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Digestive Disorders

Oily bowel movements? why??

09/22/2000

Question:

Just today I`ve been having oil in my bowel movements. I have never seen this before and went to the doctor but she didn`t know either. There is actual orange oil beading on top of the water in the bowl. ??

I`m not taking any drugs, and for the last five weeks have been eating primarily albacore (raw and cooked), steamed or raw veggies, baked potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, grapefruit. I have had almost no salt, sugar, or fat. No dairy. The only thing I`ve added recently is Stevia for sweetening, and 2 days ago I had some fish that tasted not "off" but unpleasant to me. I ate a couple of bites raw (sashimi) and a couple cooked.

I would appreciate any help you could give me!

Answer:

The presence of oil in a bowel movement is an unusual finding but one episode is likely to be due to something you ate. If oily bowel movements continued for several days to weeks, or if it was associated with abdominal pain or a change in bowel habitis (constipation or diarrhea) then I might consider further testing. You certainly have an atypical diet and I am not an expert on the specific components of the raw fish (sashimi) nor what Stevia is. I would guess that you ate something that was undigestible and not absorbable.

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Response by:

John D Long, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati