White Mucus in Stool
White mucus in stool is considered normal by medical experts until it starts showing up frequently. Know what could mucus in stool indicate and what is the treatment measures.
Mucus is basically a jelly like substance which is produced by the intestines and is naturally present in stool, ergo passing it during bowel movement is a normal process. However, doctors also say that if the amount of mucus prominently increases with time, and is accompanied by bleeding or other bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, etc., then this significantly warrants a medical checkup. Note that, the mucus does not have to be necessarily white. It may be clear, yellow or green.
Conditions that May Cause White Mucus in Stool
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This condition affects the large intestine. Apart from the presence of mucus in stool, other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include abdominal pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea and bloating.
Treatment – treatment aims at relieving the symptoms. Mostly, certain changes in diet and lifestyle are good enough to manage the condition. But severe cases require treatment with medications such as anti-diarrheal drugs, drugs to relieve bowel spasms, antidepressants, and sometimes even psychological counseling.
When the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed, the condition is known as Crohn’s disease. Apart from causing diarrhea, abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, and ulcers, this inflammatory bowel disease may also cause mucus and blood in stool.
Treatment – this condition has no cure, so the treatment aims at asymptomatic relief. Most doctors prescribe drugs that reduce inflammation. Some patients may also be put on drugs that suppress the immune system, so as to reduce the inflammation. To manage the symptoms of the condition, anti-diarrheal drugs, pain killers, and laxatives may also be prescribed.
Another kind of inflammatory bowel disease associated with white fluffy mucus in stool is the ailment known as ulcerative colitis. This occurs when part of the digestive system is chronically inflamed, and ulcers form on the lining of the colon. Bleeding may occur in these ulcers, accompanied by the production of pus or mucus, which may be eventually passed in the stool. Symptoms other than mucus, may include rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, fatigue, and dehydration.
Treatment – the main goal of the treatment is to control the inflammation, and manage the symptoms. For this, anti-inflammatory drugs, and medication to manage diarrhea, and pain are usually recommended. Antibiotics could also form a part of the treatment to control or prevent infections. If conservative treatment options come of no help, then surgery to remove the entire colon and rectum could be recommended.
Sometimes it may happen that a part or all of the tissues that line the rectum slide out of place; sometimes sticking through the anal opening. This is known as rectal prolapse. Commonly, straining during a bowel movement, which usually happens in constipation, causes this condition. And one of its common symptoms is leakage of stool covered in mucus or blood from the anus. Other symptoms include a bright red tissue sticking out of the anus, anal pain or bleeding, and feeling of incomplete evacuation.
Treatment – if the condition gets diagnosed at an early stage, then medications to soften stools, suppositories and other medications are good enough to correct the condition. However, when the condition becomes too severe to be treated with medicines, surgery is the only option to repair the problem.
Stool covered in mucus could also be a manifestation of a bacterial infection. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella happen to be the common offenders in this case. Other symptoms that may accompany include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.
Treatment – usually following a few self-care measures such as drinking plenty of water, eating small meals throughout the day, eating high potassium and some salty foods, help one to recover from a mild form of the infection within a couple of days. Antibiotics are prescribed only when the symptoms become severe.
As cited already, if you notice your stool smothered in mucus occasionally, then do not worry yourself. But if you notice the same occurring frequently, and worsening with time, then get yourself diagnosed by a qualified doctor so that you can rule out potential problems, and treat them at the earliest.