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Having orange oils in stools followed by cramps. History of pancreatitis. Could the symptoms be related?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 3076 Questions
Hello, I have been having orange oils in my stools and afterwards have bad cramps in my lower abdomen. I am 5'5" and weight about 100 lbs. My mom had pancreatitis and had her pancreas completely removed 10 years ago. Could my symptoms be related? I have never had any problems regarding cholesterol levels on my annual doctor visits. Thank you so much.
Posted Thu, 27 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 52 minutes later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX Thank you for your query.

There are several possible causes of your symptoms. This is usually sign of disorder in digestion where regular absorption of fats is disturbed.
This can be found as temporary sign after certain meals and in this case this shouldnt worry you. But if you notice it more often it can be sign of some disease.

Orange oils in stool may indicate celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibroses, underactive bile production and biliary or pancreatic disorders. Cystic fibroses would have some other signs and it would be noticed in childhood so we can exclude it.

Celiac disease can manifest in your age, but this is also usually seen in children and if you don't have diarrhea after gluten consumption,this isn't likely to be celiac.

Inflammatory bowl diseases (crohn and ulcerative colitis) can cause orange oily stools. This is associated with diarrhea, weight losing, abdominal pain and cramping and it usually has periods of normal condition and symptom aggravation.

Now, the most common cause is underactive bile or pancreatic enzymes production. This can be caused by billiary or pancreatic duct obstruction (stones) acute or chronic pancreatitis or hepatitis (viral,alcoholic, autoimmune). So you should start with abdominal ultrasound, liver function tests, bilirubin and amlase/lipase tests. These would rule out biliary,pancreatic and liver disorders. If nothing is found,you should do colonoscopy and food allergy tests. Your physician / gastroenterologist can guide you through the aforementioned test. Off course, these would be needed only if the symptoms are not temporary.

Till then, you should avoid alcohol, fatty and spicy food and take more high fibre vegetables, low fat milk products, fruit and probiotics.
You should also eat more frequently but smaller meals.

Hope this helps.

Wish you good health. If you have any questions I ll be glad to help. Regards
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