What Is Mucus In Stool?
Mucus is a jellylike thick substance that is primarily used by the body to moisten, lubricate and protect your organs and tissues. The digestive tract is usually lined with mucus, which helps the food to pass smoothly through the intestine without getting blocked and the mucus also aids in proper digestion. Without the presence of mucus in the digestive tract, the food that you eat will all get clumped together like clay and will not be able to pass through the oesophagus and the intestines. Mucus is also present in other parts of the body like the throat, lungs and sinuses.
Mucus also helps to reduce the damage caused to the body by harmful viruses, bacteria and fungi and it also protects the stomach and other parts against the acid produced by the stomach, other irritants and harmful fluids.
Many times, you may notice the presence of mucus in your stools, which is very common and is not a cause for concern. And when you are healthy, this mucus is normally clear. It may sometimes be yellowish or white in colour too. However, it may be a reason to worry if there is an increased amount of mucus in your stool, which occurs often, or if there is a change in your bowel habits or if there is blood in the stools.
If there is mucus in the stool which is accompanied by diarrhoea, then it may be a sign of some intestinal infection. However, the presence of bloody mucus in the stools along with pain in the abdomen can be a sign of more serious conditions that need medical attention.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mucus In Stool?
Excessive mucus in the stool accompanied by other symptoms may be an indication of a more serious underlying problem and these symptoms are:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Cramps in the stomach
- Pus in the stool
- Blood in the stool
- Pink-coloured mucus in the stool
- Coffee-coloured mucus in the stool
- Changes in the bowel habits or movements
- Any change in the consistency of the stool
What Are The Causes Of Mucus In Stool?
Excess mucus in stools may be an indication of:
- GI or gastrointestinal problem
- Constipation and dehydration
- Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease causing inflammation in rectum and large intestine)
- Cystic fibrosis (genetic disorder causing sticky thick mucus in stools)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Intestinal infections (bacterial infections caused by Campylobacter, Shigellosis and Salmonella)
- Parasitic infection (trichomoniasis, malaria, tapeworm, etc.)
- Malabsorption (celiac disease, lactose intolerance)
- Anal fissures and ulcers
- Anal fistulas
- Rectal and colon cancer
- Cancerous growth, polyps or tumours in the intestine
- Bowel obstruction (a hernia, tumour, etc.)
- Proctitis (inflammation of the lining of the rectum)
- Food allergies (nut, lactose, gluten allergies)
- Upset stomach
- Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Mucus In Stool?
- Increasing your fluid intake keeps you hydrated and reduces the problem of mucus in stools.
- Follow an organic diet, as organic foods are the best for digestion and prevent mucus build-up in your stools.
- Eat six small meals in a day rather than 3 large meals, as this can help your stomach from getting overloaded and prevent the production of mucus.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Mucus In Stool?
- Avoid being stressed.
- Avoid laxatives, as these weaken the intestines and also make you dependant on them.
What Are The Best Foods For Mucus In Stool?
- Consume a healthy diet that has the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- Eat foods that are rich in probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium like Greek yoghurt, regular yoghurt, kefir, dark chocolate, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, etc. as these foods can help to reduce the mucus in stools.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods that are low-acid and not spicy. Eat foods like vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, soaked legumes and beans, etc.
- Eating a diet rich in prebiotics, probiotics and colourful vegetables and fruits can help to improve your colon health and reduce the build-up of mucus.
- Follow an anti-mucus diet that consists of watercress, celery, seeds, nuts, lemon juice, onions, olive oil, hummus, parsley and vegetables, as these foods help to decrease the mucus production in the body.
- Consume a diet that is high in fibre and carbohydrates like vegetables, lentils, peanuts, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa, barley, rice, millets, oatmeal, etc.
- Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea can help to reduce inflammation of the stomach and reduction in mucus production.
- Having a spoonful of psyllium husk with yoghurt can help to prevent constipation and mucus production.
What Are The Worst Foods For Mucus In Stool?
- Avoid spicy and oily foods as they irritate the GI tract and increase the production of mucus.
- Avoid foods that have histamines or produce them and cause allergic reactions in the body like eggplant, tomatoes, fish, fermented foods and pineapple that leads to the production of mucus.
- Avoid foods like salt, sugar, cabbage, meat, food additives as they increase mucus production.
- Avoid foods that are made from refined flour and sugar such as white pasta, cakes, cookies, white bread, cakes, etc. as these foods encourage yeast and bacterial growth and infections in the gut causing an increase of mucus in your stools.
- Avoid eating too much of dairy products like milk, cheese, etc., fatty foods like chips, burgers, fried foods, etc. and foods containing wheat like bread, cookies, muffins, bagels, etc. if you have mucus in your stool accompanied by a white coating on your tongue.
- Avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages like soda, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, as they irritate the stomach and cause the increase in production of mucus.
- Avoid foods that cause bloating and gas production like citrus fruits, cabbage, beans, etc.
What Are The Medicines For Mucus In Stool?
What Are The Tips To Manage Mucus In Stool?
- Stress can be a trigger for problems like ulcerative colitis and IBS, which can cause mucus in stools. Avoid anxiety and use methods like yoga, meditation and other calming therapies to manage and prevent stress and anxiety.
- If you have mucus in your stools that is accompanied by pain in the abdomen, calming warm water baths or heating pads can offer a lot of comfort.