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What causes orange stools / poo?

Updated on November 5, 2011

If you are reading this I am guessing you are experiencing a case of orange stools, poo or bowel motions, (in fact whatever you want to call them). Quite possibly you have found this article after reading my original article called Have you examined your stools / poo lately? As a result of writing that original article I discovered there are a vast amount of people out there experiencing all different coloured stools / poo, and too embarrassed or self conscious to feel able to talk about this openly, even with medical professionals who could immediately tell them the likely reason for their bowel movements suddenly being strange colours they were not expecting. Most of these people immediately turn to the Internet to find out the reasons, and this is why I decided to follow up my original article with a series of short articles that cover the different reasons for each colour of stool.

Whilst you might find my original article helpful when looking at the reasons for not just the colours of stools / poo, but also the consistency and the odour etc, I hope my mini series on the various colours of your stools /poo will also help to explain what causes these variations in colour.

The Causes of Orange Stools / Orange Poo

Orange stools /poo can be caused by a number of things, much like any unusual coloured bowel motions. The following is a list of things that can cause your stools to turn orange.

  • Foods you have eaten can cause stools to turn orange. A few examples of foods that can do this are: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, fresh thyme, cilantro, artificial orange food colourings, red juices, turnip greens and Kale.
  • Ingesting supplements that include Beta Carotene (occasionally in Vitamin A) or Antacids which contain aluminum hydroxide.
  • An orange stool or poo can be caused by food passing too rapidly through the intestines, ('rapid transit' or 'decreased colonic transit time'). In this instance the bile salts do not have time to gradually turn your stools / poo from yellow through the various colour changes until they are brown. This 'speedy passage' can be caused by conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhea or short bowel syndrome.
  • Orange stools or poo can indicate a lack of 'friendly' bacteria in the gut, which is where probiotic drinks such as Yakult come in useful to help repopulate the gut with the correct bacteria. These 'good' bacteria help the natural bile salts from yellow to brown as the stool passes through the gut.
  • Orange oily stools / poo seems to be commonly associated with people who have eaten certain types of fish, including Escolar amongst others.
  • Your stool could be orange because it is not absorbing enough bile due to blocked bile ducts or a lack of bile being produced by your body. Blocked bile ducts can be caused by cysts or tumors, gallstones or inflammation.

Disclaimer: Please remember only to take this article as a guideline. If you have concerns about the fact your stools / poo appear to have turned orange, then a trip to your Doctor is advised in order to give you peace of mind based on a sound medical diagnosis.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nom nom

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, GuitarGonzo, I will go with genetics on that one ;)

    • GuitarGonzo profile image


      8 years ago

      I want to know what causes orange hair.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL Hubert, yep, I am thinking pumpkins too, although I hope they would not really effect the colour of a person's poo unless they ate nothing else. Glad you found this article useful :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Another useful article. I am sure that many people can be worried about these thing when they or a loved one are experienceing them. Thankful. Awesome , I resisted commenting on orange poop around Halloween. Or did I? I tried.


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