Mucus in stool is one of the most common medical inquires in gastroenterology practice. A small amount of mucus in stool can be normal, but there are situations where it could be a sign of gastroenterology condition that requires further investigation and treatment.
Here, we list down some of the most commonly asked questions during consultation:
- Where does the mucus come from?
Answer : Intestinal mucus is produced by a type of cells known as globet cells, which is a specialized secretory cells of the epithelial layer.
- What are the functions of these mucus?
Answer : These mucus produced by goblet cells protects the inner lining of your small and large intestine against invading bacteria and other pathogens. It also lubricates the inner lining to assist digestive processes.
The moist, nutrient rich mucus layer is essential to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria populations in the gut.
- What are the conditions associated with increase mucus production in stool?
- Irritable Bowel syndrome
- Gastrointestinal infection
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Colorectal Cancer
When should I see a gastroenterologist ?
You should see a gastroenterologist if the symptoms persisted and if you have additional symptoms such as
- Changed in bowel habit either frequent loose stool or constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Passing out blood in stool
- Fatigue ( which may be a sign of anaemia/low haemoglobin level)
We also advice those age above 45 years old, family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease to screen for colorectal cancer.
This article is written by Dr Chong Chern Hao, one of our gutCARE gastroenterologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital Singapore.