Mucus in Stool: Common Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Asian women suffering from abdominal pain while lying on bed
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Mucus is a sticky, fluid consistent, jelly-like substance that is often released by the colon, the last part of the digestive system.
  • It produces mucus when the digestion of food occurs, and it is common to see a normal amount of mucus in the stool.
  • If the amount, consistency, and frequency of mucus production changes or intensifies, it indicates the underlying causes, like malabsorption, rectal ulcers, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, allergic colitis, colon polyps, cystic fibrosis, and rectal cancer.

Occasional mucal discharge with the stool is normal and can be observed with no signs or symptoms of any underlying disease. It is uncommon to have persistent, thick, and white or red-colored mucus in the stool.
There could be several underlying diseases or medical conditions that can cause excessive and frequent diseases, e.g., dietary modifications, intolerance, allergic colitis in infants, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, allergic colitis, colon polyps, cystic fibrosis, and rectal cancer.

It’s good to include increased fluid intake in your diet to avoid digestive problems as preventive care, as it will help you avoid medical conditions as well as mucus production in the colon (the last part of the large intestine) in the stool.

Is it normal to have mucus in stool?

Yes, it’s normal only if it occurs in small amounts and occasionally. If you see it occurring more than a couple of times in the abnormal and visible amount, there is an underlying cause of that mucus. Mucus in the stool usually is normal in small amounts and will simply indicate the normal digestion process along with simple dietary modifications.

As per an article published in the NIH, “A small quantity of mucus in stool is considered typical. Nevertheless, the occurrence of substantial amounts of mucus or mucus tinged with blood is considered unusual. The standard color is a tawny hue, attributed to the presence of bilirubin and bile.

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What causes mucus in stool?

Several human causes can cause mucus in the stool, including dehydration and excessive constipation.

The other medical reasons that can be predicted by the presence of mucus in the stool is

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gastrointestinal Infections
  • Antibiotic Induced Diarrhea with mucus
  • Dietary modifications leading to food intolerance
  • Colon Polyps
  • Anal Fissures and rectal ulcers
  • Allergic colitis in babies
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Colon and Rectal Cancer

Dehydration and Constipation

Less fluid intake can affect overall health badly, including stimulating the metabolism and causing excessive constipation. It can also lead to minor cuts in the anal area, which will be seen as white mucus as well as small bleeding from the cuts after constipation.

It’s crucial to keep a keen eye on your daily intake of fluid, more specifically water, to avoid conditions like low metabolism and constipation.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that affects your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Initial indications of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea accompanied by fatigue and abundant mucus in the stool because of the compromised mucus barrier within the inflamed intestines of GIT.

In people with different types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the levels of specific mucins (mucus in stools) change depending on how severe the disease is and how much inflammation there is in the intestines. These changes in mucin levels reflect how well the intestines are able to protect themselves and heal in different kinds of IBD.


Hemorrhoids are the natural clusters of tissues containing blood vessels. They are situated at the terminal portion of the rectum, positioned just within the anus.

As per the article published in NIH, “Hemorrhoid problems can cause different symptoms, like itching, mucus discharge in stool, or a burning feeling in the anus. Bleeding without pain is also common. This can happen if hard stool damages the thin walls of the blood vessels in hemorrhoids.”

Gastrointestinal Infections

Gastrointestinal Infections will also cause a prominent amount of mucus in stool. GIT infections like salmonella and shigellosis (caused by Shigella) will be caused by bacteria resulting in mucusy stool when pooping.

You will feel like pooping when infected with these infections, but you will only notice mucus coming out of your system. It’s because these infections disturb the whole GIT system and result in either just the urge to poop or fluidy stool (Diarrhea).

Get the expert care at home if you notice mucus in your stool

Antibiotic-Induced mucousy Diarrhea

Medications, especially antibiotics, have a common side effect: “diarrhea and mucus production while basing stool. It’s one of the common side effects of antibiotics and will affect the composition and color of the mucus present in the stool.
It mostly will be the white jelly-like mucus along with the loose diarrhea.

As per the research published, Most antibiotic-induced diarrhea in individuals is caused by hospitalization, where Clostridium difficile (Clostridirm Def) species colonizes and changes the average mucus production and composition. Sample can be collected from the stools to assess the mucus production in the stool.

Dietary Modifications and Food Intolerance

Our diet and biological sleep cycle affect our overall health and depict the future of our well-being. Rigorous or normal changes in the diet can be beneficial as well as harmful if not done with the consideration of your health sensitivity and needs.

Dietary changes like an increased diet rich in fats can show malabsorption leading to the condition called “Steatorrhea,” which can be indicated by the presence of mucus in the stools.

Similarly, if the diet is rich in Fiber, which usually helps in digestion if taken rigorously or abruptly, you will notice mucus in your poop because the body will take its time to adjust to the fiber-enriched diet.

If you are lactose intolerant and you intake food with lactose, it will show its effects, including stomach disturbances, nausea and, most importantly, mucus while passing bowels.


Hemorrhoids are the natural clusters of tissues containing blood vessels. They are situated at the rectum’s terminal portion, just within the anus.

As per the article published in NIH, “Hemorrhoid will present itself with diverse symptoms like itching, mucus discharge in stool and sometimes burning feeling in the anus. It is also common to notice bleeding while passing stool without pain, as it happens when hemorrhoids rupture the walls of the anus.

Colon Polyps/Rectal Ulcers and Anal Fissures

Polyps are small accumulation of tissue inside the colon’s wall. They grow bigger with time, causing an intensive amount of mucus and frequent urgent to pass the bowel.

People suffering from rectal ulcers present the symptoms of straining, altered bowel habits, anorectal pain, incomplete passage of stools, and passage of mucus and blood.

Anal Fissures are the small cuts in the anal area caused by passing the hard stools and persistent constipation. In the case of anal fissures, you might see whitish or reddish mucus coming out every time you poop.

Allergic Colitis in Babies

Allergic colitis is the sensitivity of babies to the proteins present in cows’ milk if they are fed that.
It presents itself with irritability, gassiness in the stomach, abdominal cramps, and mucus/blood in the stools.

The study conducted by NIH published an article stating the characteristics of mucosal lesions caused by allergic colitis in infants with and without breastfeeding.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a disease in which the person produces a thick, greasy fluid called mucus, affecting the lungs and respiratory system of the body. It not only affects the respiratory system but a set of discomforting symptoms like diarrhea, fever, chills, and greasy, thick stool are also present. Mucus in the stool is one of the most common indications of CF, along with cough and wheezing. You will notice persistent mucus in the stool and a foul unbearable smell when you pass the bowels.

There are some other causes, e.g., appendicitis and parasitic infections, that cause mucus in the stools, which can be an indication of a lot of health-related issues in the body. It’s always good to get a medical diagnosis if you notice any persistent changes in your poop.

Diagnosis of Mucus in Stool

Mucus in the stool in small amounts sometimes is normal, but if you are noticing it persistently, It can be an indication of different diseases in your body, and crucial to get a medical consultation as well as a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will ask you to perform diagnostic tests as follows:

  1. Stool tests (stool sample will be taken for the test)
  2. .Colonoscopy (a long flexible tube called a colonoscope inserted with the camera for colon examination)
  3. Blood tests (Blood sample will be taken)
  4. Imaging tests (X-rays and CT scans)

Your healthcare provider will also ask you about your medication and disease history to diagnose and prescribe according to your medical condition.

Treatment of Mucus in Stool

Mucus in the stool can be normal if it occurs in small amounts and not persistently.
If it occurs for over a couple of days and prolongs to months, it’s good to get the medical diagnosis and treatment regimens.

Treatment highly depends on the underlying cause of the mucus production. Over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Advil can be taken for temporary pain relief in case of stomach discomfort or cramps. Antibiotic medications will be prescribed according to the bacterial infective species. The drug of choice will be decided after getting the medical diagnostic results

Get the expert diagnosis and consultation for mucus in your poop

What does mucus in the stool indicate?

Mucus in the stools can indicate diseases like Crohn’s disease, Hemorrhoids, Gastrointestinal Infections, Antibiotic Induced Diarrhea with mucus, Dietary modifications leading to food intolerance, Colon Polyps , Anal Fissures, rectal ulcers, Allergic colitis in babies, Cystic fibrosis,
Colon and Rectal Cancer.

Note: small amount of mucus less frequently in stool is common; it can indicate a bigger problem if it stays persistently.

Consult a Doctor

It’s good to get the consultation of your healthcare provider if you see a noticeable difference in the mucus production frequency, color, and composition. It is common to have mucus in your stool to some extent normally, but if it stays persistent, it’s good to get a medical consultation and prescription.

FAQs About Mucus in Stool

Why is there mucus in my stool but no inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s reaction to any foreign particle that is harmful to the body. Inflammation will only occur if the body’s immune system gets reactive. If it doesn’t, it means that the mucus in the body indicates not the bacterial infection but something else, say, Richard A. Honaker, M.D.

What color is IBS mucus?

The color of IBS mucus is white, thick, and cloudy and will be noticed every time you pass the stool. It’s good to get yourself checked by a medical provider to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

When should you be concerned about mucus in stool?

You should be concerned about the mucus in stool only if it’s persistent and prominent every time. It can be paired with foul and metallic smells as well.

How do I stop excessive mucus production?

You can not stop producing mucus until you get the proper diagnosis, the medical provider will provide you with the right prescription according to your condition that will stop the mucus production eventually. Keep in mind that producing mucus in less amounts sometimes is common. It’s only serious if it stays persistent, says Richard A. Honaker, M.D.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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