Why Is My Diarrhea Oily?

3 common reasons you may be experiencing oily diarrhea. 
There are many different causes of oily diarrhea in both children and adults. Some may be more of a nuisance while others can indicate a serious condition. Educating yourself about the reasons this can happen will allow you to determine if you should seek out medical intervention. 

Oily bowel movements or diarrhea are indicated by oil droplets which float in the toilet water, stools that may have white or yellow fat in them or stools that float (this is caused by a large amount oil in the stool). Some people have even reported orange or waxy bowel movements. If you notice this is happening then it is important to be aware of the many causes so you can seek out medical help if necessary.

Here are the most common reasons you may be experiencing oily bowel movements or diarrhea-

  • Caused by foods-You may be surprised to learn simply by eating certain foods can cause this condition. Most often the culprit behind this problem is fish. There are 2 fish that are commonly the reason for this to happen. Escolar and oil fish are the by catches (often caught up in the nets of common fish) from many different fisherman. These fish are known to have an indigestible type of fat which is referred to as wax esters. This can build up in the rectum and when the body will not tolerate any more then an oily diarrhea can be the result. 
  • Caused by medications-There are a number of different drugs which can cause this to happen. Before you begin any new medication, you should check with your pharmacist to see if this is a common side effect. One of the most common reasons individuals have this happen is when they are taking the drug known as Orlistat. This drug is most often prescribed for weight loss. The drug Alli is the brand name version and can be bought over the counter. This drug works by inhibiting an enzyme called lipase which is released from the stomach and pancreas. The gastrointestinal system needs lipase to break down fat. In effect, this drug causes fat mal-absorption. This is the reason many users of this drug find they have oily bowel movements and diarrhea.
  • Caused by medical conditions-There are a number of different medical conditions which can also cause this to happen. Some of these conditions include but are not limited to: cystic fibrosis, celiac sprue, inflammatory bowel disease, acute or chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. If you are experiencing chronic oily diarrhea along with other symptoms of any of these conditions you should immediately call your doctor. Because these medical conditions are serious anyone who is dealing with chronic diarrhea (oily or not), will need treatment in order to resolve this. Do not let fear or embarrassment keep you from seeking medical treatment. Keep in mind the earlier a diagnosis is made the easier and more effective treatment can be. 
Further Reading:
Common Causes of Oily Diarrhea 
Diarrhea May Be Another Sign of Fecal Incontinence Caused by Colorectal
Fecal Incontinence- Symptoms and Treatments 

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