The Unfortunate Encounter With Orange Oil

Last Sunday evening I was washing some dishes after dinner as usual. As there was nobody else in the kitchen or lounge, I silently “let one out” while finishing up with the last plate. It felt peculiarly warm but I never gave it another thought and proceeded to take a seat at the dining table and read a random page on the paper. Then I noticed this horrible stench. I looked around disgusted. Was it me…? Feeling uneasy, I rushed to the toilet to check.

To my dismay, I discovered in the toilet that some orange-coloured liquid had come out of me  from …um…down under. You know where all your food eventually comes out from. I’m going to try to be as less visual as possible here so as to not affect your appetite….let’s just say I had to throw that pair of panties away and use sanitary napkins for the next few days! I was sure it was oil and that I did not soil myself  instead because it smears like oil on tissue paper and it floats on water as little blobs. And the stench oh my gosh! It reminded me of that horrible white fish oil syrup that my mother forced me to take everyday when I was a kid – Scott’s Cod Liver Oil Emulsion. Only 10 times stronger and nastier!! Eughh…..!

Anyhow, it was that stench that gave me my first clue on why this was happening – fish. Rewind to the day before, I had purchased a large piece of fresh fish steak on special in the supermarket. It was an inch thick Oilfish steak the size of my face (another clue, OIL-fish). Knowing that Terry doesn’t like fish, I asked the fish seller to cut the steak into half lengthwise so that I could eat half for dinner that day and kept the other half in the freezer for later. I microwaved half the steak covered until cooked, drained and drizzled it with some garlic oil and soy sauce. It was delicious – silky, buttery and flavourful. I walloped the whole thing by myself happily.

Then this unfortunate encounter with orange oil the next day.  There was no nausea, vomiting, fever or stomachache. Only very mild bowel movement and gas. And of course the stinky orange oil. I was actually thinking if the Oilfish had somehow hindered my body from absorbing fat thus discharging it as orange oil through my digestive system. Somewhat like the drug Xenical. Or was it draining excessive oil from my body? Maybe I should eat Oilfish more often to lose weight. Yes, I am vain like that. However it still didn’t seem right.

I considered going to the doctor’s but decided to do a little research on Google first. So I typed in the search bar – “orange oil discharge from butt” (don’t laugh!). Lots of forums popped up discussing about this same problem. Some answers suggest that it may be consumption of too much oily food, some say it’s liver damage! Another even claimed that his doctor wouldn’t believe it was oil until he collected a sample to show as proof! I was getting concerned but yet couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to my condition. Very puzzling.

Frozen Oilfish steaks*

Then I found Bob Lonsberry’s online column about his own unfortunate encounter with  the same mysterious orange oil in year 2007. He wrote a hilarious and very visual piece detailing his experience, which was very very similar to mine. And so, being puzzled about his condition and unable to find an answer, he shared his experience on his own radio show hoping someone would enlighten him. I know, talking about this on radio was so bizarre, you’ve GOT TO read his article it’s so funny. Anyway, a caller told him the most likely cause – Escolar fish.

More googling revealed that Escolar is of similar species with Oilfish.


Bob continued to explain that Escolar is very high in a type of wax content that cannot be processed by the human digestive system. Therefore, it is discharged as really smelly orange coloured oil. It is also why Escolar is so buttery and flavourful; because it’s very high in fat content. Apparently it is banned in Japan and Australia while the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of America) advised against consuming this fish more than 6 ounces at a time.  Otherwise, it won’t agree with your body. Read: orange oil  will be discharged from the butt! To think I walloped about 350grams at one go, that’s about 12 ounces! Ironically, most doctors are not aware of this therefore are unable to diagnose the real problem.

Escolar and Oilfish steaks look very similar to cod as you can see in the picture. It is sometimes marketed as seabass, butterfish or white tuna. So be very careful when you see these fish on sale, it might actually be Escolar or Oilfish. I thought I should share this  information as consumption of too much Escolar or Oilfish is detrimental to health. Now I am wondering what I should do with the other half of my Oilfish steak sitting in the freezer. 😦

More information about Oilfish and Escolar here and here.

*Image from:


23 comments on “The Unfortunate Encounter With Orange Oil

  1. nadia says:

    I had no idea eating fish can cause so much … inconvenience. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but happy that you shared it with us so that we learn and be prepared. So how many days before the orange oil was completely eliminated from your system?

  2. ti says:

    tien!!! your post is a perfect mixture of humour + gross-iness + information… now I can’t stop visualising orange oil.. haha! u make me laugh so early in the morning! 😉

  3. Claire says:

    To hopefully make you feel better… I’ve had that too… but it wasn’t from fish oil. It was (what I believe) the orange-y prawn oil from kai see hor fun! I went to see Samreet’s mom when I noticed the stains and she was quite doubtful of my story and kept asking if I’ve been taking any slimming pills. Apparently those pills block out the fat from being absorbed into your body and expels it (and most times it leaks out from you-know-where).

    • Tien says:

      Maybe something in that bowl of “kai see hor fun” didn’t agree with your body. I know which pill she was talking about, I heard a lot of stories. Apparently, the colour of the oil coming out is according to the colour of the food taken….ewwwww!! Poor you, so it’s true that it’s very hard for doctors to believe it..

  4. genn says:

    LOL. That must have been rather… messy and embarrassing. If it makes you feel better, it happens very often to me… because many foods do not agree with my stomach.

  5. vixter2010 says:

    Poor you, what a nightmare!

  6. Meagan says:

    I had the same encounter when I was in Germany. I had something oily at the asian restaurant, but can’t remember what it was. But it’s only lasted for 2 days.

  7. Tien says:

    Yes, apparently it happens when you ate something too oily. Or probably, the restaurant served you escolar…(who knows)….

  8. shinloo says:

    LOL!!! For some reason this is so funny!!!
    The remaining fish in your freezer, just consume one at a time la… HAHAHA!!!
    Oh, and sending my deepest sympathy…

  9. um…. this made me laugh too. im so sorry you felt bad, but it was the sanitary towel comment and the fact that i have the sense of humour of a ten year old boy.

  10. Emily says:

    Hey Tien,

    Long time no see. Enjoy reading your blog…
    I had that to…. and yes the stain does not come off unless you soaked with hot soapy waters. But then the next round it happens i just throw them away.
    I have no idea what i ate to cause this. I got worried too… but thank you for the info.

    • Tien says:

      Hi Emily, thanks for dropping by! Very glad you enjoyed my blog 🙂 I can’t get the stain off even soaking overnight, hot water and all. And (maybe I am too sensitive) the stench just lingers….

  11. Anonymous says:

    i have question, is blue marlin same as escolar or oil fish? because I had the same experience and i know that the fish I ate was blue marlin…

  12. Idua Williams says:

    Oh my gosh, same thing happened to me a few years ago (IN SCHOOL!) I thought that maybe a smelly person was around me, until I realised it WAS me, I thought I was dying and did rigorous research on the internet, then I saw all the fish stuff, and remembered the night before my dad bought some new frozen fish stick things (they weren’t cod, or haddock) so I think it was that weird kinda fish. I’m just glad that it wasn’t life threatening, and went away after about 5 days (I put dryer sheets in my underpants….it kinda worked lol)

  13. Anonymous says:

    So this literally just happened to me….at work. In fact, I’m still at work. But mere minutes before this I was scrambling in a frenzy in the bathroom trying to wash the stain out with soap and water. Luckily I wore a dress today and with a very long cardigan, but in order to clean the oil, I had to quickly strip myself of the dress and try to scrub it out as quickly as possible before someone came in. Same thing for my underwear. Afterwards, I sprayed glade onto the smelly areas and attempted to waft the dress and underwear dry in a stall. Then when I felt the coast was more clear, I proceeded back to my desk and researched this problem, coming across your article after googling “smelly oil from butt” andddd….
    I curse the white tuna sashimi I gave myself the pleasure of eating a day ago. Curses! Of course it would be just my luck…but anyways, thanks for the informative! I’m sure today is going to be one longgggg day -_-

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