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another mysterious orange oily substance with bowel movement
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another mysterious orange oily substance with bowel movement

I had a triple by pass some three months ago, and for the past six weeks have observed an orange oily discharge with most of my bowel movements.  I took a digital picture of it in the commode this morning, and wonder if I could email it to you for your opinion.  I had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago, and they found no polyps at all, and they checked for blood in my stule and it was negative.

This oily orange substance floats on the top of the water in the commode, and seems to be mystifying every doctor that I have spoken with.....no one seems to have a clue, and I am afraid something may be wrong with my liver, not creating the proper bile to break down my food in the digestive process.....

Help!....Tulanebill

There does no appear to be any connection between the substance and my diet....for example, last night I drank a couple of old fashioned's, but this has happened in the past where I had not consumed any alcohol.....
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Oily or floating stools (steatorrhea) suggests malabsorption or chronic pancreatitis.  I would suggest tests to look for this.

For chronic pancreatitis, one can obtain a plain abdominal film to look for any calcifications.  Serum amylase and lipase levels can also be obtained.  If this is the case, pancreatic enzyme supplementation (using medication) is indicated.

For malabsorption, it would be a good idea to send the stool off for analysis.  A fecal fat test can be done to evaluate for fat malabsorption.  You can also test for celiac disease via a blood test.

You may want to discuss these possibilities with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

***I will be away and have limited internet access from December 26th to January 4th. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.***

Take care,
Kevin, M.D.
10 Comments
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This is most like a gallbladder problem.  This happens to me on occasion. I have a large gallstone.  Stagnat bile backs up in the gallbladder. Then sometimes it's release can be triggered. It looks like an orange cowpile and floats.  Usually triggered by a meal especially high in fat.  Have your gallbladder scnned with ultrasound.  You got it right it is a bile related problem.  I am not a doctor but I know this one.  I have lots of info on this subject if you want it.
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***I will be away and have limited internet access from December 26th to January 4th. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.***

Take care,
Kevin, M.D.
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I'd say the comment above about it being gallbladder related is very likely wrong: the statements of how bile flow behaves in relation to stones is not correct. One thing to consider is any medication or vitamins you might be taking now that you weren't before your bypass. One might also wonder if you are seeing increased mucus; that can be due to inflammation or infection of the colon, or polyps. If no other explanation is forthcoming, a scope exam of your colon might be indicated.
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Hi,

I am a 35 yr old male.I have exactly the same symptom. The oil are droplets floating on the water and they are orange in color. I just had it day before yesterday. Yesterday, I inspected my stool again but the oil droplets are no longer there. However, today, there is blood in my stool which makes the whole toilet bowl red in color but there is no oil droplets. I do have piles and every once in a while there is bleeding but never before does it make the whole toilet bowl redI have mild pain in the lower abdomen. I went to my GP who said I might have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or it could be a viral infection. He just prescribe me some tablets to expel air from my stomach. What should I do? Any further suggestion or info is very much appreciated.

Is it really very abnormal to find oil droplets in stools? What should I do if I have chronic pancreatitis or bacteria infection as suggested?

Thanks a lot.

M.A
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I have this "Oily Orange Bowel". Been having this for about one week now. Also, my other symptoms, are that it seemed like I had the flu. I have a pain in my chest (heartburn?), and imediate urge to take a bowel movement.

I had a surgery last year, a "Whipple Procedure", and was wondering if this is related. For those who do not know, the Whipple Procedure, is where the doctors think you have cancer. Usualy of the pancreas. So they go in, remove parts of your stomach, the head of the pancreas, part of your small bowel, and part of your liver. They remove the whole gall bladder, and then "re-connect" everything.

I have been taking "Nexium" ever since.

Anyone have any idea what is wrong ?
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I am not a doctor, or even close, but i have been experiencing a similar problem. I am in perfect health other than this odd phenomenon of oil in the toilet.  after doing some research i found out that Olestra or Olean (fat substitute/fat blocker) that is used in some low-cal processed foods can cause this effect.

since i have be eating a lot of low-cal ruffles WOW! potato chips, i have noticed this effect.

I just wanted to bring this up in case any of you have been eating something with Olean or Olestra in it.

i also read that it blocks the absorption of beta kerotene, which is in in a lot of orange vegetables, so maybe that's making the oil turn orangey?



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This is probably not very helpful but I too suffered this orange oil. 2 years in trying to explain this to my GI Doc I finally took a sample to him. Apart from the panic look on his face I new I wasn't a normal thing they see.  They sent it off to the lab but said it was contaminated "need another sample".  Three times I did this, all came back "for a re-test".  For three years I suffered this then it just stopped, I never found out what this was and don't think I ever will.  I don't think Doc's know the source of the oil and Malabsortion was ruled out, I've had so many tests all come back normal, the only thing that isn't is me so it seems.  If anyone finds out what this oil is I'd love to know.
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Reading some of comments I can find similarities to my situation.  Years ago I was diagnosed with IBS after loads of different examinations drew a blank.  I put on about 4 stone in 1 year and have difficulty breaking down my food.  It was decided that I could not absorb certain foods and couldn't eat high fibre foods.  After years of problems there is still no conclusion.  I have been noticing this oily film for about a year long with very pale stools and feel tired all the time as I feel malnurished.  The doctors cannot come up with any new ideas and I am on no medication so this can't be associated with the fatty film.

Does anybody have any ideas? It was suggested that I could have a sympton called 'Celiac disease' but have given up trying to find out what's wrong with me.

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I am a perfectly healthy 35 year old female who has also experience oily orange floating on the top of the water from time to time when I have had bowl movement.  There were two types of food that I was eating at the time....WOW chips (with Olestra) and one of those low fat frozen meals that had an orangy sauce on the meat.  When I eliminated these two items from my diet, the oily orange disappeared completely.  I would suggest that you check your diet and see if any of the foods you are eating contain Olestra, dye, etc.  I'm sure there is a simply explanation for what you are experiencing.
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I have also experienced this problem, and have to say that I am relieved to find that I am not alone.  I've looked at the foods I've eaten just before these episodes, and cannot find any common thread.  No new medications common to each event, and I don't have any other strange symptoms.  I'm at a loss to explain it.
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A related discussion, Orange Bowel Leading 2 Pancreatitis was started.
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A related discussion, Orange oil drops in stool was started.
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A related discussion, Oily Orange Bowel was started.
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Sheesh, I thought I was dying or something!  So good to know that I'm not alone here.  However, not very encouraging that there isn't a concrete reason for it.  I do know that the first time I experienced this was after breaking a week long animal product/sugar fast.  I had chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and about an hour after eating, that orangy oily stuff was floating in the toilet. Then tonight, after eating my normal diet (with animal fat), it happened again.  It's just crazy because this is not the first time I've fasted and the oily orange stuff never happened before.  I'm going to keep checking back here to see if anybody comes up with something concrete.  Thanks for sharing your stories. And thank God for the anononymity of the Internet!! :-)
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