Mucus is a clear watery substance that is present in the human body in different parts. It is secreted from mucus glands and mucus membranes. The primary function of this substance is the protection and lubrication of different organs of the body.
A mucus membrane is present in the lower part of the digestive system, stretching from the large intestine to the rectum. These membranes secrete mucus when needed. Mucus plays an important role in the digestion and lubrication of the food: it is impossible to swallow, digest, and excrete food without mucus.
Diseases that cause excretion of mucus with stools
Mucus is not normally excreted with stools. However, patients suffering from certain gastrointestinal disorders tend to complain of mucinous stools. Digestive system disorders that cause mucus to excrete with stools include:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders that cause stools with mucus. The signs and symptoms that you've mentioned are indicative of IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a digestive tract disorder characterized by alternate bouts of diarrhea and constipation. IBS can be caused by several reasons including eating unhealthy food, a sedentary lifestyle, and chronic diarrhea or constipation.
Patients suffering from IBS are often found to have increased mucus production. This excessive amount of mucus is released with the stools. The mucus is usually white but can also be yellow. Fortunately, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not an inflammatory disease. This is the reason why people suffering from this disorder do not experience blood in with their stools.
On the other hand, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are inflammatory disorders that may lead to severe complications. The main symptom that differentiates irritable bowel syndrome from ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is bloody diarrhea. Patients suffering from inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders usually complain of bloody diarrhea, pain while defecation, heartburn, and lower abdominal pain.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is made by looking at a patient's medical history and a physical examination. No specific lab test or surgical interventions are required to make the diagnosis of the disease. However, it is extremely important to get the following tests:
Helicobacter pylori test
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The purpose of these tests is to make sure that the patient is not suffering from any severe diseases like colon cancer. IBS can be treated easily by controlling your diet and changing your lifestyle.
Treatment and Prevention
Non-inflammatory conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, are easier to control than diseases that do cause an inflammation in the colon. It should be kept in mind that in order to control a digestive tract disorder, you need to modify your lifestyle. Eating a healthy and balanced diet all the time is that key to getting rid of gastrointestinal disorders.
IBS can easily be treated with lifestyle changes including diet and exercise. There is no specific treatment for ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Patients who experience disturbing symptoms are treated symptomatically.
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