Mucous Colitis ~ Medical Terminology

Mucus in IBS and IBS

Mucous colitis is a misused term for the condition, currently known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with mucus appearing in the stool, but no organic change in the colon (no colitis) or anywhere in the gut. Other terms used are spastic colon, spastic colitis, and nervous colon syndrome. Beside mucus in the stool, other symptoms include vague stomach pains, alternating diarrhea and constipation, bloating.

The term mucous colitis more accurately describes inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. In this case, the bowel is inflamed for no reason although it is believed to be due to immune media factors (autoimmune). This inflammation can be verified in diagnostic investigations like a colonoscopy. Mucus in the stool is a common feature of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) along with other symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and in severe cases, even bowel incontinence. The presence of blood in the stool or blood-streaked mucus is not common and is often due to an acute exacerbation or progression of the disease.

There are various other types of colitis that also need to be considered.

Mucus or Fat in the Stool

Normal stool is not devoid of mucus. However, it usually too small a quantity to be noticed. Large amounts of mucus in the stool gives rise to a slimy or even sticky stool.  Mucus is a proteinaceous substance formed by the lining of the gut. It is needed to lubricate the passage of chyme through the gut, protect the lining of the gut from digestive enzymes and even helps to neutralize some acidic components in the gut. It is usually clear in color and viscid.

Mucus should be differentiated from fat in the stool known as steatorrhea. In this case, fats remain in the stool because it is not appropriately digested and absorbed in the upper gut. Fatty stool may be due to diseases like pancreatitis, gallbladder diseases and various malabsorption syndromes. In order to confirm the presence of mucus or fat in the stool, a stool sample should be submitted for appropriate laboratory testing.

Related articles:

Causes of Chronic Diarrhea
Causes of Bloating and Gas

About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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