However while going to the toilet is good in supporting the proper functioning of the body, the quality of the wastes that we remove could also signify if the person is healthy or suffering from an internal illness. The presence of mucus in the stool can be a good indicator.
Why is there mucus in my stool?
Seeing mucus in the stool may not be the most attractive thing to see or feel in the morning. Mucus, however, plays an important part in lubricating our intestinal tract and colon for problem-free pooping and, coats our digestive tract from possible bacteria and germs. Much like the mucus in our nose, mouth and upper respiratory system, mucus provides a certain protection. Hence, mucus in the stool, especially in minimal amount should not cause one from getting paranoid no matter how gross it may look like.
Mucus in the stool can appear white or yellowish.
Too much in mucus in the stool and sometimes accompanied by blood and yellow pus indicates something more serious.
Why mucus in the stool occurs
The gravity of the mucus in the stool depends on the underlying causes. In some instances, one can determine the seriousness of the amount, color and blood. Of course, when there is too much mucus and is quite off, going to the doctor for consultation should be prioritized.
So what are the possible causes of mucus in the stool?
1. IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Having mucus in the stool may be a manifestation that the person is either suffering from diarrhea or constipation. The former is called IBS-D while the latter IBS-C. When IBS occurs, the person may feel stomach cramps and bloating. In IBS, the intestines and colon are affected too.
Infection may arise from consuming meat, water and other food contaminated with bacteria and parasites that can infect the intestinal lining which leads to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pains and the presence of mucus in the stool. Living also in cramped, dirty spaces make people susceptible to falling ill due to viruses, bacteria, and germs.
Some types of viruses and bacteria that can contaminate the food and water that people consume are astrovirus, norovirus, rotaviruses, shigellosis, and Helicobacter pylori.
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
While the manifestations of IBD are the same with IBS such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation (or a combination of the two) and excessive mucus in the stool, the root cause is more serious as it could signify that the person is suffering either from Crohn disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Both also means that the body is suffering from a weak immune system or an on and off inflammation. For the latter, rectum and lower intestines have sores while the former indicates the abnormal functioning of the immune system leading to inflammation.
When this occurs not only does the person experience mucus in the stool and other manifestations such as abdominal pains, diarrhea and uncontrolled loose bowel movement, but the person also suffers from bleeding anus or rectum lining. Proctitis is due to several factors such as STD (sexually transmitted disease), radiation therapy, untreated IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) and infections.
5. Blockage in the bowels
This happens when an obstruction in the bowel happens due to an allergic reaction to certain types of food, not getting enough hydration and temporary abnormalities in the stomach. Either constipation occurs or when poop is flushed, excess mucus is present.
How to diagnose
If the presence of mucus in the stool worsens and you start feeling feverish and see blood mixed with the poop, immediately go to the doctor not only for proper treatment but also to diagnose the real reason.
Several diagnoses are available for those whose condition borderline severe to extreme. The doctor may recommend a stool sample or a blood sample. Other tests that could be done to fully determine the cause are endoscopy and colonoscopy.
Ultrasound may also be used to determine the cause. In ultrasound, images of the internal system are captured through sound waves.
Contrast anemia is similar to barium X-ray wherein an ink called barium or iodine is applied to one’s colon using a thin tube inserted to the anus. The inked portion of the intestines and colon will show up on the x-ray image.
Depending on the gravity of the mucus and the root causes, there is various simple to surgical methods that people who are afflicted can avail – of course depending after the doctor’s diagnosis and advice.
Example of treatments include:
- Dietary of lifestyle change. Those who have an allergic reaction to certain kinds of food should eliminate them from their diet so as not to irritate their digestive system. Incorporating more fiber-rich food as vegetables and fruits help.
- Consume non-inflammatory foods. While spicy food tickles the palate, it can irritate the gut so try to limit your intake of highly spicy and super acidic foods.
- Use of antibiotics. In some instances, for example, IBS or infected caused mucus in the stool, antibiotics can heal or at least reduce the symptoms. Consulting the doctor is important in the appropriate type of anti-biotic.
- Taking supplements and probiotic. Probiotics are good for the healthy tummy, hence taking it regularly would help those who often have problems flushing out wastes from their system. Some over the counter organic supplements too are helpful for those who often suffer from constipation or diarrhea.
- Taking medication. Those with serious types such as caused by IBD, Crohn’s disease or Proctitis can use over the counter medication, after getting the doctor’s diagnosis and advise that is.
- Surgical treatment. This treatment is on the extreme side; this is often recommended for those who already suffer greatly from rectum ulcers or bowel blockage.