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What Are the Causes of Mucus in Stool?

by
author image Elle Paula
Elle Paula has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.
What Are the Causes of Mucus in Stool?
Mucus in the stool occurs as a result of excess mucus production by the intestines. Photo Credit wc image by silonos from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Mucus is jelly-like fluid produced naturally by mucus membranes in the body. Mucus produced in the intestines moistens the insides of the intestine and allow for the smooth and unhindered passage of fecal matter. Mucus in the intestine also protects the intestinal lining from potentially harmful substances. Diseases that cause inflammation or irritation of the intestinal tract can cause the intestines to produce excess mucus, which is usually eliminated in the stool.

Proctitis

Proctitis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the rectum, which is the end portion of the colon. The inflammation associated with proctitis has a number of causes, but the most common include infections, sexually transmitted diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and radiation therapy, according to MayoClinic.com. Proctitis often causes a great deal of pain as well as mucus in the stool, the frequent urge to have a bowel movement, rectal bleeding, rectal pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea and pain during a bowel movement. Treatment for proctitis depends on the underlying causes of the condition. Infections can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics and inflammatory bowel diseases are treated with anti-inflammatory medications. People who have proctitis due to radiation therapy are often prescribed specific medications to control individual symptoms.

Shigellosis

Shigellosis is a bacterial infection that suddenly develops in the lining of the intestines. Shigellosis, caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella, is associated with crowded living spaces and contaminated food and water. MedlinePlus notes that symptoms of shigellosis generally begin within one to seven days after infection and include sudden pain in the abdomen, fever, blood and mucus in the stool, rectal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Treatment for shigellosis generally consists of bed rest and replacing lost fluids to avoid the risk of dehydration. In some cases, antibiotics may be given to decrease the length of time that symptoms persist and prevent spreading of the infection to others.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common intestinal diseases and affects approximately one in five Americans, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, so it is generally characterized by its most common symptoms, which include abdominal pain, severe bloating and alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Those with irritable bowel syndrome also often secrete mucus in the stool, even if they are only able to eliminate a small amount of stool. Because characteristics of irritable bowel syndrome can vary between individuals, a specific treatment has not been found. Treatment usually consists of medications to treat each individual symptom. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse also notes that stress reduction exercises are an important part of relieving the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

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