What is mucus in stool?
Mucus is a thick, jelly-like substance. The body uses this substance to protect the tissue and organs. It also lubricates the tissue and organs. Mucus reduces the damage caused by bacteria, fungus or viruses and protects the stomach against harmful fluids and stomach acids. A small quantity of mucus in the stool is generally not to be worried about. Normally, stool contains a small amount of mucus — a jelly-like substance made by intestines to keep the lining of the colon lubricated and moist.
But you should talk to your doctor if you notice an increased amount of mucus in stool — particularly if it begins happening regularly or if it’s accompanied by bleeding or a change in bowel habits.
Seek medical attention immediately when:
- There’s a lot of mucus in the stools
- You notice it frequently
- You also notice blood
- You have belly pain
- You have diarrhea
If you have any of the above symptoms, call your doctor
What are the causes of mucus in stool?
Ulcerative colitis is also an inflammatory bowel illness. It’s a long-term disorder that produces inflammation in the rectum or large intestine. When the body is dealing with the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, mucus output increases, which can lead to an increase in mucus in the feces.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur without a medical diagnosis and include abdominal pain, cramping, and abnormal bowel habits. Mucus in the stool may be linked to diarrhea that some people suffer as a symptom of IBS.
Examples of intestinal infections that led to mucus in the stool are salmonella and shigellosis that occurs due to consumption of contaminated food. Clostridium difficile infection can cause severe and even life-threatening diarrhea. It smells very bad and often has mucus.
If you get flu-like symptoms and your stools have blood or mucus in it, you may have food poisoning. It usually clears up within days.
Colon or rectal cancer
Colon or rectal cancer causes symptoms like blood and mucus in stool, rectal bleeding and sudden weight loss.
This condition occurs when the bowel finds it difficult to absorb the nutrients in the body. Other conditions that are similar to malabsorption are lactose intolerance and celiac disease.
How is mucus in stool diagnosed?
The first step in finding is to test a sample of the stool. The doctor has to diagnose and treat underlying problems related to inflammation in the colon.
The stool sample results help to find if the person requires further tests to find the cause of mucus in the stool. The following are the tests usually recommended by healthcare professionals:
How is mucus in stool treated?
Mucus in stool is a symptom of an underlying condition. Therefore, the treatment varies depending on the type of diagnosis. If it is mild, then lifestyle changes play a major role to resolve the issue. Various changes that can be made are:
- Increasing the intake of fluid
- Consuming foods rich in probiotics
- Trying to have a nutritious balance of fiber, carbohydrates and fat
Patients with chronic conditions require medications and treatment.
When is a patient suggested to visit a doctor?
If the mucus in the stool occurs rarely, there’s nothing to worry about . But if the mucus is accompanied by other symptoms, it is advised to consult a doctor immediately. The following are some of the cases that require immediate attention:
What are the key takeaways of mucus in stools?
Most people have mucus in their stools, but it’s usually so little that it goes unnoticed. Mucus in stools may be a sign of a more serious health problem. The patient should speak with the doctor about the other symptoms you’re having, as well as the duration and amount of mucus in the stool, to rule out something more serious. If the doctor suspects an underlying issue, he or she will ask about the medical and nutritional history, perform a physical exam, and order tests.