If you have loose orange stools, here’s why a gallbladder problem is not causing this.

“The color of stool normally is brown,” says Akram Alashari, MD, an abdominal and critical care surgeon for Grand Strand Surgical Specialists, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, Myrtle Beach, SC, and author of  THE POWER OF PEAK STATE. “The reason for the brown color is the presence of bile metabolites in the stool.

“Gallstones that pass from the gallbladder to the common bile duct can potentially cause bile duct obstruction. This will lead to absence of bile flow to the intestine and can result in pale colored fatty stool and jaundice.”

Now, what is meant by a “pale” colored stool? This refers to “light grey color,” says Dr. Alashari. “Stool can be gray or clay-colored if it contains little or no bile. This is referred to as steatorrhea.”

“Clay-colored” refers to a light grey hue, says Dr. Alashari, and not (as some people might assume) the dull orange color of a flower pot.

“However, fatty bowel movements may have a “light orange tinge to it, like fatty oil droplets. (Kind of like the color if you had cooked meat, put in the fridge; the next day there is this fatty layer around it; looks pale/light orange tinge).”

He adds: “Also, ‘fatty’ stool is characterized by being malodorous [foul odor], associated with oil droplets, and floats on the surface of the water in the toilet.”

So as you can see, if you’re perceiving what you’d describe as loose, orange stools in the toilet bowl, this probably is not being caused by a problem with your gallbladder. Orange should not be equated with a light grey.

For another medical perspective on the causes of loose orange bowel movements, check out this article. What you see as loose may actually be some diarrhea.