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We can all agree that having an orange diarrhea is fairly uncommon in people of all ages. Our stool is brown, and this is why most people jump to all sorts of conclusions and think of the most unlikely, life-threatening scenarios.
Before we go any further, you need to make sure your stool did not mix with the urine, because when you urinate at the same time, the color of your stool might change and get a lighter shade of brown. Some people might even confuse it with orange.
If something as banal as urine, or diet is what’s causing changes in your stool, you should postpone your doctor’s appointment. If, on the other hand, this change in color persists even after you’ve eliminated these causes, especially if it’s paired up with discomfort in your stomach, you should see a doctor just to be on the safe side.
What Does A Normal Stool Look Like?
This might come as a surprise, but a stool can tell us a great deal about your health. For example, if your stool is dark, chances are you don’t have enough iron in your body; a black stool, however, shows that there is a hemorrhage somewhere in your digestive system.
A healthy stool is solid and firm, shaped like a slightly curved letter “S,” and brown in color. The color is one of the main telltale signs something is wrong.
It might be interesting to know that, as the food advances through our digestive system, it will change color a couple of times! But, eventually, it will come out as brown poop.
Causes Of An Orange Diarrhea
Though orange diarrhea is uncommon, there are a lot of factors which can cause a color change in your stool. One of these causes is stercobilin. Stercobilin is a brown-orange-red bile pigment contributing to the color of your poop and your urine.
Bile is a fluid stored in the gallbladder and produced by the liver. It helps with digestion and might affect the color of your stool.
In addition to these, most common causes of an orange stool are:
Foods You Eat
When talking about food coloration, we need to differentiate natural and artificial causes. One of the natural ingredients in food responsible for the orange stool color is beta carotene. This is, of course, not a matter of concern as beta carotene is very healthy.
BC is a pro-vitamin of vitamin A; it’s also an antioxidant and widely recommended supplement for strengthening the immune system.
And if you don’t want supplementation, these are foods naturally rich in beta-carotene:
- Winter swash
So, if you eat any of these foods in large quantities, chances are your stool(diarrhea) will become orange.
As for the artificial food colorations, most prominent ones are those used in soda. So if you’ve consumed an orange soda in excessive amounts, your stool might change its color. Of course, this is also not dangerous nor it will affect your health negatively, but it’s important to note it as a likely cause.
Treating this particular cause is very easy, all you need to do is modify your diet. And, in the case of artificial coloration, cut back on it, or eliminate entirely. Of course, if your poop is orange because of beta carotene, you shouldn’t do anything about it because it is good for you!
Digestive Problems (IBS and SBS)
Digestive problems, characterized by stomach pain, cramps and problems with bowel movement can lead to orange diarrhea as well.
The main reason for this color change is the speed at which the food passes through our digestive tract. For example, if you have an obstruction somewhere in your bowels, the food might not move regularly and take too long to reach your colon. On the other hand, if the food passes too fast, your body will not be able to absorb enough bile salt, and your stool will likely change color.
As for the digestive system diseases, we are going to mention IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and SBS (short bowel syndrome). These are the disease commonly affecting older individuals (rare in people under 40).
So, how do you know if you’ve got any of these diseases? Well, if you are not a medical professional, it will be hard to diagnose, but here are some of the most common symptoms to tell you something is wrong.
IBS symptoms are:
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Discoloration of the stool
- Diarrhea or constipation(changes in bowel movement)
- Stomach swelling
- Lethargy and depression
- Pain during sex
You can find out more about dealing with IBS in our previous article Flat Poop – IBS and Polyps.
SBS symptoms on the other hand are:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Some people have difficulties breathing
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
The good thing about this disease is that it’s not that dangerous, but it is usually chronic, annoying and it is not easy to get rid of it all together.
The disease affects the esophagus sphincter ( a sphincter is a circular muscle which closes a natural orifice), loosens it and allows for the bile to run up to your throat/mouth. Another problem here is the food which is not digested properly.
This is a relatively common condition (especially in today’s day and age) and also affects younger individuals. Its most common symptoms are:
- Heartburn and
- Sweet taste in one’s mouth
The treatment for GERD is relatively straightforward, but it is hard. Especially because it will require changes in diet and lifestyle (if you don’t modify the things you eat and drink, you won’t get very far).
You need to avoid anything too salty, too sweet, pretty much all junk food, and alcohol. Alcohol is particularly problematic as there is a direct link between it and the rising of your bile.
In addition to these dietary changes, your doctor might prescribe medication. This drug will help reduce your stomach acid and make you feel better within minutes of taking them.
For those of you who don’t have medication, you can try baking soda. Baking soda has a long history of being used to battle heartburn and increased levels of stomach acid with a proven track record of success.
Medications and supplements
Certain medications and supplements can change the color of your stool to orange! One of this drug is antibiotic Rifampin; it is used for tuberculosis, leprosy, legionaries disease, etc…
As for the supplements, adding too much vitamin A to your diet might affect your digestive system and turn your stool orange. Of course, you can easily address this issue by cutting back on the supplementation you take.
Another common cause of orange diarrhea might be an antacid with aluminum hydroxide. But it will only affect the color of your stool if you use it day after day for a longer period.
Parasites rarely affect the color of your poop, but it is a possibility. A cause of this parasitic infection can be found all around us, from the water we drink to the bus we sit in.
Also, certain organisms are living in our digestive system. Changes in the populations of this organism can lead to a state where our body is fighting them, and the result is an orange stool.
This is an inflammation affecting our large intestine. One of the most prominent symptoms of microscopic colitis is a watery stool, which may or may not change its color. In some rare cases, it may turn orange.
There are two main types of MC:
- Collagenous colitis – an inflammation where a thick layer of collagen develops in the tissue of the colon
- Lymphocytic colitis – a condition where the number of white blood cells (lymphocytes) increase in the tissue of the colon
As for the cause, the doctors still can’t entirely agree; some think it’s caused by a virus, while others think a weaken immune system plays a crucial role here.
Other common symptoms are:
- Pain in stomach
- Rectal bleed and diarrhea
In most cases, the pain will go away on its own, but we need to address the other symptoms and the inflammation, of course. In addition to the medication your doctor will prescribe, you will need to alter your lifestyle.