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What are Common Causes of Mucus in the Stool?

Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands , Former Writer
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By anon344511 — On Aug 10, 2013

I have had a colonoscopy but still have blood stained mucus in my stool. What could it be? Should I have more tests?

By anon326587 — On Mar 22, 2013

My wife has a large hemorrhoid, and she constantly gets constipated. When she does have a bowel movement there is mucus also and she feels pressure a lot.

If the hemorrhoid was removed wouldn't she probably have regular bowel movements? When she finally goes, she cannot get away from the toilet. She thinks she is lactose intolerant and this is what causes the episodes, not the hemorrhoid which blocks the stool from coming down regularly.

By anon316792 — On Jan 30, 2013

For the past month or so, I've had problems having regular bowel movements. I have always had hemorrhoids but not like this. I have major gas and every time I go to the restroom, it's just gas accompanied by lots of mucus, not necessarily a bowel movement. What could it be?

By anon315903 — On Jan 26, 2013

After antibiotics and a whooping cough vaccine last spring, I developed what I believe to have been ulcerative colitis, with cramping, pain, huge amounts of mucus (from clear to colors and back again), loss of appetite, nausea, weakness and weight loss. I couldn't even walk to the mailbox or stand up straight.

Thank goodness I had seen Brenda Watson on PBS and even though the cost was huge for me ($50-plus for 30 capsules) I took the "Ultimate Flora Critical Colon Bifido MAX" with 80 billion of 14 probiotic strains. It took several weeks, but after two or three bottles of this I was pretty much back to normal.

The Bifido cultures are the ones that work in the colon. Acidophilus works in the small intestine. This product has both. I can't believe the change in my health from these probiotics. Not only did it clear up the colon and digestive problems, but my hearth problems and some dental issues have also resolved. I am stronger, leaner, fitter and feel alive again.

I have learned how these little organisms outnumber our cells and if they get out of balance from antibiotics, vaccines, medications,lack of nutrition, etc. you can actually die. We need these little "bugs" and if your colon is acting up, then read up about colon health and start eating fermented foods and beverages and taking probiotics.

P.S. Most doctors do not really even seem to know about how important this is to health. Even though I have had at least 40 courses of antibiotics, not including the hospitalization with IV antibiotics and no driver even mentioned a probiotic, let alone prescribed one (they can prescribe them, then insurance could cover it!)

By anon310691 — On Dec 26, 2012

I have had just mucus, watery, hard and lumpy, blood, black, very small, belly pain, making funny noises,loss of weight, dizziness and bad constipation. My grandma had colon cancer so I'm really scared. I've waited to get tested and would like to know what you think.

By anon304679 — On Nov 20, 2012

In my stool, I have observed white pus (like liquid fluid) for the last two months. What should I do now? Is there a problem? Please give me some suggestions.

By anon291611 — On Sep 15, 2012

I've been suffering from rectal prolapse for 15 years, and I've released mucus in my stool for 15 years. Can anybody tell the treatment as mucus is white in color only.

By orangey03 — On Jan 23, 2012

@wavy58 – Sounds like you have a classic case of hemorrhoids. I have dealt with this issue for years, and I frequently have yellow mucus in my stools.

Like you, the first time I noticed it, I was worried. It didn't seem right to see mucus coming out of the wrong end!

Also, the blood was even more disturbing. I was afraid that I might have cancer, because I had always heard that rectal bleeding was a sign of it.

My doctor examined me, and without having to do a colonoscopy, she discovered that I had hemorrhoids. She gave me some medication to treat flareups, and she told me to start eating more fiber.

These days, I rarely have problems anymore. The fiber makes the feces move out more easily, so my intestines don't have to produce as much mucus.

By wavy58 — On Jan 22, 2012

I am a little concerned about the yellow mucus I've been seeing in my stools. I normally don't notice things like this, but I had a lot of trouble passing the feces, so I just wanted to check on their appearance. I was astonished to find yellow mucus floating in the toilet.

I didn't see any blood in there, but when I wiped, some bright red blood came off on the toilet paper. I cannot stand the thought of enduring a colonoscopy, so I have been reluctant to go to my doctor.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? I don't want to ignore it if it might be something serious, but I'd rather not have to go to the doctor if I can help it.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 22, 2012

@StarJo – Orange mucus does look disturbing, doesn't it? My three-month-old daughter started passing some in her stools, and I was afraid she might have some rare disease!

She seemed to be perfectly healthy and happy, though. She was putting on the pounds and acting like a normal baby. That orange mucus troubled me, though, so I called the pediatrician.

He told me that a little strangely colored mucus in an infant's diaper is normal. He said I didn't have anything to worry about.

I'm glad I called him, anyway. I would be concerned if even I began to pass this color of mucus, so you can imagine my anxiety over my baby having it.

By StarJo — On Jan 21, 2012

I noticed orange mucus in my dogs stool after I switched her dog food one time. I had just started feeding her a more organic dog food with fewer additives, and the sudden switch irritated her stomach and intestines.

I was concerned, because I had never seen orange mucus anywhere before, much less in a stool. I called my vet, who recommended that I give her some canned pumpkin.

I thought it strange that the remedy for orange mucus was orange pumpkin, but she reassured me that it would firm up her feces. Sure enough, once the diarrhea stopped, the orange mucus also went away.

By candyquilt — On Jan 20, 2012

@alisha-- As far as I know, white color is normal but that might depend on what other symptoms you have, family history and so forth.

My sister suffered from esophogaities (deterioration of esophagus) and intestinal parasites when she was working abroad in Asia. And yellowish/greenish mucus in the stool was one of the symptoms she had in both cases.

So I guess white mucus in stool is normal but there might still be something else going on if there is a lot of mucus. It's always worth it to get it checked out.

By discographer — On Jan 19, 2012

@ysmina-- So what color should mucus be for it to be okay?

I had blood and mucus in my stool for the first time several days ago and I've been trying to figure out why it might happen. I don't have anything other than hemorrhoids and that's probably why there was some blood. But the mucus itself was white in color.

Is that normal? I don't have any other symptoms and I'm baffled about it. I will see my doctor later this week. I suppose he will ask for some tests.

By ysmina — On Jan 19, 2012

I have irritable bowel syndrome and have passed stool with mucus many times because of it. I've even had it where I only passed mucus without any stool.

The first time it happened, I was really scared because I had never seen that before and didn't even know it was possible. It doesn't happen unless I irritate my bowels with food I'm not supposed to be eating. Apparently the irritation is the culprit of the excess mucus.

I did have it checked out by my doctor just in case though and he said that mucus in stool is a symptom of IBS and that I needn't worry about it. Unless of course the mucus is a different color than usual or has blood in it.

Laura M. Sands

Laura M. Sands

Former Writer

Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
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