Read below about mucousy stools, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your mucousy stools from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Mucousy Stools Symptoms

Regular bowel movements are normal, but it is always worth monitoring when our bowel movements include mucousy stool. That's because the presence of excess mucus can indicate a variety of medical conditions. A range of symptoms is typical when mucousy stool is present. [2,3,6]

### Symptoms of mucousy stool include:

Mucus is naturally produced by the body to assist in the digestive process. It acts as a lubricant to help food pass from the mouth to the stomach and is critical to the functionality of the colon and intestines. Glands within the rectum also produce mucus. In short, it is not unusual for mucus to coincide with stool. Increased mucus may also accompany short bouts of diarrhea or constipation, but increased amounts of mucus, particularly if prolonged and associated with the mucousy stool symptoms previously mentioned, should be further analyzed to determine a cause and treatment. [3]

Mucousy Stools Causes Overview

There is a big distinction between the importance of various types of mucus the body produces. A runny nose, for example, could be an increase in nasal mucus but not be a cause for concern. [1] When increased mucus is associated with bowel movements, however, it is important to make note of all associated factors to help identify a cause of mucousy stool symptoms. While an increased amount of some types of mucus may be normal, there are significant medical implications to some cases of mucus in stools. [2] Common causes for mucus in stools include:

Environmental causes:

  • Bodily Function: The body naturally creates mucus in the intestine, colon, and rectum. Mucus in stools may be a normal occurrence or isolated incident. [3] Vaginal childbirth may also cause mucus in stools in women. [4]
  • Bodily Issues: Changes to the body can result in how we move our bowels. Fecal incontinence, diarrhea, and constipation can all be caused by natural, short-term changes in the body and cause mucus in stools. [2]

Inflammatory causes:

  • Functional Disorders: Increased mucus in stool can be a byproduct of inflamed bowels. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an example of a disorder which causes such an effect. [5]
  • Autoimmune: Autoimmune disorders typical results from the body's immune system attacking healthy body tissue. Certain disorders, like Crohn disease, impact the digestive system and can cause mucus in stools. [6]

Systemic disease causes:

  • Cancer: As the body fights cancerous cells, particularly in the digestive system, an increased amount of mucus in stool is possible. [7]

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Mucousy Stools

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced mucousy stools. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause stomach pain, cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Doctors think that IBS is caused by the brain sending wrong messages to the bowels, such as during times of high stress, causing physical changes.

    IBS is a chronic condition that may last for years, but it is not life-threatening and does not damage the bowels or lead to more serious illnesses.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, constipation, stool changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Chronic Gallstones

    Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver.

    Curable with surgical treatment, but not necessary unless symptoms begin

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, vomiting, pain in the upper right abdomen
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Gallstones

    Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver.

    Curable with surgical treatment, but not necessary unless symptoms begin

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, pain in the upper right abdomen, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with gallstones:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Symptoms that never occur with gallstones:
    abdominal pain that improves after passing stools
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Chronic Hepatitis c

    Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is carried in human blood. It spreads through contact with infected blood, such as through infected needles, toothbrushes, or razors, through unprotected sex with an infected person, and from mother to baby during childbirth.

    Hepatitis C is a chronic infection and without treatment the effect on life expectancy is difficult to predict.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, joint pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic hepatitis c:
    pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain in the upper left abdomen, pain around the belly button
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Ulcerative Colitis

    Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a condition that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody bowel movements. These symptoms occur because the large intestine (colon) has become inflamed and acquired sores, known as “ulcers.”

    Chronic

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, general abdominal pain, fever, back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  6. 6.Pancreatic Cancer

    Pancreatic neoplasm affects the pancreas, an organ in the abdomen, and causes symptoms like abdominal pain, back pain, urine changes, fatigue, and weight loss.

    The treatment & prognosis for pancreatic neoplasm vary and are dependent on the disease severity.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease is an immune disease in which gluten damages the small intestine. Avoid products containing gluten such as wheat, rye, & barley.

    Upon starting a gluten-free diet, nausea and bloating are likely to improve within a few days or weeks. It may take months or longer to feel completely better.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Cystic Fibrosis

    Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease of the mucus and sweat glands, affecting multiple organs, especially the lungs. The mucus clogs the lungs, causing breathing problems and making it easy for bacteria to grow. This can lead to problems such as repeated lung infections and lung damage.

    While cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease with no cure, many excellent therapies can help manage your symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, productive cough, salty-tasting skin, decreased exercise tolerance, recurring problem with leaking urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Diabetes Insipidus

    Diabetes insipidus (DI) is caused by a lack of, or decreased sensitivity to the hormone vasopressin. Vasopressin is needed for the kidneys to concentrate urine, making sure you do lose to much fluids. If this function is impaired, it will result in urinating frequently and large amounts, extreme thirst and dehydration.

    Can be temporary or permanent.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, constipation, excesive thirst, dry mouth
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Acute Pancreatitis

    Acute pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, which creates and releases insulin and glucagon to keep the sugar levels in your blood stable. It also creates the enzymes that digest your food in the small intestine. When these enzymes accidentally get activated in the pancreas, they digest the pancreas itself, causing pain and inflammation.

    Acute pancreatitis typically goes away after a few days with treatment. Untreated, it can be deadly

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    constant abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, severe abdominal pain, fever
    Symptoms that always occur with acute pancreatitis:
    constant abdominal pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Mucousy Stools Treatments and Relief

Passing stool is one of the most common bodily functions. It is done to remove undigested material from the body. A healthy lifestyle often results in normal bowel movements consisting of normal stool. [3] Mucus in stools may fall in line with this bodily function but may also signify an issue with the body. If the condition is caused by lifestyle choices, it can also be treated by altering lifestyle. If, however, a more significant issue exists, a medical professional will likely need to be involved. [2]

It is recommended that you contact your doctor if any of the following are experienced:

If you have Crohn's disease or IBS, then you may already understand that mucus in stools could happen and have a path to treatment. When excess mucous appears for the first time or exists for a prolonged period, then treatment options may not be so obvious. [5] Steps towards treating mucus in stools can include:

At-home treatments:

  • Diet: Eating healthy and balancing the food groups can help promote positive digestion and minimize mucus in stools. [8] Drinking a lot of water, [8] avoiding fatty foods, [8] and limiting dairy may all be necessary. [8] Taking dietary supplements such as iron, calcium, and vitamins D and B12 may also help. [9,10]
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Tylenol (acetaminophen) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil may help reduce symptoms. [11] Fiber supplements or laxatives may also help promote healthy bowel movements. [8]

Professional treatments:

  • Prescription Medications: Your medical professional may prescribe a range of medications designed to treat the specific cause of mucus in stools. These medications might be taken orally or rectally. [12]
  • Surgery: In extreme cases, and when mucus in stools are linked to larger disorders, surgical procedures may be required to relieve mucus in stools and other symptoms of the disorder. [5]

Often times, the best way to help develop a course of treatment for mucus in stools is to arm your doctor with the best information possible. Observing your stools and noting information about the mucous such as frequency, amount, and duration can provide valuable insights. Mucousy stools do not always indicate an underlying issue but, if it is determined that they do, advanced treatment dictated by medical professionals will help provide the best relief possible. [2]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Mucousy Stools

  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our mucousy stools symptom checker to find out more.

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Mucousy Stools Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced mucousy stools have also experienced:

    • 10% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 9% Diarrhea
    • 5% Constipation
  • People who have experienced mucousy stools were most often matched with:

    • 40% Gallstones
    • 30% Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)
    • 30% Chronic Gallstones
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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References

  1. Runny Nose. Mayo Clinic. Published January 11, 2018. Mayo Clinic Link.
  2. Stool Changes: What Do They Mean? When Should I See a Doctor? Cleveland Clinic. Updated October 1, 2012. Cleveland Clinic Link.
  3. Corazziari ES. Intestinal Mucus Barrier in Normal and Inflamed Colon. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2009;48 Suppl 2:S54-S55. NCBI Link.
  4. Childbirth and Delivery. iffgd. Updated November 8, 2016. iffgd Link.
  5. Waljee AK, Joyce JC, Wren PA, Khan TM, Higgins PD. Patient Reported Symptoms During an Ulcerative Colitis Flare: A Qualitative Focus Group Study. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2009;21(5):558-564. NCBI Link.
  6. Cojocaru M, Cojocaru IM, Silosi I, Vrabie CD. Gastrointestinal Manifestations in Systemic Autoimmune Diseases. Maedica. 2011;6(1):45-51. NCBI Link.
  7. Colorectal Cancer. NHS Foundation Trust: The Royal Marsden. Royal Marsden Link.
  8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Controlling Your Symptoms. American Family Physician. 2010;82(12):1449-1451. AAFP Link.
  9. Gasche C, Lomer MC, Cavill I, Weiss G. Iron, Anaemia, and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Gut. 2004;53(8):1190-1197. NCBI Link.
  10. Parker-Autry CY, Gleason JL, Griffin RL, Markland AD, Richter HE. Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Increased Fecal Incontinence Symptoms. International Urogynecology Journal. 2014;25(11):1483-1489. NCBI Link.
  11. Is IBD a Rare Disease? IBD Clinic. IBD Clinic Link.
  12. Bishop S. Variety of Treatment Strategies for Anal Fissure. Mayo Clinic. Published July 15, 2011. Mayo Clinic Link.