What Are Other Common Causes of Orange Mucus?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Pneumonia is the most common cause of orange mucus.
Pneumonia is the most common cause of orange mucus.

Orange mucus is not a common symptom, but it is usually caused by a very severe infection. Mucus coming from the mouth during coughing or from the nose could be caused by pneumonia or a sinus infection that has grown very serious. Occasionally, infections in the vagina can result in orange mucus if they go untreated for extended periods of time.

The most common cause of orange mucus is pneumonia, which is a respiratory infection in the lungs. It can cause trouble breathing, wheezing, and a severe cough with mucus. Typically it can be treated when caught early, but when left untreated symptoms may worsen. Initially, infectious mucus is yellow, off-white, or sometimes brown in color. Occasionally it will also be tinged with blood. Orange-colored mucus generally only occurs when the infection has been allowed to grow for a long period time.

Tomato products, oils and other foods can sometimes cause mucus to appear orange temporarily.
Tomato products, oils and other foods can sometimes cause mucus to appear orange temporarily.

Sometimes orange mucus may come from the vaginal area due to severe bacterial vaginosis. This is an infection caused by naturally occurring organisms in the vagina. Although vaginosis is usually easily treated, severe infections may recur or be harder to treat. Vaginal infections may cause itching, burning, irritation around the vulva, and discharge which is colored and has a foul odor.

A severe vaginal infection can cause orange mucus in the vaginal area.
A severe vaginal infection can cause orange mucus in the vaginal area.

Most infections do not become severe enough to cause orange mucus. It is advised that medical attention be sought as soon as infection symptoms become noticeable so that proper treatment can begin. Antibiotics are the most common treatment for infections, although the type used will depend on the bacteria causing the problem.

It is important to rule a few things out before assuming a severe infection is present. Mucus coming from the throat or nasal passages can sometimes be colored by certain foods or beverages. Oils, tomato products, sodas, and other items can temporarily alter the color of mucus in the throat and nasal areas. Blood can also tinge mucus an orange color in lesser infections because mucus is naturally yellow in color.

As several types of bacteria can cause an orange vaginal discharge, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine what type of antibiotics should be taken when such a discharge occurs.
As several types of bacteria can cause an orange vaginal discharge, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine what type of antibiotics should be taken when such a discharge occurs.

Boils and other skin lesions may also ooze a substance which can appear dark orange, brown, or red in color. It is often oily and may have a foul odor. This is usually caused by blood cells forming in the area to help fight off the infection. Sometimes this substance will be mixed with pus, but it is not mucus itself. Mucus is generally thicker and stickier in nature, which this substance will be thin, oily, and sometimes watery. Anything draining from an abscess or open wound should be considered highly contagious.

Orange mucus can occur due to several ailments, including allergies, colds, and sinus infections. In some cases, orange mucus can also implicate a more serious condition, such as liver disease or cancer. 

If you are concerned about your orange mucus, it is best to speak with a doctor to find out the cause. In the meantime, this article will provide you with a few known causes of orange mucus.

Allergies

Allergies can cause your nose and throat to produce extra mucus. This mucus may be clear, white, or yellow. In some cases, it can also have blood, making it look orange.

Suppose you are one of the 19.2 million people suffering from allergies. In that case, you might also experience common symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes, which can occur due to food, pollen, or other allergens.

Colds

Colds are caused by a virus that infects your nose and throat. Like allergies, they can also cause your body to produce more mucus. 

The mucus is usually clear or white at first, but it can turn yellow, orange, or green as the cold progresses. You might also have a sore throat, a fever, and a stuffy nose.

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections occur when the sinuses become inflamed. Allergies, colds, or bacteria usually cause it. This mucus is typically yellow or green, thick, and sticky. 

In more severe cases, it may turn mucus orange. You might also have a fever, a headache, and facial pain.

Liver Disease

Liver disease can cause your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow. It can also cause your urine to turn dark. Liver disease can also cause your mucus to turn orange in some cases. 

If you have liver disease, you might experience other symptoms, such as fatigue, appetite loss, and abdominal pain.

Cancer

Cancer can cause many different symptoms, depending on the type and stage of the disease. In some cases, it can cause your mucus to turn orange or be tinged with blood. Other symptoms of cancer include fatigue, weight loss, and pain.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can produce orange mucus as well. When the body’s natural pH is off-balance, it can create an environment conducive to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. 

The result is a foul-smelling discharge that may be any shade from light yellow to orange. Other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include itching, burning, and pain during urination or sex.

Skin Lesions

Skin lesions caused by cutaneous diseases can also cause orange mucus. When the skin is damaged, it can release a substance called histamine. 

This substance can cause your blood vessels to dilate, increasing mucus production. If you have a skin lesion, you might also experience other symptoms, such as itching, redness, and swelling.

How to Treat Orange Mucus

The treatment for orange mucus will depend on the underlying cause. For example, if the orange mucus is due to allergies, colds, or sinus infections, you can try home remedies to relieve your symptoms.

These home remedies include taking over-the-counter medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and using a humidifier. 

If your orange mucus is due to a more severe condition, such as liver disease or cancer, you will need to see a doctor for treatment.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, orange mucus is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own. However, there are some cases where you should see a doctor. 

If your orange mucus is accompanied by a fever, shortness of breath, or severe pain, you should see a doctor right away. These symptoms can be signs of a more serious condition and may require medical treatment. 

Medicinal Treatment

Severe bacterial vaginosis may cause orange mucus from the vagina.
Severe bacterial vaginosis may cause orange mucus from the vagina.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. However, antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, so they will not help if your orange mucus is due to a cold or the flu. On the other hand, chronic illnesses are treated with a customized treatment plan created by your healthcare team.

Wrapping Up

If you’re experiencing orange mucus, it’s essential to treat it right away to prevent the condition from worsening. In some cases, such as with allergies or a cold, the cause is harmless and will resolve with proper rest and treatment.

However, in other cases, such as cancer or liver disease, the cause is more severe and will require medical advice for proper management.

Discussion Comments

anon1005772

I've got orange mucus right now, I've been sick for almost two weeks. Thought it was a virus (COVID/Flu) for the first week, then got better for a couple days. Late last week, some symptoms came back. Low grade fever all day, congestion, and the orange mucus started. Orange only happened one other time in my life and it was when I had a pretty rough infection in college.

anon954264

There is also black or charcoal colored sputum caused by breathing polluted air or soot.

anon319927

I was sick for a few days and had lots of yellow mucus coming from sinuses but as my symptoms (fever, headache, dizziness, aches) have started to disappear, but the mucus is now orange.

anon242779

I have orange mucus. I guess this is bad, huh?

John57

Eew, orange mucus. I have to say, I've really luckily never had to experience this. Other colors, sure -- I get some really crazy green mucus when I get a cold or sinus infection, but orange? Thankfully not. I think I would completely freak out if I suddenly started having some. Well, at least after reading this I could narrow down the cause!

golf07

There are other colors of mucus too. I know green mucus can be a sign of a sinus infection. A lot of times it starts out as yellow mucus, but as the infection in your body gets worse, turns a green color.

Mucus usually helps filter particles in the air, but different colors of mucus usually mean you are feeling miserable and you need some kind of treatment to clear it up.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Pneumonia is the most common cause of orange mucus.
      By: vbaleha
      Pneumonia is the most common cause of orange mucus.
    • Tomato products, oils and other foods can sometimes cause mucus to appear orange temporarily.
      By: hitdelight
      Tomato products, oils and other foods can sometimes cause mucus to appear orange temporarily.
    • A severe vaginal infection can cause orange mucus in the vaginal area.
      By: Monkey Business
      A severe vaginal infection can cause orange mucus in the vaginal area.
    • As several types of bacteria can cause an orange vaginal discharge, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine what type of antibiotics should be taken when such a discharge occurs.
      By: Zsolnai Gergely
      As several types of bacteria can cause an orange vaginal discharge, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine what type of antibiotics should be taken when such a discharge occurs.
    • Severe bacterial vaginosis may cause orange mucus from the vagina.
      By: isyste
      Severe bacterial vaginosis may cause orange mucus from the vagina.