usually freak out when they see orange-colored stool. They thought that it is a symptom of a serious

Different shades of poop and their health implications.photo

Image 1: Different shades of poop and their health implications.
Picture Source: www.mistybluecancercare.org

Foods rich in beta-carotene, which could cause orange diarrhea.image

Photo 2: Foods rich in beta-carotene, which could cause orange diarrhea.
Image Source: www.bellybytes.com

An obstructed bile duct could cause orange diarrhea. In the photo, the bile duct is obstructed by a tumor.photo

Image 3: An obstructed bile duct could cause orange diarrhea. In the photo, the bile duct is obstructed by a tumor.
Picture Source: www.eherb.com

What causes orange diarrhea?

  1. Foods – Orange stools are most of the time caused by certain types of foods such as too much consumption of carrots, apricots, collard greens, kale, cilantro, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens. (3)
  2. Digestive problems – Orange stool with mucus is a cause for concern because it could be associated with digestive problems. Some medical conditions can turn the color of the stool into orange. Orange stool is an indicator that the stool is not exposed to or has not been absorbing enough bile salt. Bile is naturally yellow and plays an important role in turning the color of the stool into brown. What could be the culprit why the bile is not properly absorbed? Well, yellow orange diarrhea due to bile absorption problem could be linked with cysts, gallstones, and tumors. It could also be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), especially when the waste material is passing through the GI track too quickly. (2)
  3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Orange stool symptoms can be linked with GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which the stomach acid comes up into the esophagus. If the color of your poop is orange and you are experiencing other symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, abnormal coughing, and sore throat, then they are indicators of GERD.
  4. Side effect of supplements – Supplements containing a high level of vitamin A and beta carotene can make the color of your poop turn to orange. If you see any changes in your stool color, then think of the supplements you have been taken lately. Even antacids can cause orange to yellow orange poop.
  5. Parasitic infections – Infections caused by parasites cause unusual changes in the color of your poop. It could turn the poop orange. Parasitic infection is even more suspected if the changes in the color of stool comes with other accompanying symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. (3, 5)
  6. Side effects of medical procedures – some medical procedures cause orange stool such as MRI and CT scan. Do not worry because the color of the stool will return to its usual color after a few days or until the test is completed.
  7. Liver-related diseases – Diseases of the liver can affect the production of bile and obstruct the bile duct leading to orange colored poop. Various factors leading to the obstruction of the bile duct include cyst, inflammation, gallstones, and tumors. (4)

When should you see your doctor?

An orange stool isn’t really a cause for concern unless the diarrhea gets severe or the color of the stool remains orange for a long period of time along with other alarming symptoms. An orange stool that has been going on for a long period of time is an indicator that something is possibly not right in your system.

For this reason, you need to consult your doctor. The more you need to see your doctor if your diarrhea gets severe or if you feel extremely weak and dizzy. These are signs of dehydration and you need to seek immediate medical attention. (5, 6, 7)

How to diagnose orange diarrhea?

The doctor will thoroughly assess your condition to find out what really is causing orange diarrhea. The doctor will ask details about your diet, especially if you consumed colored foods lately like orange and red colored foods. If the doctor cannot directly link your diet in the color of your poop, then additional test should be done.

The doctor will order for blood test and stool test. If the doctor is suspecting digestive problems, then the doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist (a specialist in gastrointestinal disease). The gastroenterologist will perform diagnostic procedures such as CT scan and MRI, especially if the doctor is suspecting bile duct blockage or problem in the gallbladder. (6, 7, 8)

How can you prevent orange diarrhea?

  • If the cause of orange diarrhea is diet, then you need to modify your diet. Limit your intake of foods rich in beta-carotene such as carrots, although carrots are very good for health. If you are not bothered by the color of your poop, then there is no reason for you to modify your diet.
  • If the orange diarrhea is caused by Gastroesophageal reflux disease, then you need to strictly adhere with the treatment methods recommended by your doctor.
  • For you to have a healthy and regular bowel, you need to consume foods rich in fiber. As much as possible, you should limit your intake of foods rich in artificial coloring.
  • You should avoid taking medicines that can cause alteration in the stool color.
  • Keep your body healthy. Avoid vices such as excessive smoking, tobacco use, and drinking alcoholic beverages. Doing this can help improve the overall health condition. Chocolate and caffeine intake should be minimized too. (9, 10)

Orange diarrhea is usually harmless and will subside after a few days. However, if the orange diarrhea does not subside and continues to worsen as days pass by, then you need to seek medical help. Diarrhea along with other alarming symptoms like dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn, and weakness are all indicators that something is not right in your body.

Consult your doctor the soonest time possible to thoroughly assess your condition and determine the underlying medical attention. The doctor is the most capable person to help you with your concerns. (1, 5, 7)


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319464.php
  2. https://www.verywell.com/what-causes-orange-stool-1942943
  3. http://scarysymptoms.com/2012/01/orange-diarrhea-some-causes-are-serious/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/orange-poop
  5. http://www.healthhype.com/orange-bowel-movement-is-it-normal.html
  6. https://safesymptoms.com/orange-diarrhea/
  7. https://www.belmarrahealth.com/what-causes-orange-poop/
  8. https://helpyourback.org/health/orange-diarrhea-what-causes-it-and-how-to-treat-it/
  9. https://www.curehacks.com/orange-diarrhea/
  10. https://www.badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/the-scoop-on-poop/

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