Orange Poop: Solving The Mystery Of Orange Oil

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Editor's note: This was originally posted on the author's blog. He has submitted it to PoopReport presumably as a public service. You'll see why in a moment.


I've got one for you, Dr. House. See if you can diagnose this.

Oil came out of my butt. Yellowish-orange oil. Lots of it. It was very disconcerting. My wife looked it up on the Internet and figured I was going to die.

Let me take you back.

It was a Tuesday and I got mostly done with work and I was nodding off so I set the timer on my wristwatch for fifteen minutes and laid down on the floor to take a power nap. The nap went well. Then I gathered up my stuff and went to my desk and noticed an odd smell. Not exactly identifiable, but somewhat excretory.

I figured somebody let one.

That's what doctors call it: somebody let one. The act of actually doing it is called "letting one." As in, "Hey, Jim, why do you have that funny look on your face?" To which Jim would respond, "Oh, it's nothing. I'm just letting one."

Anyway, I figured somebody let one. But then I walked to a different place and I noticed the smell again. Ditto for a third location. At this point, I'm figuring that the likelihood of a mystery person following me around and having gas was not very great. At this point, I'm figuring the only constant is me, and maybe I'm the one who smells like, well, like somebody let one.

So I retired to the bathroom.

Where, to my horror, I discovered that something very bad had happened while I was napping.

Something had come out of my butt.

Immediately, I thought of those potato chips in fake oil that are supposed to give you anal leakage.

"Anal leakage." If there's ever a phrase to strike terror in the human heart, that's it.

But I hadn't had any potato chips. I hadn't eaten anything that could have had that fake fat in it. The day before, I had eaten several pieces of wheat bread and a couple of dinner rolls, some broccoli, and a wonderful big fish steak. That's all I'd eaten in the thirty-six previous hours.

No chips.

Well, after attending to matters the best I could, I went to a nearby store and bought a pair of pants.

Don't ask me why.

And when I came back to the bathroom to change into them, I felt like I needed to actually, well, go to the bathroom.

Which is where the oil comes in.

Or, to be more accurate, comes out.

Because right there, right in the toilet bowl below me, was something that looked like Italian dressing. There was the water, and then there were dozens of little floating oil blobs. Yellow-orange oil blobs. Glistening yellow-orange oil blobs. And that came out of me.

Which, all things considered, is kind of peculiar. Because I've never had oil come out of me before. And because, if I remember tenth-grade science correctly, the average operational liver is supposed to make bile, which is supposed to emulsify fat in the digestive system. That means that before anything gets to the point of leaving the body, the fat -- and oil -- probably ought to be pretty much broken down, digested, and absorbed. The fact that some kind of oil should make it all the way through the digestive system intact is not a good thing.

I told my wife about it.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera so she could see it.

But I told her about it. And she spent ten minutes on the Internet before she came to the conclusion that my pancreas was shot and, after suffering a while, I would die a certain death. Either that or I had a malabsorption problem and, after suffering a while, I would die a certain death.

Which is not good news, particularly on a Tuesday.

The next morning I felt a little better. The discomfort was mostly gone and I had some good food in me and I figured it would set things right.

But then I went to the bathroom again.

And I was right back in Italian dressing land.

Which brought us to Thursday: the day my doctor doesn't have office hours.

One of the hardest parts of having oil come out of your butt is that you want to tell people about it but you're not certain who would appreciate having the information. I mean, it's a fascinating thing that I'd never heard of before and I was fairly certain it'd never happened to any of my friends. But when it actually came to hearing about my adventure, people seemed pretty sheepish.

So I had to talk about it on the radio. Certainly, that's an awkward process, especially during the lunch hour, but sometimes what you can't say to another person gets a little easier if you say it to eighty thousand people. So, in delicate terms, I described the oil coming out of my butt. I realize it might be distasteful, but it gets it off my chest and it saves me a twenty dollar co-pay. When you can't get a doctor, the medical opinion of faceless strangers with no medical training whatsoever can be comforting.

Most people thought I would suffer a while and then die a certain death.

But one guy called up and asked if I'd eaten any fish.

I said I had. He asked what kind. I said I didn't remember. It was some kind I'd never seen before, at a fish market, some big chunk of a fish and when I asked what kind it was the name she said made no sense to me but she agreed to cut off a big steak anyway. About a two-and-a-half pound steak.

Big enough to fill my frying pan, and my dinner plate, and my belly.

And it tasted great. It was rich and buttery and just delicious.

And the guy on the phone said it had to be escolar.

Escolar. That's some sort of fish.

A very unique sort of fish, actually. A fish that's against the law in Japan. I mean, the people who came up with sushi say this fish is too much. In 1990, our own Food and Drug Administration came out with an advisory saying that this fish should not be sold. Under pressure, after a few years, it withdrew the advisory because of a lack of evidence that the fish ever actually killed anyone. As it is, the government says about five or six ounces at a time is about all you want.

Here's the problem: the escolar has some sort of digestive problem of its own. It can't break down waxes that naturally occur in its diet, so it stores them as oil in its flesh. It stores a lot of them. Escolar can be almost like eating a stick of butter. Under the right conditions, you can actually set an escolar on fire. It's incredibly rich, and consequently very tasty.

Except for the fact that the human body can't digest the fat and waxes in escolar. Not at all. Our bodies extract the fats, which are liquid at our body temperature, and excrete them through the back end. Sounds simple, really isn't. Sounds disgusting, absolutely is. It's like you've got leaky, stinky vegetable oil coming out of you.

All thanks to escolar.

Turns out most doctors know nothing about this, as it is very rare. Several ask-the-doctor things I found on the Internet seem to have stumped the physicians with the symptoms. No search of symptoms turned up the fish.

But that's what it was. I'm not dying.

I just ate some very odd fish. Which I don't suggest you try.

411 Comments on "Orange Poop: Solving The Mystery Of Orange Oil"

Anonymous's picture

I did have the same experience. and It made me really scared to death thinking that I might be sick to some extent because as I Google for orange-oily stools it suggest of some serious diseases.Thank you for this article. Now I can breath. Good job!

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Dear Anonymous, I have a Filipino friend that I visit without fail every New Year's day to partake of the feast he and his wife prepare. No oily shits for me because I responsibly keep my food intake to cassava cake, shrimp, crabs, lumpia, and that greatest of all Filipino delicacies balots.

He also makes a paste out of fermented shrimp (rotted ?) that if you get it on your finger it smells like your finger poked a hole in the toilet paper while you were wiping.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

OMG! Thank you so much for this info! I'm on vacation in Hawaii and I'm staying with my Filipino friend. Needless to say, I've been fed enough fish to last me the rest of my life. When I saw that oil I was mildly amused until I thought I might be dying. Good to know that I will not be dead from malabsorption or organ failure. They have different terms for their fish, so I have no idea what I ate. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to remember hearing the name "butterfish". Hmm. Yeah. That could do it. Now if I can just get past some of the other food that I feel obligated to consume, I will definitely survive.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, ate escolar at a restaurant last night and just ten minutes ago found I have what you are explaining. Thanks for posting this, was pretty funny to be honest.

Anonymous's picture

I had this, but the only fish I'd recently had was salmon and it was a good two days before I started having these problems!

Anonymous's picture

Similar thing happened to me and I don't eat fish.

Anonymous's picture

I had yellowfish... the bastard! My parents were convinced I'm dying of liver disease or something, but thank god I found this site. Now I can't stop laughing!

Anonymous's picture

I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for this laugh,. I have read such funny crap! Tears are streaming! And as of last night, I too have passed oil...There, I said it. No fish for me though; I think it is from my new cashew addiction, which as of now, no longer exists. God, I hope it stops soon. I was hoping to get lucky tonight!

Anonymous's picture

Thank you so much!

For three nights I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me, it was really embarrassing and I had to closely watch my bowel movements. I finally got tired of it and came across your story and remembered that I had escolar for an entire week!

I can finally feel better knowing it's just the fish. Thank you so much!

Anonymous's picture

I believe that it's from veggies and veggie chips or just an unbalanced diet.

Anonymous's picture

I just had this happen this morning, I ate an entire can of cashews over the last days or so. Cheap ones too, not sure if that matters. This morning I pooped out an oil slick that would make the captain of the Exxon Valdez proud.

Anonymous's picture

Oh my god! Thank you for this post!!!!

I had the same experience the whole week and I was wondering if I was going to die. I felt so lonely at some point.

"One of the hardest parts of having oil come out of your butt is that you want to tell people about it but you're not certain who would appreciate having the information. I mean it's a fascinating thing that I'd never heard of before and I was fairly certain it'd never happened to any of my friends. But when it actually came to hearing about my adventure, people seemed pretty sheepish."

Yeah I agree 100%!

Thank you. Just because of this stupid fish that I bought in this Asian market! Never never again. I should have thought of it. It kind of smells like fish this weird orange thing in the toilet.

When did you started to feel normal again?

Anonymous's picture

I ate the best canned albacore tuna I've ever had last night, pooping orange oil today, can't trust anyone these days!

Anonymous's picture

OH MY GOD! Thank you!!!!!!!!

I honestly thought I was suffering from this weird and embarrassing digestive track disease that was going to make me suffer for the rest of my life!

It happened to me once a couple of years back from a not so fresh looking Cod steak I consumed. It happened again today When I had some dubious looking canned sardines... hmm...

FISH! THANK YOU! I feel so much better now!

Anonymous's picture

Had a big chunk of this fish for dinner last night and the same thing happened to me today. I have exams tomorrow so I'm quite worried that it might be a problem in the exam hall.

Anonymous's picture

So funny, and useful. My 3 year old started to poop oil on vacation in Hawaii after eating a ton of fish.

The problem is the fish is many times mislabeled and many think they are eating tuna, walu, etc. when in fact they're eating this escolar. thanks for the info and the laugh!

___________________________________
Moderators note;

Thank you for your contribution but if people are eating walu they are eating escolar. Walu is the Hawaiian name for that fish.

ChiefThunderbutt

Anonymous's picture

I feel so concerned about this. It's my first day to be in the same situation. Can you please share what you did to stop it?

Anonymous's picture

Jesus FUCKING Christ.

I threw up after having the same experience. I went to this famous seafood restaurant and, well, I had the same thing. It tasted so great, I thought the waiter deserved a 50% tip. Now I see orange grease and am freaking out.

Anonymous's picture

It's been happening to me for the past several days after eating wahoo at a very fancy restaurant! I hope it goes away soon!

Anonymous's picture

Bob Lonsberry, thank you so much for writing this article. My son and I are very fond of Sushi, and I totally love this white tuna, butter fish or oil fish as it's also known. But I have never reacted to it like that, until today, Sunday. You saved me a trip to my family doctor, and lots of worries and concerns. Your article is very well written and put together.I also appreciated your sense of humor. I have no words to express my appreciation but an honest thank you for writing this article.

Anonymous's picture

I hope it was the fish but I don't know what fish I ate. I had it for dinner the day before yesterday and breakfast yesterday.

I didn't have this situation when I went to the bathroom after breakfast yesterday. But last night I smelled something fishy and saw it was weird when I had to poop. And now when I woke, I had it again which has got me scared now. Thank you very much! I really hope it's the fish. Would there be any other reason? Please let us know when you know more. By the way, how many times did you have to go while still seeing the orange oil? How long before it stopped?

Anonymous's picture

I didn't have fish either and it just happened to me...

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

This is posted as a reply to Anonymous who posted on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:53;

You possibly need to shop for fish somewhere else. It shouldn't stink.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for this post, I actually have the same problem but I ate blue marlin fish. I searched for it on the internet and it kinda look the same when it's cut so thanks. It really does stink!

Anonymous's picture

Ate orange roughy and oil is everywhere in my toilet. Freaked me the hell out. I hope it doesn't happen again!

Anonymous's picture

I know this is a really old article, (that I stumbled upon looking up "emulsifiers")...

Jesus, I thought I was going to die laughing reading the story, and then I read THIS comment!! I did die then. I can't type this easily because I shake when I laugh.

Mary, wherever you are now, thank you for the funniest flippin thing I've heard (visualized) in 10 years!

Anonymous's picture

Strange, I had the same problem but I don't eat fish. How interesting (hard trying to have a civilized conversation about poop).

Anonymous's picture

Ally pills can also cause these side effects, omega 3 pills as well!

Anonymous's picture

Thanks Bob, I feel relieved.

Just had the orange oil myself today. Yesterday I had 2 piece of Gindara Steak (Japanese food). I guess the fish is the cause.

Anonymous's picture

I got very worried. Now I felt like farting (which for me is a different feeling than feeling to take a crap) - Sorry for that I am not a native English speaker and cant think of any better synonym right now.

So I farted, and what I farted was a yellow light brown liquid (maybe oily) substance... It happened to me again only once before some months.

Both times I did not sleep at night and maybe I ate canned tuna fish with vegetables - in the same can as well. I say maybe because I was almost sure about the 1st time and certain about this time(2nd time).

I feel fine, though. This time I had a small burning sensation in my upper stomach, but I get those from time to time when I eat sweets. Having an empty stomach should be cause of excessive acid.

you thing i gonna die?

Anonymous's picture

Very useful story, but it's a little too long if you have to read it when you think you are actually dying. I had the fish here in Chile, and it seems it came from Ecuador. Never again. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous's picture

Cheezles. That's all I have to say, people.

Anonymous's picture

I had a big piece of escolar yesterday for lunch and to make matters worse I had some rice mixed with duck confit and andouille sausage. This morning as I had the yellow smelly oil ruin my underpants. Had few more movements and oil is still there but less each time. I will not be having escolar again anytime soon.

Anonymous's picture

It's ridiculous how many people get this.
I ate a ton of sashimi last night now I'm crapping funny smelling oil. Tho no digestive trouble, just a headache.

Thanks for the info dude! Awesome resource.

Anonymous's picture

How about too much butterscotch fudge? Anybody think that could be a culprit? lol! Also, does anyone get a pain in their right side just below the ribcage? The gall bladder is already history so that's not it. And it burns like a son of a gun too! If I could turn around and hug my tushy to comfort it, I would so do it. Anyone try immodium as a combatant with success? I hate to cuz it really screws things up but I hate the idea of bringin' my pillow and blanket into the can with me even more. I also have a defunct lower sphincter due to a particularly difficult delivery (so much so that it turned my hair prematurely grey at age 27!)so leaking is such a complete understatement in my case. Who else utters the phrase on a weekly basis,"God I hate my digestive system!!!"
Happy pooping one and all!

Anonymous's picture

Oh my gosh. I am in the midst of having the exact symptoms you describe, down to the color of the "oil droplets". Three nights ago, while dining in Las Vegas, I had the fish special. It was called "walu", and I'd never heard of it. It was delicious. I just googled it and found it is a type of escolar. Thank you for your frankness--you saved me a trip to the doctor and a sleepless night!

Anonymous's picture

I heard some supplements and weight loss pills can cause that, if it can be any help.

Anonymous's picture

right now i am having this problem and i didnt eat fish i was wondering can it be from the pumkin seeds i was easting this is really driven me crazy and it nasty that this is happen to me

Anonymous's picture

this is happening to me right now but with orange roughie hope it goes away soon :( and very funny story

Anonymous's picture

Thank you so much for this information.. I also thought I am about to die i am so afraid to tell my husband and ran to the internet first to gather some info good thing i found your article. this fish should not be sold anywhere in the world.

Anonymous's picture

You saved me a visit to the doctors. Thank you!

Anonymous's picture

My daughter ate some butter fish which I purchased at an upmarket seafood store called SeaFresh Innaloo in Western Australia. I pan fried it for dinner - she loved it so much she had my portion as well and immdiately started the 'orange oil' syndrome. She's had to miss school and suffereing stomach cramps and headaches for the past 3 days. I feel such a fool and wished the fishmongers had warned me about it first. FISHERIES WA THIS FISH SHOULD BE BANNED!!!!!

Anonymous's picture

I ate 'albacore white tuna' yesterday, canned in Thailand. (Was it 'escolar' then?) and even though I didn't have the orange droplets this time -I've seen them before- I recognized the bad smell.

Thanks for your article, and... Amazing sense of humour!!!

Anonymous's picture

Thank you sooooo God damn much. I thought I was dying too haha.
This was more helpful than I could explain in words. I have a tendency to freak out to the point that I had the whole house worried. Lol. And the way you wrote it had me laughing. Thanks man. I can't wait till I tell others.
My dad is on his way to Pakistan and he'd be worried the whole journey.
Thanks again

Anonymous's picture

I just had this happen this morning. I had binged on Pringles Fat Free potato chips and I read that they can cause this!

Anonymous's picture

its the snow bass. i had some and it killed me. it was pretty good, though

Anonymous's picture

Dude you simply rock!!! Write extremelly well and answered a question that i was looking for!!!! Laughing my orange oil off!!!!hahahaha

Anonymous's picture

Well I have never ate any other kind of fish besides catfish from the market and the occasional fish filet from McDonalds. So why do I still have this yellow oil coming out of me? I have never noticed the smell...or I could never go to class or work. This has been happening for a good month. On and off however. I just want to know that I'm not going to die. :) please answer if you know more!

Anonymous's picture

thank you very much for this info, I have the same problem with this post, last nite I went with my friend to the chinese buffet , and i have a fish steak, i have no idea what kind of fish that was, it was white and taste like butter, I took a big piece, the size of my plate, this morning I experience the same thing as this post, I was dead worry, because i have existing bleeding ulcer in 2007, all took care of, but this morning I was very nervous when I saw the oily poop, like Italian dressing, thank you very much, I will watch my diet the next couple of day, and see. I will not eat that fish again.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for this post. I just ate this fish this noon and I had the same 'encounter' as yours just minutes ago. I got worried so I tried to look for answers in the internet and I was lucky to have read this post.

Yes the fish is very tasty but you'll never notice that grease is leaking out of you until you start smelling something fishy.

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