A part of the digestive tract the bowels extend from the stomach to the anus. The upper and lower intestines comprise the bowels. The bowels role in digestion is to help detoxify the body through the release of excrement.
Visible Mucous And Disorders of the Bowels
In the bowels, mucus serves as a lubricant that eases bowel movements. So what does mucus in stool mean or visible evidence of it mean? Trace amounts of mucus in fecal matter is normal. Under normal circumstances, the mucous will not be visible. Visible mucus is indicative of the presence of one or more serious conditions.
Visible amounts of mucus in stool can also be symptomatic of an obstructed bowel.
The lining of the anus is called the mucosa. A fissure is a tear in the mucosa. That tear can be the result of straining to go to the bathroom or unusually large stool. A tear in the anus that can be seen or a lump formed in the area of the tear, painful bowel movements, and burning or itching of the anus could indicate the presence of a fissure. Additional symptoms of a fissure are anal spasms and anal bleeding.
Bacterial gastroenteritis can be caused by poor hygiene. The bacteria responsible for bacterial gastroenteritis can be introduced into the gut through contaminated food or water. The symptoms of bacterial gastroenteritis will vary depending on the type of bacteria causing the condition.
Indicators of bacterial gastroenteritis are blood in the fecal matter, diarrhea, and fever. Additional symptoms include decreased appetite, cramps, pain in the abdomen, and nausea. Vomiting is also symptomatic of bacterial gastroenteritis.
Chronic inflammation of the mucosa is known as Crohn's disease and can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn's's coupled with ulcerative colitis is known as irritable bowel syndrome. The condition may cause areas of the GI tract to ulcerate.
During a flare-up of Crohn's disease, abdominal symptoms can include pain.
Other symptoms include diarrhea that may continue through the day and night, fever, and vomiting. Unintended weight loss attributable to diarrhea and vomiting should be regarded as another potential symptom of Crohn's.
Bowel obstruction occurs when either the large or small intestine becomes blocked. One form of bowel obstruction is fecal impaction. Impaction is the formation of a mass of hardened stool that cannot be cleared from the bowels through normal defecation.
Symptoms of obstructed bowels include the inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas. Someone with obstructed bowels may experience intermittent abdominal pain similar to cramps. Other symptoms include vomiting, diminished appetite, and bloating of the abdomen.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
An inexplicable change in the patterns of bowel movements is one of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There are four types of IBS. The patient's symptoms indicate the type. The primary determiner in how IBS is classified is whether diarrhea or constipation is the most common symptom experienced by the patient.
Each person with IBS will experience a different set of symptoms. What they may experience is mucous in stool, pain in the abdomen, and excess gas. Other indicators of irritable bowel syndrome include indigestion and abdominal distension.
A Quick Review
Mucous occurs naturally in the digestive tract. When mucus is visible in feces it can indicate the presence of a serious medical condition. All of those conditions have symptoms in common. Persistent abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and prolonged constipation which should be addressed by a physician. Other symptoms to be aware of are bloating, loss of appetite, inexplicable weight loss, and spasms or bleeding in the anus.