What is Mucous Colitis?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mucous colitis is characterized by inflammation of the intestines.
Mucous colitis is characterized by inflammation of the intestines.

Mucous colitis is a gastrointestinal symptom characterized by inflammation of the intestines and subsequent overproduction of mucus. The patient experiences irregular bowel movements that can alternate between diarrhea and constipation and are typically slimy as a result of the large amounts of mucus being passed in the stool. A number of conditions can be associated with mucous colitis and proper treatment requires a diagnostic evaluation to learn more about what is happening inside the patient's bowels.

Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with mucus colitis.
Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with mucus colitis.

Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, anal fissures, irritable bowel syndrome, bowel obstructions, and bowel infections are all associated with mucus colitis. In all cases, the bowel becomes inflamed and the cells that line the bowel produce more mucus than usual in response. Commonly, intestinal motility increases, causing pain and cramping, as well as interfering with digestion. In some cases, fresh blood can be observed in the stool.

An endoscopy may be performed to diagnose mucus colitis.
An endoscopy may be performed to diagnose mucus colitis.

When a patient presents with mucous colitis, stool samples are often examined to look for causative agents like infectious bacteria in the bowel. Other diagnostic techniques can include endoscopy, the use of a camera to look inside the bowels, along with bowel biopsy, and exploratory surgery. Diagnostic material is collected and evaluated to narrow down a cause for the colitis. To keep the patient comfortable, bowel protectants may be prescribed along with anti-inflammatory medications.

Eating greasy foods may trigger mucus colitis.
Eating greasy foods may trigger mucus colitis.

Treatment options vary, depending on why a patient has mucous colitis. Sometimes, medications can be used to control an underlying health problem. Dietary adjustments may also help, and in some cases, patients may benefit from therapy to address anxiety disorders and other mental health disorders, as this condition can be associated with psychological distress at times. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat areas of extreme inflammation.

Stress may trigger mucous colitis.
Stress may trigger mucous colitis.

Mucous colitis can be recurrent and over time, the treatment regimen may need to be adjusted. People can develop flareups followed by long intervals of relatively good health. Learning to recognize triggers associated with onset can help people avoid future episodes. Potential triggers can vary, depending on the underlying cause, but can be related to diet, stress, and general health. Common dietary triggers include greasy or especially spicy food.

A doctor may prescribe medication to treat mucuos colitis.
A doctor may prescribe medication to treat mucuos colitis.

People with this condition are at increased risk of developing intestinal cancers, as the chronic irritation increases the rate of cell division and can permit cancerous cells to develop. People with a history of mucous colitis and other forms of bowel inflammation should be regularly screened for cancer. Intestinal cancers are much easier to treat when caught early and the complications associated with cancer treatment can be significantly reduced with early diagnosis and treatment.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Melonlity

Ugh. That condition is, indeed, one of the fun filled bonuses of ulcerative colitis. Anyone having this condition regularly should have it checked out as ulcerative colitis and Chron's disease both have to be monitored regularly because they can be a primary factor in the development of colon cancer.

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    • Mucous colitis is characterized by inflammation of the intestines.
      By: 7activestudio
      Mucous colitis is characterized by inflammation of the intestines.
    • Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with mucus colitis.
      By: stefanolunardi
      Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with mucus colitis.
    • An endoscopy may be performed to diagnose mucus colitis.
      By: Max Tactic
      An endoscopy may be performed to diagnose mucus colitis.
    • Eating greasy foods may trigger mucus colitis.
      By: stocksolutions
      Eating greasy foods may trigger mucus colitis.
    • Stress may trigger mucous colitis.
      By: joyb0218
      Stress may trigger mucous colitis.
    • A doctor may prescribe medication to treat mucuos colitis.
      By: JackF
      A doctor may prescribe medication to treat mucuos colitis.
    • Stool samples that are collected at home are usually placed into plastic containers.
      By: luchschen_shutter
      Stool samples that are collected at home are usually placed into plastic containers.