Orange mucus in stool can make you really worried as you might start thinking why is it happening. So, let’s explore why it happens and how to treat it.
The presence of mucus in stool can be an alarming occurrence for a majority of people. However, there is a small amount of mucus present in stool. Mucus is a jelly-like substance, and it can have either a colourless or a white appearance. An amazing fact about mucus is that the body produces approximately 1 to 1.5 litres every day.
Functions of Mucus:
Understanding the importance of mucus in our bodies is important when learning why orange mucus in stool is not a great sign. Mucus is an essential substance and necessary in helping the body function properly.
It is composed of a mixture of salts, mucin (a protein component), and water. Mucus is secreted into the digestive and respiratory system through cell linings.
Once it reaches the digestive and respiratory system, it serves the following functions:
Lubrication: Mucus helps to moisten and lubricate the linings located in the respiratory and digestive systems. It keeps the lining present in both body systems from drying up. It also helps reduce friction from the digestive system.
Digestion is a complex process, and the presence of mucus helps to oil the intestines, which are the digestion process engines. In the digestion process, mucus helps the food run through the digestive system in an effective manner.
Protection: Mucus also acts as a protection fluid. It acts as a mechanical barrier, which protects the delicate cells located in our intestine and stomach lining. The delicate and special cells in the stomach are responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is corrosive and dangerous to these delicate cells.
To protect these delicate cells, the stomach walls secret thick mucus that acts as a barrier.
Defence: Mucus contains antibodies, vital proteins, and enzymes that help protect your body from bacterial organisms and assist in fighting off infections.
Therefore, the presence of mucus in stool is necessary. Nevertheless, there are some cases where the colour of mucus can change from white or colourless to another colour. The change of mucus colour in the stool is an indication that there is a problem with the digestive system.
When the mucus in your stool changes from white or colourless to yellow-orange mucus in stool, green, or dark red then there is an issue in your digestive system that requires diagnosis.
If you detect such changes in the colour of your stool, you should consult your doctor. Your doctor will help evaluate and find out the underlying issues in your digestive system.
Apart from the change of colour, sometimes mucus in stool can exceed the normal range. This means that your stomach walls are producing too much mucus.
The presence of too much mucus in stool is an indication of gastrointestinal disorders, for instance, diarrhoea, food allergies, and amoebic colitis among others.
The change of colour and quantity of the mucus in stool is one of the methods doctors use to test whether the digestive system has a problem not easily identified.
Causes of Orange Mucus in Stool:
The presence of yellow-orange mucus in stool occurs due to the following reasons:
Currently, medication is manufactured with the use of dyes to help give it a colourful coating. The dyes used to colour the pills and tablets help in enhancing the appearance of the medication.
The consumption of medication that contains an orange dye colour affects the colour of the mucus in stool. In most cases, the colour of the mucus changes from colourless to orange mucus in stool.
When the colour of mucus in stool changes, it primarily indicates the change in a diet. Sometimes eating nutritious foods with an orange colour also changes the colour of mucus in stool. For instance, the excessive consumption of orange carrots changes the colour of the mucus in stool from colourless to orange.
The change may not be large, but it does affect the colour of mucus in stool. Also, consuming foods that contain an orange dye helps to speed up the colour change of mucus to orange coloured mucus stool.
The consumption of foods rich in Beta Carotene and Aluminum Hydroxide also cause the change. Examples of such foods include Kale, Spinach, and Fresh Thyme among others.
The discharge of mucus in stool is one of the symptoms of a bacterial infection. Certain types of bacteria like shigella, salmonella, and campylobacter affect the intestinal tract lining causing its inflammation. The inflammation of the intestinal tract lining changes and causes the lining to produce excess mucus.
The excess mucus is later expelled out in the stool. The inflammation may cause bleeding due to the damaged the bacteria have done to the intestinal tract. There may appear orange mucus in stool since the bacteria may also blend with the mucus.
Irritable bowel syndrome:
Irritable bowel syndrome is a long-term condition, which affects your large intestines and can cause the change of mucus in stool colour. Apart from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis can also cause the excessive explosion of mucus in stool.
The excessive production of mucus is visible in every bowel movement. In ulcerative colitis, the small ulcers present on the intestinal walls often bleed, and then the mucus produced carries with it pus and blood. This leads to the mucus in stool changing to orange mucus in stool.
The various diagnosis of Yellow Orange Mucus in Stool:
Diagnosis of orange coloured mucus in stool is performed in the following ways:
Physical examination is a helpful method when checking whether there is tenderness or swelling in the abdomen. If the lower left part of your abdomen is swollen, it could be a possible sign of ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome.
A blood test helps the physician draw a conclusive diagnosis on why you may passing orange mucus in stool. The test helps to detect whether amoeba antibodies exist in your bloodstream. However, in some cases, the detection of amoeba antibodies does not help provide a concrete diagnosis of orange mucus in stool.
Stool microscopy or test is helpful in trying to determine whether bacteria are present in your body. The test is, however, performed for dormant blood but if the results are favourable, the diagnosis can help indicate whether orange mucus in stool is the result of ulcerative colitis or a small or big intestine infection.
Radiological investigations include colonoscopy and Barium Enema. The two procedures are effective in determining whether the orange mucus in stool is from a recurrent problem or consistent bleeding caused by various gastrointestinal conditions.
Treatment Methods for Orange Mucus in Stool:
The presence of orange-coloured mucus stool is a symptom or an indication that your digestive system has underlying disorders.
For instance, if you have a gastrointestinal problem resolving it will help change the orange mucus in the stool back to its normal colourless colour. It will also help reduce the production of the excess mucus present in stool.
However, to change the orange mucus in stool colour, treating the condition is the first step. Before using any treatment plan, ensured you consult with your physician first. However, other effective methods apart from medication help change the orange mucus in stool colour.
Drink plenty of water:
Water will help keep the intestinal lining moist and reduce the amount of mucus produced in case of an infection or a problem with the digestive system. When the mucus produced is thin, it helps to trap the bacteria effectively. It also expels the bacteria easily out of the intestines.
The use of antibiotics is an efficient method to help treat orange mucus in stool. Antibiotics help in fighting and killing the germs present in the intestines. They also help reduce the swelling in the intestines caused by bacterial infections. However, before using antibiotics ensure your doctor prescribes them to you.
Consuming food that changes the colour of your stool from colourless to orange does not harm your body. If you observe that eating certain types of food rich in Beta Carotene and Aluminum Hydroxide gives you orange coloured mucus stool, then there is no cause for alarm.
You do not require any treatment. After all, these types of food are healthy and help your body perform specific functions effectively.
Using herbal remedies is also an effective method to help treat orange mucus in stool. Using the bayberry root helps reduce the swelling in the intestines. It also helps reduce the excess production of mucus in case of an infection.
Another herbal remedy that helps treat orange mucus in stool is cinnamon. Cinnamon helps reduce intestinal inflammation and prevent the excessive production of mucus in stool.
It is important to remember that the orange mucus in stool is not always an indication of a digestive problem. Sometimes your diet is a contributing factor to the orange mucus in stool. First, observe whether what you are eating is changing the mucus colour in the stool, if that is not the reason then consult a doctor.