Mucus is a slippery and slimy substance for the lubrication of particular parts of the body. This greasy fluid is released by mucus membranes and glands. It is usually present in normal stools, but in quantities too low to be seen with the naked eye. Without mucus discharge, it would be very hard to pass stools.
Mucus is mixed with the digested food within the colon. It serves as a lubricant and aids in peristalsis. One of its functions is to create a protective barrier to prevent damage to the lining of the colon. The passage of mucus with stools is not really harmful but it may be a sign of an illness or condition that may require urgent medical attention.
Passing stools only with mucus is not as alarming as passing stools with blood and mucus. If you notice fresh blood streaks with mucinous stools, or if you notice the color of your stool is pinkish, you must pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible. There are several conditions which produce extra mucus in the large intestine and force it to come out with stools. The most common conditions include:
Inflammatory bowel disease -- ulcerative colitis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Bacterial infections -- Shigellosis
These are the most common causes of mucinous stools. However it is possible not to have any of the above conditions but still have mucinous discharge. Lifestyle modifications are usually required for the treatment of such cases.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is the inflammation of the large intestine. Bloody diarrhea is one of the most common manifestations of this disorder. Bloody stools with lots of yellowish-white mucus are seen in people who have developed this disorder. It can occur at any age and men and women are at equal risk of developing this disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is usually confused with inflammatory bowel disease. It should be kept in mind that Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not cause inflammation. Diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain are indicative of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Rectal bleeding is not seen in such cases.
Shigellosis is a bacterial infection that increases mucus production. A lot of mucus is secreted with the stools. It presents with moderate to severe diarrhea with mucinous stools. Antibiotics are the treatment of choice in this case.
Beside the medical conditions, eating habits are known to play a role in mucus production and excretion. Unhealthy food and overeating have also been found to cause excretion of excessive mucus with stools. Most people are unaware of the destructive process going on in their digestive tract because of an unhealthy diet.
Change your eating habits and add some healthy food to your diet along with moderate physical activity. This will keep your digestive system healthy. Stools in mucus along with unexpected weight loss can be a sign of chronic disease. You should see your doctor immediately in this case.
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