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Mucus in your stools is something that happens every time you go to the bathroom, but if you notice that the amount is starting to increase, you may be dealing with something much more concerning that should be addressed immediately.

A common concern in the clinics are frequent bowel movements, but another perhaps even more cause of alarm in patients would be a noticeable change in the consistency and color of their stools. Patients may notice that their stools have become more "slimy" or "watery" but is this indeed a cause for concern or is it just something that naturally occurs. Here, we will explore some of the reasons of mucus in your stool and what you need to do if you find yourself with this condition. 

Is Mucus a Sign of Something Dangerous? 

When it comes to mucus in your stools, what a lot of people do not realize is the fact that every time you have a bowel movement, there is a small amount of mucus present in the toilet bowl at the end of your efforts. Mucus is a natural lubricant that our body produced to help pass the fecal matter through the anal canal. If we did not have this mucus, it would be much harder and more painful to try to get the stool out of the body [1]. 

Even if it is not a certain pathology when you find you have mucus in your stool, when you start to notice increased amounts of mucus, this is when alarm signals should begin sounding in your head that something could be wrong. Several potential causes of increased mucus production could lead to long-term complications if you are not proactive and try to get treatment as soon as possible. I will present a few key possible causes of your increased mucus production and what steps you need to do to make sure that you are not at an increased risk. [2]

Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis 

One of the first thoughts that a physician will have when they hear a patient complaining of increased mucus production in their stool would be some chronic bowel disease. These two conditions, Crohn's disease, and Ulcerative Colitis are two of the likely pathologies associated with increased mucus production [3]. Since 1970, the prevalence of both Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis has doubled in the Western world [4]. It is thought to be due to the deterioration of diet in this population with a lack of proper fiber, chemicals in foods and genetics

Both of these conditions are associated with inflammation and sores that develop in the intestinal tract. The pattern and how severe these infections are is the chief differential between what pathology you may have, but the similarity is that you will have increased mucus production in both of these cases. Patients can expect to have a combination of abdominal pain, increased mucus production, blood in your stools and chronic diarrhea. 

If you are unlucky enough to be dealing with either Crohn's disease or Ulcerative colitis, you need to act fast to try to limit the significance of this pathology. You will need to go to a gastrologist and have colonoscopies to biopsy the tissue in your intestine to make a proper diagnosis. Thankfully, there are several new medications introduced on the market in recent years that can relief flare-ups of these symptoms, but in severe cases, surgery to remove the involved parts of the intestine may be the only option. [5]

Bowel Obstructions 

Even if UC or Crohn's disease are two potential factors that need to be considered, most of the time, it will not be the "doomsday" scenario and the diagnosis could be more benign. Studies suggest that bowel obstructions are another possible cause of increased mucus in stools, so it is something to consider as well. If you are routinely eating a poor diet low in fiber, you predispose yourself to have issues with constipation that could easily result in bowel obstructions. That is why it is imperative for you to have frequent bowel movements and target foods that increase bowel movements

Mucus is produced in this case as an attempt by your intestines to help move the fecal material through your intestinal tract. The more mucus that you produce, the more likely you will be able to displace the obstruction. Dietary changes and laxatives are the keys to treating this type of pathology. [6]

Infections and Inflammation 

The last possible cause of increased mucus in your stool that I will focus on could be from inflammation or infections along the intestinal tract. Anal fissures can lead to bleeding and tearing, as well as localized infections that can cause mucus glands to be overactive. The same holds true if you are suffering from a gastrointestinal infection. 

Anal fissures are associated with painful bleeding so if you do not have this symptom, it is likely that you are just suffering from a bacterial infection instead. Some of the time, this will resolve on its own but it is still wise of you to go to your doctor for an antibiotic prescription to help treat the infection. [7]

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