Mucus is a substance that helps stool move through the intestines, but is usually produced in low amounts, just enough to lubricate the intestine and be mixed in the stool, not easily observable with the naked eye in the vessel.
Thus, when an excess of mucus in the stool can be observed, it usually indicates the presence of an infection or other alteration in the intestines, such as intestinal ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome, for example, it is important to consult a gastroenterologist to make a complete evaluation and identify if there is any problem that needs to be addressed.
1. Food intolerance
Food intolerances and allergies, such as sensitivity to lactose or gluten, cause inflammation of the walls of the intestine when food comes into contact with the mucosa, leading to an increase in the production of mucus, which can be seen in the stool.
In these cases, other symptoms such as belly bloating, diarrhea, red spots on the skin, excessive gas or constipation may also occur.
- What to do : If there is a suspicion of having an intolerance to some type of food, it is important to consult a gastroenterologist to test for intolerance. See 7 signs that may indicate gluten intolerance and when you suspect lactose intolerance.
Gastroenteritis occurs when some type of microorganism, such as a bacterium or a virus, infects the stomach and intestines, causing excess mucus in the stool, severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and pain in the belly .
Typically, this type of problem arises due to the consumption of contaminated food or water, but it can also happen after prolonged use of antibiotics, since good bacteria are eliminated from the intestinal mucosa, facilitating the development of more harmful ones.
- What to do : usually gastroenteritis does not need a specific treatment, just keep the home at home and ingest a lot of water to avoid the dehydration caused by diarrhea. In addition, the food should be light, giving preference to well-cooked and low-fat foods. Here's a diet that should be done in these cases.
3. Irritable bowel
The irritable bowel causes an inflammation of the intestinal mucosa that increases the amount of mucus in the stool. Although it can happen in all cases of irritable bowel syndrome, mucus is more common in people who have long periods of diarrhea.
Other common symptoms of irritable bowel sufferers include excessive gas, bloated belly, and periods of diarrhea alternating with constipation, especially during periods of high stress or anxiety.
- What to do : If there is already an irritable bowel diagnosis, try to avoid excessive stress by participating in leisure activities, but also to eat more carefully, avoiding the consumption of coffee and foods that are too fat or spicy, for example . If only irritable bowel is suspected, one should go to the gastroenterologist to see if this is indeed the problem. Check out the treatment possibilities to reduce irritable bowel discomfort.
4. Crohn's disease
Crohn's disease is a chronic intestinal disease that causes constant inflammation of the walls of the intestine, resulting in signs like mucus in the stool, but also severe abdominal pain, fever, bloody diarrhea and weakness.
Although there is still no specific cause for Crohn's disease, this disease can occur at any stage of life, especially if there is a decrease in the immune system. See which symptoms may be a sign of Crohn's disease.
- What to do : Usually treatment for Crohn's disease includes changes in eating habits such as controlling the amount of fiber ingested and reducing the amount of fats and dairy products. Watch this video for more tips on relieving symptoms:
5. Intestinal obstruction
Intestinal obstruction occurs when something stops the passage of stool into the intestine. Therefore, the most common causes include hernias, bowel twitching, ingestion of some type of object or even a tumor in the gut.
In these cases, the mucus is produced in excess to try to push the stool, which end up not passing and generating other symptoms such as belly bloating, intense abdominal pain, excess gas and decreased amount of stool.
- What to do : Bowel obstruction is an emergency that needs to be treated to prevent serious complications such as bowel dilation or rupture. Therefore, if this problem is suspected, you should go to the hospital immediately.
6. Anal fissure
Anal fissure is a relatively common problem that involves the presence of a small wound in the rectum, causing exaggerated bowel movement, with symptoms such as diarrhea, mucus in the stool and abdominal pain. In some cases, constipation may occur instead of diarrhea.
Generally, anal fissure occurs in people who have difficulty defecating due to the presence of hard, dry stools that dilate the sphincter and cause injury.
- What to do : The most important thing in these cases is to maintain adequate intimate hygiene, but you can also take a bath to relieve pain and pass ointments to heal the fissure more quickly. See some examples of ointments used in treatment.
7. Ulcerative colitis
This is a bowel disorder that causes the presence of ulcers in the intestine and constant inflammation of the mucosa. Thus, in people with ulcerative colitis, it is common for feces to be accompanied by blood, pus, or mucus.
Other symptoms that help identify a case of ulcerative colitis include diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, skin lesions, and weight loss.
- What to do : It is usually recommended to increase fiber intake, through foods such as papaya, lettuce or chickpeas, for example, to make the stool bulky and less hard. In addition, remedies may be needed to relieve abdominal cramps or even diarrhea. Learn more about how treatment is done in cases of ulcerative colitis.
When mucus in feces can be dangerous
In most cases, the mucus in the stool is not a dangerous situation, almost always representing an easy to treat situation. However, if excess mucus arise associated with other symptoms such as:
- Stool with blood or pus;
- Abdominal pain very intense;
- Exaggerated abdominal bloating;
- Constant diarrhea.
It is advised to go to the hospital or make an appointment with the gastroenterologist because it may be a sign of a more serious cause such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or even cancer.