Mucus is a jelly-like substance that is used by the body to lubricate and protect delicate organs and tissues. It can lessen the damage caused by fungi, viruses, or bacteria.
Mucus also has the power to protect an individual against stomach acid and various other harmful irritants or fluids. Besides that, it’s common to find mucus in stool as well.
In a healthy person, mucus is pretty clear and appears in smaller amounts. You might not get the chance to notice it. But if you frequently see mucus in your stools, it might be a sign/symptom or a health condition.
What Causes the Mucus to Appear in Stool?
People will witness mucus in their stools for countless reasons. Some of these are:
IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome]
IBS, popularly known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a chronic but common disorder in the gut. It can cause some changes in bowel movement and also cause abdominal pain. The symptoms of this condition become a lot worse if you’re:
- Recovering from stomach bugs
- Extremely stressed
- Consuming certain types of food products
- Having a menstrual cycle [in women]
People suffering from IBS will have other health conditions, such as
- TMJ [Temporomandibular Joint Disorder]
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
IBS is not a cancerous or severe threat to a person’s health but has a massive impact on the quality of life. Doctors recommend anti-diarrheal medications and antispasmodics for treating the condition. You might also have to opt for behavioral therapy to lessen the stressors.
Another issue that causes mucus in stool is lactose intolerance. It occurs when you cannot digest lactose, which is known as the primary carbohydrate in all the dairy products, such as ice cream, cheese, milk, etc.
People who suffer from lactose intolerance don’t get to make the enzyme lactase, which helps digest lactose. You will experience the symptoms after consuming any dairy product within 8 hours.
Lactose intolerance can also occur because of intestinal infection, old age, and genetics. The best treatment for this condition is to avoid food products that contain lactose. Otherwise, you can take lactase supplements when eating dairy products.
You might see mucus in stool when you suffer from anal fissures, which are tears in the anus’s lining. Anal fissures take place when passing hard bowel movements.
The majority of the fissures heal by themselves. But some need medications to accelerate the healing and lessen the pain. To prevent anal fissures, you need to make sure that you have a soft bowel movement.
You can easily do so by consuming plenty of water and following a balanced diet, and if it’s required, you can also use stool softeners.
This is an autoimmune response to the gluten present in the gut. Gluten is a type of protein that you will find in barley, wheat, and even in the rye. When you consume gluten, it damages the lining of the small intestine.
This condition can lead to diarrhea and bloating and will also make it difficult to absorb all the nutrients. People who suffer from Celiac disease will also witness mucus in stool, feel fatigued, and will lose weight.x`
They will also develop frail bones, anemia, severe skin rashes, and mouth ulcers. The doctor will diagnose this condition through endoscopy and blood testing. The treatment option here is to avoid gluten food products.
The doctor might want to check whether or not you’re absorbing the vitamins. They do so by testing the blood levels to make sure that you have normal nutrient levels.
The doctor will also monitor your bone health through bone scans and blood markers and will also make sure that the Vitamin D is getting absorbed.
This is an intestinal obstruction, which occurs when the intestine gets twisted. It can lead to severe pain and other symptoms. You will see mucus in your stool and also some changes in bowel movements.
Some of the risk factors of this condition are congenital defects, scar tissue due to past surgeries, and increasing age. To treat the condition, you have to opt for surgical procedures to untwist the intestine or opt for a colonoscopy.
When to See a Physician?
You must book an appointment with a physician if you experience the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent diarrhea
- Blood in stool
It’s pretty normal to find mucus in the stool as it helps in passing it easily. But if you frequently witness mucus during bowel movements, you have some health conditions.
You should speak with a physician to know what is causing the mucus to occur. Doing so will help you receive a treatment that will not just treat the mucus issue but also give you relief from the condition causing it.