Mucus in Poop: 15 Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments.
Mucus in poop can be a terrifying experience as we tend to think of all sorts of problems in our body. So, let us explore its causes, diagnosis and treatment in this article.
When people think about mucus, the first thing their thoughts turn to is what their nostrils or mouth produce when they have a cold or a cough. Mucus is a natural and vital substance in your body that helps it function.
Your body tissues produce mucus to help protect and line your nose, mouth, gut, lungs, sinuses, and throat. However, what does it mean when there is mucus in poop?
First, it is important to note the appearance of mucus in poop in minor amounts is normal. The reason for the appearance of small traces of mucus in poop is because; this jelly-like substance is present in your intestines.
It helps keep your colon’s lining lubricated and moist. Mucus also helps line your digestive system, and it acts as a protective coating against bacteria. However, the presence of too much mucus in poop is a cause for alarm since it signifies that there is a problem with your body.
So what differentiate normal and abnormal production of mucus in poop? Abnormal production of mucus in stool is when there are large amounts of mucus in stool or a change in colour like pink mucus in stool including pus or blood in the stool. However, other signs and symptoms accompany abnormal mucus in poop, and they include:
- Belly pain
- Abdominal Cramping
- Rectal bleeding
- Decrease or increase of your bowel movements
- Abrupt changes in the frequency and constituency of your stool
The above signs and symptoms are an indication of other underlying issues and can indicate a specific condition. Once you observe abnormal mucus in poop, then it is essential to go to the doctor and get diagnosed and discover the underlying medical condition.
What causes the excessive production of mucus in poop?
15 Causes of Mucus in Stool:
There may be something in your bowel preventing it from functioning appropriately. The obstruction of your gut can lead to slimy poop and excess inflammation.
The cause of bowel obstructions can be dehydration or constipation. To treat it you can improve your water intake and allow proper functioning of your bowels.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a long-term condition, which affects your large intestines. This condition causes slimy poop. The main symptoms of irritable bowel movement are diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating. The causes of this condition are unknown, but the symptoms can be managed.
Food allergies can also be a cause of mucus in poop. Eating food that is associated with gluten, lactose, or nuts causes the increase of gas and mucus in stool. Some of these food items can also cause discomfort along with symptoms of Bloating, constipation, rashes, and Diarrhea
It is a chronic condition that affects your digestive track. Crohn’s disease causes inflammatory patches especially around the ileum, a section of the small intestines. The common signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease are a reduction in appetite, Bloody stool, gas and mucus in poop, and Diarrhea.
The condition anal fistula appears when the lining of your lower rectum has a tear. The tear on the lining of your lower rectum comes about because of prolonged diarrhoea, painful bowel movements including constipation, or tough poop. However, when the condition is left untreated, this condition can cause mucus in poop.
Intestinal infections also cause slimy poop. Intestinal infection can be caused by the food we eat. For instance, if you eat food that contains bacteria like salmonella or shigellosis. The most likely result of eating food contaminated with such bacteria is slimy poop.
Colorectal cancer merely is the colon or rectum cancer. This type of cancer starts either in your rectum or your colon. However, the typical symptoms of these two conditions include the presence of blood in your poop, unexpected weight loss, and rectal bleeding. Presence of mucus in poop is also a possibility.
Malabsorption issues happen when your bowel does not correctly absorb various nutrients provided by the food you eat. Some of the conditions that arise from malabsorption issues include Celiac disease and lactose intolerance.
Celiac disease affects your body’s ability to absorb the available nutrients. This condition can also lead to the presence of mucus in poop. Lactose intolerance is a condition that is brought about due to the absence of lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose the nutrient present in milk. People suffering from lactose intolerance often experience slimy poop.
Bacterial, Parasitic, and viral infections often increase the amount of mucus in poop. Bacterial infection mainly occurs when people eat contaminated food. Some other symptoms of bacterial infection include vomiting, stringy poop, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic medical condition that affects the production of mucus in your body. The disease causes an accumulation of thick, sticky mucus in the digestive system and lungs. Accumulation of thick, sticky poop results in the presence of abnormal gas and mucus in stool.
Like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis is a chronic and inflammatory disease, which affects the digestive system. However, the main difference between the two conditions is that colitis affects the large intestines.
Anal fissures are the actual tears that appear on the lining of your rectum. Anal fissures are a result of inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease.
Proctitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the rectum. The cause of Proctitis is anal trauma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and infections.
Ulcers have similar effects like anal fissures. They cause sores to the stomach and erode the mucous lining of the stomach.
Mild food poisoning:
Sometimes mild food poisoning can increase the mucus in poop.
Diagnosis of Mucus in poop:
Like mentioned earlier, once you observe plenty of slimy poop, it is necessary to visit the doctor for a diagnosis. If your doctor thinks that the presence of excessive slimy poop is closely related to a health condition, then a stool test will be required.
The stool test taken by the doctor to determine your diagnosis is known as a stool sample or stool culture.
A stool sample is meant to determine whether your body has an infection. When taking a stool sample or stool culture, you do not require any preparations. All you just have to do is put a sample of your stool in a container, which the doctor will give to you.
The doctor could also recommend other diagnosis methods depending on the symptoms you experience.
Some of the additional tests you may be required to take include:
- Ultrasound: A doctor recommends an ultrasound test to help him/her determine whether the presence of pink mucus in stool is an underlying issue with the organs inside your stomach.
- A contrast enema: In this test procedure, the doctor fills your colon with a liquid that contains barium or iodine. The doctor inserts a thin tube inside your body through your bottom. The liquid in your colon helps your intestines appear clearly on the X-ray image.
- Colonoscopy: This investigation uses a thin, flexible tube that contains a camera. The doctor inserts the tube inside your body to look at your colon.
- MRI: The MRI scan uses powerful radio waves and magnets to help create pictures of your organs.
- Blood tests
- Urinalysis: This test procedure uses a sample of your urine.
- Endoscopy: This test procedure uses a thin flexible tube that contains a camera at the end which assists in examining the upper part of your digestive system.
The clues that come from the diagnostic tests are what help the doctor come up with an adequate diagnosis and treatment plan. However, if the reason for the presence of gas and mucus in stool is still uncertain, then additional tests are required.
Treatment of Mucus in Poop:
The treatment for excessive slimy poop depends on the diagnostic results. Some conditions will require medicine while others will not. For instance, slimy poop that comes about from mild food poisoning requires an intake of plenty of fluids.
However, once you obtain a diagnosis, you and your doctor should discuss the best treatment methods for that condition.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that your diet dictates the health of your body. An unhealthy diet will have a negative effect on your body. According to research studies, food plays a vital role in the production of mucus. For you to have reduced the presence of mucus in stool, you should adopt an anti-mucus diet.
The anti-mucus diet comprises of the following items:
- Plenty of fluids
- Avoiding foods, your body is allergic to
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
You should also ensure you eat food that produces or contain histamine-like pineapples, tomatoes, and fermented foods among others.
Remember that the presence of mucus in poop should not alarm you. However, you should carefully observe it and visit a doctor if you experience the above symptoms, becomes regular, or the mucus in poop increases.