A certain amount of mucus in the stool is considered normal since mucus occurs naturally in the body to keep the intestines lubricated and to help the bowels move more easily. Occasionally, a person experiencing constipation or hemorrhoids may notice more mucus than usual. When accompanied by blood, diarrhea or other symptoms, however, it can be caused by serious digestive conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or an infection, such as dysentery. Mucus in the stool can also be caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a stomach ulcer that has become infected.
Sometimes people discover mucus in the stool as the result of constipation or hemorrhoids. This is because both of these conditions are often accompanied by strain while having a bowel movement. Straining will often cause an expulsion of the intestinal lining, which includes mucus. At times, a small amount of blood may also be noted, which is usually the result of anal tissue damage caused by hardened stool passing through the rectum.
An anorectal abscess will produce multiple symptoms, such as fever, redness, discomfort and pain in the anal region. An individual may also realize a pus-like fluid in the bowel or when wiping after a bowel movement. This differs from mucus in the stool, as it is actually pus and other fluids that have collected in an abscess due to an infection.
Dysentery is a bacterial infection that is often accompanied by mucus in the stool. Occasionally, a person will also experience blood-tinged stool, as well as intense abdominal pain and unintended weight loss. These are severe symptoms of infection, which can be deadly if not promptly and effectively treated.
Digestive conditions like Crohn’s disease and colitis may also cause bloody diarrhea and mucus in the stool. Depending on the condition, other symptoms will also be present, such as bloating, abdominal pain and cramping, and gas. One of the most common causes of these symptoms is irritable bowel syndrome, which commonly affects women, middle-aged adults and people with a family history of IBS.
Experts advise that treatment for unusual signs of mucus in the stool always begin with a thorough medical examination to determine the underlying cause. While some intestinal cancers do produce more mucus in the cells than average, finding mucus in the stool does not automatically mean that a person has a particular type of cancer, including rectal cancer. The course of treatment for mucus discovered in stool is solely determined by the cause of this condition.