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Video:What Causes Mucus in Stool?

with Dr. Bob Lahita

Mucus in your stool may indicate certain bowel conditions ranging from common to severe. Watch this About.com video to learn more about these health conditions, typically tied to inflammation, which cause mucus in the stool.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Causes Mucus in Stool?

I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and I'm going to talk to you today about what causes mucus in your stool.

What Mucus in the Stool Indicates

It is not normal to have mucus in your stool. People have diarrhea, and diarrhea represents liquid stools. Everybody on the planet has experienced diarrhea at one time or another as a result of infection. In the case of a severe infection, like cholera - which we don't see in our country thank goodness!- we have what are called "rice water stools", where the stool actually looks like rice water. Copious amounts of fluid are lost and the patient dies of dehydration, basically.

Conditions Causing Muscus in Stool

But more commonly, inflammatory bowel disease, which is fairly common in western countries represents Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is just what it sounds like: it is ulcers in the colon. Crohn's disease is actually an eponym for inflammatory bowel disease, better known as regional enteritis - that's actually quite serious. And both of those conditions can result in not only mucus in the stool, but also blood in the stool.

If you see lots of bright red blood, with mucus together, and you'll see that on your toilet tissue - that's something that you should see your doctor about. It's generally the result of inflammation and sometimes ulceration of the large bowel. And that can reflect either colitis, or if it's higher up in the intestinal tract, enteritis as we call it, or inflammatory bowel disease, called Crohn's disease.

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