BOSTON, MA – Bright red blood per rectum suggests active gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, and black tarry stool suggests a brisk upper GI bleed. But what about orange stool? A rare case report published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine teaches us that it is due to the excessive intake of Cheetos.
A 25-year-old Boston graduate student presented to student health services with a complaint of bright orange stool per rectum. For a week, he noticed traces of bright orange stool on the toilet paper with wiping. “It kind of looked like a napkin after you wipe hour hands from eating Doritos all day,” the student told his health care provider. But he didn’t eat Doritos all day.
Detailed history-taking revealed a variation of the college and graduate school diet, one that involved near-total consumption of Cheetos.
“You know when you eat too many beets and your urine and stool turns purple?” asked Dr. Matthew Bryan, a gastroenterologist who subspecializes in orange stool. “It’s the same exact principle. Except its Cheetos and its orange.”
The medical term for this rare condition whereby stool turns orange due to consumption of Cheetos is called Cheetochezia. Incidentally, this patient did also endorse bright orange-tinged urine, which is called Cheetosuria. If this patient had the same symptoms but in the context of Doritos consumption, the terms would be Doritochezia or Doritosuria.
If one cannot determine if orange stool is due to Cheetos or Doritos, experts recommend using the more general term: Frito-Laychezia.
What is the treatment of Cheetochezia?
“Lay off the damn Cheetos, man,” Bryan explained, who hates having to clean a colonoscope caked in Cheetos. “Grab some fruit, an apple, a banana, an avocado, but seriously, lay off the Cheetos. That’s just too many! Orange stool, that’s… that’s just not natural.”