Sticky, Oily, Or Greasy Stools

What Causes Oily Stools?

Oily stools can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'needs attention'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose oily stools, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "oily stools" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Giardia
  • Liver Congestion
  • Inadequate Fiber Intake

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
sickness caused by wine
high dairy product consumption
mild diesel exhaust exposure
slightly pale stools
giardia infection
edema of the ankles/lower legs
allergy to chemicals
offensive-smelling stool
significant abdominal distension
anal itching
undigested fat in stools
hemorrhoids
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of oily stools:
Cause Probability Status
Short Bowel Syndrome 99% Confirm
Inadequate Fiber Intake 25% Unlikely
Giardia 3% Ruled out
Liver Congestion 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate irregular stools, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you pass stools that are sticky, oily, or greasy but not black? These often tend to leave streaks or residue down the sides of the toilet bowl after flushing.
Possible responses:
→ No / they are black / don't know
→ Yes, sometimes slightly sticky/oily
→ Yes, often slightly sticky/oily, sometimes very
→ Yes, my stools are usually/always very oily/sticky
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate slightly oily/sticky stools, oily/sticky stools or very oily/sticky stools, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
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