What Causes Mucus in the Bowel Movement?

Mucus is a substance that is widely produced through most parts of the body and particularly within cavities where it mainly serves as a lubricant. It is a translucent, jelly-like substance and produced in every part of the gut. It is therefore not uncommon for mucus that is produced by mucous glands that line the small and large intestine to appear in the stool. Most of the time it is never noticed but when excessive it may appear as a slimy and stringy substance coating the stool.

Mucus in Otherwise Normal Bowel Movements

A certain amount of mucus is present in normal stools of healthy persons. In fact part of the reason that normal stool is semi-soft is due to mucus, as well as water and fiber. However, when there is excessive amounts of mucus which is noticeable in other normal stool consistency then it could be due to one or more of the following conditions.


Internal hemorrhoids are a common cause of mucus in the stool. The mucus may be seen to be coating the stool and noticed when wiping after a bowel movement. Other typical symptoms of hemorrhoids includes:

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites, like giardia or intestinal worms, may cause mucus in the stools and sometimes this may be the only symptom. Other symptoms may include:

Diagnosis. Stool test shows parasites, their parts, or their ova. Blood test shows increased eosinophils and IgE antibodies.

Small Intestinal or Colonic Polyps or Colorectal Cancer

Mucus in stools may be sometimes the only symptoms of small or large intestinal polyps or cancer.

Mucus in Constipation

Mucus in hard stools may be due to:

  • Constipation due to a sedentary lifestyle, insufficient water intake, medication that causes constipation as a side effect, low-fiber diet, anxiety or depression and several other known and unknown causes.
  • Bowel obstruction from a polyp, cancer, volvulus, intussusception, or swallowed foreign object. It can also occur when movement through a section of the bowel ceases which is known as pseudo-obstruction.

Mucous Diarrhea

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

In many cases, the cause of mucus in stools (with diarrhea or constipation) occurs where no underlying disorder can be identified. In these cases the abnormal bowel habit, often accompanied by abdominal pain, is diagnosed as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which was previously referred to as spastic colon. IBS is considered to be caused by an abnormality in movement through the bowels but is not due to any disease. Acute flareups may occur with psychological stress and certain irritant/trigger foods.

Read more on foods to avoid in IBS.

Food Poisoning

In food poisoning (due to bacteria or parasites), there is nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with occasional mucus stools as well as the following:

  • History of suspicious food eaten in previous 72 hours, especially where other people who had eaten the same foods are also affected.
  • Bloating, abdominal cramps, occasional fever or, rarely blood in the stool.

Mucus and greenish diarrhea is common with infections caused by the giardia parasite that leads to giardiasis.

Food Intolerances

The term ‘food intolerance’ is a broad term that refers to conditions where the body cannot digest or absorb certain nutrients. It may also be incorrectly used to describe cases where foods trigger inflammation due to an immune-mediated allergu response. Therefore in these cases mucus often appears in stool due to:

Diagnosis is primarily reached through an elimination diet whereby foods are removed from the diet one at a time and then gradually reintroduced. The other diagnostic method that may be considered is a breath test.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Bacteria may overgrow in small intestine in various conditions fructose malabsorption, diabetes, systemic sclerosis, and other disorders with impaired gut motility. Normally bacteria is not found in large quantities within the small intestine, if at all. When these bacteria enter the small intestine, it may proliferate without any controlling measures that limit its population size. This is an overgrowth and not an infection.

Read more about SIBO.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition where there in inflammation of the wall of the gut and particularly in the large intestine. There are two types – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In Crohn’s disease (especially when anal fissure or pelvic abscess are present), and ulcerative colitis, mucus in bowel movements (with or without diarrhea) is common. Other common findings in IBD:

Diagnosis of IBD is made by colonoscopy and a biopsy of the colonic mucosa.


In diverticulitis, inflamed (usually infected) pouches appear in colon which is mainly due to long term straining at defecation in constipated people. It is more common in older people. Beside mucus, other symptoms include:

Pancreatic Disease

The pancrease secretes water, mucus, digestive enzymes and electrolytes into the duodenum (small intestine). Mucus in the stool may appear in the following pancreatic disorders:

  • Papillary-mucinous tumor (rare)

In pancreatic disease there may be a problem with fat-digesting enzymes known as lipases. This may prevent fat digestion and the fats then pass out with stool. Fatty stool is known as steatorrhea and may be mistaken for mucus in the stools.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease, where salivary, bronchial, sweat, intestinal glands, and pancreas secrete excessive amount of dense mucus. Symptoms include:

  • Mucous diarrhea from birth
  • Coughing mucus
  • Repeating respiratory or other infections

Diagnosis is made by a sweat test that shows increased amount of salt in the sweat.

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

After surgery, where a considerable amount of small intestine was removed, mucous diarrhea may appear  and persist for long periods, especially in small children. More about short bowel syndrome.

Related Articles:

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  • fred george

    hi i go to move my bowel n i cant go i have like little water goming out

  • Jan Modric

    Fred George,

    when did your problem start?

  • rachel

    cant find any info about gangillon cells are low after biopsy confirming no diagnosis of hirsprrungs desease

    • Jan Modric


      have you had a biopsy, and low ganglion cells were found?

  • janet

    why do i get mucus with fibroids,waiting to have operation to have them removed.

    • Jan Modric


      mucus can be secreted from fibroids themselves…

  • pb07pb

    A few days ago I started getting mucus in the stool or white diarrhea. I was very sick at the time so I thought maybe it was a bad flu. But now i am ok and while I am not getting mucus in the stool all the time I just had an episode again while I was completely healthy. I don’t feel any other pains sometimes I get stomache pains directly after I eat. Is this a serious matter should i visit a doctor unfortunately i dont have insurance. which is why i havent gone yet.

    • Jan Modric

      To pbo7pb.

      How old are you, male or female? Have you ever had any other digestive problems before this? When it started, was the stool actually white (or yellow) Have you eaten someting different in a day or a day before? A lot of fats maybe?

  • pb07pb

    I am 27 years old and male. As far as digestive problems, I have had a few problems. I have had a green stool a couple of times. I also had a major bout of constipation about a year ago that lasted 6 days. I ordered a product called colon sweep and it worked well. Haven’t had any problems since then. I don’t take colon sweep now I only tookit for about a 3 week period during that time. To be honest I don’t remember for sure if the color was white the first time I think it was clear like almost a spit. I remember I also vomited the same liquid and thought I was just really sick. The one that occurred yesterday was more of a yellowish-clear color. Notihng yesterday was white white.

    For 27 years i have been eating quite unhealthy i changed my diet 4 days ago to only fruits vegetables grains and lean meats, such as chicken turkey and fish.

    • Jan Modric


      translucent mucus and green stools can appear in food poisoning, especially with intestinal parasites. Diagnosis is with stool test for parasites (O & P test) – it is good to catch one “bad” stool, since results from normal looking stool may be false negative. Treatment is by prescribed anti-parasitic drugs. If it is parasitic food poisoning, it probably occured weeks or even months ago.

      Pain in the stomach is often caused by gastritis, due to excessive secretion of gastric acid. Chronic infection with H. pylori is a common cause. Diagnosis is with blood or breath test, treatment with antibiotics. This is not likely the cause of mucus, but rather an additional disorder. Avoiding acidic foods and meds (citrus fruits, alcohol, soda, vinegar, aspirin, ibuprofen, vit C) can help.

  • My son had 2 ‘accidents’ in his underwear tonight. He kept saying over and over “I dont know what is happening” At first I thought he didn’t want to admit that he wet his pants, being 7 and all..
    so after he went to bed I checked his underwear to see what it was. I didn’t feel wet, so as any mother does, gave the sniff test. and it SMELLED, so I looked in the rear of the underwear and there is a goo that closely resembles that of a females ovulation discharge. Clear and “egg white” in consistency.
    What is going on?!? I am pretty worried, as he has been a perfectly healthy boy all his life.
    Any educated opinions and thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.

    • Jan Modric

      To MommyofTwo.

      Irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal parasites (worms?) are possible causes. I recommend a stool test for “ova and parasites”. Most of other possible disorders (polyps…) would require a colonoscopy to be diagnosed.

  • momtobe

    hi im 24, and 30 weeks pregnant, for the past three days i have been having BM’s that are hard and dark green with a white mucus attached, i dont have any pain what so ever, and have recently been told i have gallstones, i am just wondering if this could be related to that.

    • Jan Modric


      gallstones by themselves do not change the color of the stool. If they were obstruct the bile duct, the stool would be clay, grey. I recommend you to have a stool culture test and test for parasites.

  • And-D-Man

    Hello. I am a 26 year old male. I have never had digestion problems in the past (minus the occasional usual things)but today something happened that alarmed me. When I got to work I went to the bathroom and had a BM. It was relatively normal except for the fact that it was one of my “bigger: movements. I wiped and flushed and went back to my desk. A little while later I let out what I thought was going to be a silent fart but it was wet and I thought I had just gone in my pants. So I went off to the bathroom to wipe away my “acccident” and I looked at what I had whiped. It was a clear/yellow substance and there was a little spot of red that I imagine was blood?? It smelled slightly fishy. I have some anxiety issues from having surgery on my lung when it collapsed last year and this triggered it. I had another BM sense then today which was normal and when i wiped there was nothing unusual. This has never happened before that I have ever noticed. I have had “wet farts” on the toilet and stuff before occasionally but never investigated them before. Just a little worried I guess. Is this something that can occur from time to time?

    • Jan Modric


      mucus would be something “expected”, if you were having hemorrhoids (usually from constant straining due to constipation), or irritable bowel syndrome (certain foods causing digestive problems). Food poisoning would probably cause diarrhea…Other than that, mucus could be from intestinal parasites, polyps or bowel inflammation. Colorectal cancer is extremely unlikely at your age.

      Mucus with blood is not normal. If it happens again, I recommend you to visit your doctor.

  • Dallas Guy

    I am a 31 year old male. About a month ago, I had this intense itching in my anus. During this time, a clear liquid drips into my underwear making my bottom very wet and moist. I had to go to the restroom several times to wipe. This in turn results in a not so much of a rash but the area around the rectum turns red and is also very itchy. I used to hemmaroid medication thinking it would work. It did nothing for the itching but the liquid eventually stopped and the redness and itching went away. A few days ago, I noticed the itching was returning. Sure enough, the leaking is back and so is the redness and contant itching. It is so bad, it is impossible to sleep at night. I have visited my dr who has taken some test and i will have to wait until next week but do you any ideas what could cause this?

    • Jan Modric

      Dallas Guy,

      have you had stool test for parasites?

  • Traveller101

    I suffered from severe diarrhoea for 5 days before been diagnoised with travellers diarrhoea. I had been in Nepal the previous week and the doctor believed I had picked something up on my travels. I finished my dose of antibiotics and the diarrhoea stopped. For the past week however since finishing I have mucus stools and an itchy rectum, which bleeds. Should I have it checked out? I have no pains or cramps.

    • Jan Modric


      you have bleeding, itch and mucus now, but did not have them previous week? Yes, I recommend you to check this out. Bleeding from the rectum is never normal.

  • babyone

    I am 29 and barely pregnant (6 weeks) with my first baby. For the past few weeks I have had a weird white mucus covering much of my BMs. I don’t remember it before the pregnancy, but I could be off on my timing. I don’t have any other GI symptoms, although, I do think I have always been more gassy than most. Is this something I should worry about and what could be the cause?

    • Jan Modric


      mucus can sometimes appear in hemorrhoids, but not gas. Parasites can be confirmed by a stool test for ova and parasites. Mucus can also appear in Crohn’s disease or in IBS – this can be sometimes relieved by a low-FODMAP diet. If the mucus persist, a gastroenterologist can say what to do.

  • k10

    I am a 17 year old female. I have been extremely active the past few weeks because I have been preparing myself to play soccer for college in the coming fall. I have never had any digestive problems before. Yesterday and now today, I have realized that I when I go to the restroom to try and pass stools. I’ve needed to do so several times both days so far but each time, all that comes out is what seems to be a cloudy white mucous. Sometimes is seems to be a little pinkish too. I am not having any discomfort, just worrying why this is happening. What do you think is the cause of this and how can I fix it?

    • Jan Modric


      there are several possible causes. First, stool tests, ordered by a gastroenterologist, could reveal if the pink color is from blood or, for example, intestinal parasites. If it is blood, it could be from hemorrhoids caused by straining during bowel movement, or inflammation in the bowel, and then again, a gastroenterologist can tell what to do.

  • David


    I am a 19 year old male who has been experiencing mucus in my stool. It is whitish and seems to only be on the outside of the stool. It is very noticeable when the stool is harder or it has been at least 24 hours since I had a BM, but it still present in smaller quantities in all of my bowel movements. It just started occurring recently (2 weeks ago). I am not sure what is wrong. Please let me know if you do. Thank you!

    • Jan Modric


      intestinal parasites, irritable bowl syndrome, hemorrhoids are common causes, so, to narrow down possibilitie, you should think about eventual other symptoms, changes in diet, soap, clothes, washing powder.

  • David


    So the only thing I can think of is that I have been eating less vegetables. I have also moved to a new place for the summer because of an internship, and have been a little stressed with that and not being home. I can’t think of anything else, though. Are there other questions that you could ask to help narrow down the problem?

    Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it!

    • Jan Modric


      1. if the mucus is like a gelatin, I mean translucent, than likely causes are IBS, intestinal parasites, fructose malabsorption or hemorrhoids.

      IBS can be caused by stress and change of diet. Maybe a certain new food irritates you. Here’s are group of nutrients, called FODMAPS, described, that commonly trigger IBS. IN IBS, abdominal cramps, or bloating or constipation or diarrhea usually appear. If the mucus is the only symptom you are aware of, IBS is less likely, though.

      Sometimes, mucus is the only symptom of intestinal parasites, and I’m not aware of any reliable solution except having a stool test for parasites and , if positive, prescribed antiparasitic medications. Sometimes (not always at all) traces of blood apear in the mucus.

      Translucent mucus can appear in hemorrhoids, and these usually result from constipation and straining at bm.

      Symptoms in fructose malabsorption (bloating, diarrhea, mucus) would be triggered by foods high in fructose (honey, prunes, apples, pears, foods and drinks sweetened by HFCS or sorbitol). Again, mucus as the only symptom is rare in fm.

      Fod allergies could result in mucus, but in this case you would likely experience some itch around the mouth and in the throut and maybe in the anus in minutes/hours after taking a triggering food.

      Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the intestine) usually causes fatigue, anemia, low grade fever, mucus or blood in the stool. I can’t exclude you have a Crohn’s disease; diganosis is made by colonoscopy. Cancer at your age is extremely unlikely.

      2. If the mucus is white (as paper) and sticky, this speaks for fat malabsorption caused by intestinal, liver, pancreatic or gallbladder disease. Translucent mucus is usually not a symptom of these diseases.

      A diet trial lasting for four days with removing possible triggering foods (soda, fast food, and above mentioned FODMAPs) could help and would speak for a dietary cause. If you decide to eat more vegetables and fruits, be aware that beans, apples and fruits with pits may actually cause abdominal bloating and loose stools.

      If a change of diet does not help, a doctor can order a stool test for parasites or other test.

  • Jess77

    I’ve had diarrhea and cramps all week. I’ve suffered from IBS in the past but it was only occasionally and its never lasted this long (only one bad bowel motion then ok). If I don’t eat I’m ok, but when I attempt to eat it comes back again. i’ve not had a normal bowel movement all week.
    Today the diarrhea had what looked like stringy mucous mixed in it.
    I am also ovulating so am not sure if some of that came from my vagina.
    What do I do? If it is from my bowel what could it mean? I’m feeling quite anxious about it. Thanks

    • Jan Modric


      bacterial food poisoning usually resolves within a week, but intestinal parasites typically last longer and can cause mucus in the stool. Mucus with abdominal cramps could be also from small intestinal bacaterial overgrowth, fructose malabsorption and Crohn’s disease. If symptoms don’t resolve in few days, I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist. You would probably know, if your previous ovulations caused “cramps”.

  • teenmom

    i am 18 years old and 39 weeks pregnant , i have been having pain like diahrea but the stools are just soft with mucus and sometimes there is just dark yellow jelly that comes out with spots of blood ..for the past week this has been happening , is something wrong with me?

    • Jan Modric


      I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist, who can order a stool test. They can be intestinal parasites, or bowel inflammation, for example.

  • reynolda

    Hi Jan,

    I’m a 26 year old female and I’ve been experiencing a jelly-like clear/brownish translucent mucus in my stools for the past 4 days. I have also been suffering from abdominal cramping that feels like bloating/gas. This feeling only happens after I eat something- I feel normal in the morning, but begin feeling bloated after breakfast and the feeling intensifies after meals, but seems to subside after I haven’t eaten for 3 hours.

    At the time this all began I had just gone on a family vacation to a river in Oregon. There were lots of mosquitoes around, but we were staying in a house, rather than camping. My relatives’ 4 dogs were also with us.

    Any thoughts as to what might be wrong? Thank you!

    • Jan Modric


      your symptoms and the fact that they started after a travel suggest intestinal parasites. Stool test for parasites ordered by a gastroenterologist is available. The other possibility is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that can sometimes develop after stress, travel, change of diet.

      High-fat foods triggering symptoms would speak for intestinal or gallbladder disorder, symptoms after high-fructose foods (fruits, HFCS) would speak for fructose malabsorption, symptoms after dairy for lactose intolerance…Here are more causes of abdominal bloating and gas described.


    All of today I have had a bloated stomach and been in need of passing gas. I just went to the bathroom (around 2300) for the first time in about 9-10 hours and my underwear was drenched in a yellowish clear mucus. When I wiped there was even more (from my anus). Also my vagina has been sore today, like it feels like I’ve recently had sex with someone of considerable size which I haven’t. I’m 16, female, haven’t felt like vomitting, haven’t had a loss in appetite. I really have no idea what this is. Would really appreciate your help.

    • Jan Modric


      suddenly occuring excessive bloating and gas is often due to dietary causes: large amount of vegetables or other food high in soluble dietary fiber, dairy (in lactose intolerance), faty-sugary foods, fruits, soda with HFCS, honey (in fructose malabsorption) or food poisoning with intestinal parasites. Bacterial food poisoning is usually present with obvious diarrhea, but in parastic food poisoning bloating, gas and mucus may be the only symptoms. Think, if you have eaten excessive amounts of fruits or dairy or something other…otherwise, if no relief in few days, I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist and ask about stool tests for parasites.

  • lilmommaof2

    Hello, I am 31 weeks pregnant, and the last day I have been passing nothing but mucous instead of a BM. It is brownish color, or has streaks of brown, also some streaks of blood in it. Also has a “sick” smell to it. Do you know what could be possibly causing this? Its the weekend and I have had no way of talking to my doctor about this. Thank you.

    • Jan Modric


      it coold be a food poisoning with bacteria or intestinal parasites. Your doctor might suggest a stool test.

  • nikki205

    i just been have this urgency of diarrhea but everytime i go to the toilet nothing comes out but a brownish yellowish particles with a stringy slime. can someone help me?

    • Jan Modric


      they could be intestinal parasites. I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist and ask for a stool test.

  • Jabb


    I have had diarrhoea for about a week, it started out quite intense then started to go away and then came back again, and my BM’s are light yellowish in colour, they look kind of fluffy and there are almost white blobs in them and i notice when I wipe that it is yellowish jelly-like. there may be small amounts of blood but I am menstruating so can’t rule that out completely.. i’m 21 yrs of age and female… any ideas? also have been having a bit of a sore stomach and when I go to the toilet it is definitely quite gassy. and have been going to the toilet a lot more frequently than usual.

    • Jan Modric


      a stool test for blood and fat and parasites would narrow down possible causes. I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist.

  • rinaz

    after bowel movement i still feel bloated and so when i have another bowel movement its just mucus that comes out some clear some pale white.

    • Jan Modric


      if you think mucus is worse after certain foods, like fruits, you can read more about fructose malabsorption (link in the article). One possible cause are intestinal parasites – diagnosis is with a stool test for parasites.

  • prego_mom

    Hi, I’m 28 years old, and 2.5 months pregnant with my second child. I’ve never had hayfever before but for the first time in my life had hayfever symptoms about 1.5 months ago.
    Then about a month ago I started having very bad gas problems, feeling like little explosions going on inside my intestines. Then all of my BM’s turned to diarrhea and has been this way for the past 2.5 weeks. It’s been very difficult as I’m dealing with morning sickness (from being pregnant) and diarrhea. I started just having mucus BM’s as well as I have not been eating much because of the diarrhea.
    I went to the doctor and they did parasitic and bacterial tests on a stool sample which came back negative.
    I’ll also note that my son has had diarrhea for the past… 3 months as well.
    Please help, I was really hoping it was a bacterial infection because there’s a cure but now that they came back negative I don’t know what to think?!

    • Jan Modric


      bacterial food poisoning usually heals on its own within a week, but parasitic infection may last for weeks or months. Stool tests for parasites are sometimes false negative, so maybe both you and your son could have stool tests for parasites again. Parasites may cause an allergic-like reaction with hives…My first thought was food allergy, but then you mentioned your son has also diarrhea.

  • bernard azubike

    pls help,i start having internal heat,and after i have stomake noise and letter i loss appertite and start haveing digestion problem,and always see mucus in my bowel,with always fell fatige. pls what medication do i take?

    • Jan Modric

      bernard azubike,

      a stool test can reveal intestinal parasites. In any case, I recommend you to visit a gastroenterologist.

  • prego_mom

    Hi Jan,

    No hive like symptoms at all. Any other idea’s? Im grappling here.

    • Jan Modric


      I’ve mentioned hives, since I was assuming you’ve had it along with hay fever. Hives (only) sometimes occur in intestinal parasites, so I’ve connected the two. Symptoms you’ve mentioned speak for something happening in your bowel. Your son having symptoms at the same time speak for an infection, and since bacterial and viral gastrointestinal infections usually last lest than a week, I’ve thought parasitic infection could be the cause.

      Non-infectious causes of excessive gas and diarrhea:
      – food intolerances, such as fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance, food allergies. Avoiding problematic foods (low-fructose, or lactose-free or gluten free diet trial, or avoiding eventual foods that cause allergy would reveal the cause).
      – disorders of the small intestine (Crohn’s or celiac disease), liver, gallbladder, bile duct or pancreas resulting in reduced absorption of certain nutrients. These disorders can be suspected from abnormal levels of liver enzymes and certain other substances in the blood.

      Again, stool tests for parasites are often false negative, so one option is to ask for this test again. I do not recommend you any non-prescribed anti-parasitic drugs, though. Another option is to have some abovementioned diet trials.

  • danm

    Jan, could it be that she has some kind of virus or something like that? (no offense meant here, but the clap or Gonr or hiv? These virus’s also cause diarehha dont they? Im not an expert but a friend of mine also had same problem and was told this might be a similar problem.

    • Jan Modric


      I’ve listed only causes that can explain her and her son’s diarrhea occurring at about the same time and lasting 3+months. I can’t exclude anything, though.

  • Prego_mom

    What really? I should ask my doctor to check for stds then too?

  • Schedule

    Best you should make changes to the post name What Causes Mucus in the Bowel Movement? | Healthhype.com to something more suited for your blog post you write. I liked the blog post nevertheless.

    • Jan Modric


      what’s wrong with the post title?

  • SammySmith


    I am a 33 year old male and have this mucus discharge from the anus for a few years now like almost 10 years. I was very embarrased to discuss it with anyone including my doctor.
    Last year i discussed it with my doctor and he has ordered various tests but unable to diagnose anything.
    Also had a colonoscopy done and there was nothing unusual.
    I tried making changes to my diet as I did think I was suffering from IBS etc and tried various diets.

    I have suffered from constipation since I was a teenager and not its gone really bad as there’s a discharge when i wake up in the morning. Its clear and there’s no smell to it. If i am unable to empty my bowel then there would be a few more times the discharge will be there. Its noticeable only if I am sitting on a chair and can smell due to the wetness and me sitting for a long time.
    I also get bloating due to that and even the bloating is visible.
    Sometimes if I pass wind and then the discharge won’t happen but it can be a problem to even do that at times.
    I have difficulty emptying my bowel a 100% and only can do utpo 99% most of the times. The discharge is ok by after 6pm usually and i am ok for the night.
    I have no other problems and a perfectly healthy male.
    Often when the discharge happens I have this uncomfortable feeling in my legs and the bottom of my feet but I cant do anything to stop it. I try to contract my pelvic floor muscles but because the bowel is not 100% empty its very uncomfortable.
    I have changed from my previous doctors and they tell me its nothing serious but the discomfort is getting too much as for the last week, its been itching as well and I would appreciate all help.


    • Jan Modric


      which exact diets have you already tried, and do you think there’s more mucus and bloating after eating dairy, or fruits, or grains the previous day?

      Have you tried
      a low-fructose diet (in case you have fructose malabsorption, it should help in few days)
      a low-FODMAP diet (a combination of low fructose and lactose-free diet) This may help in IBS.

      If this does not help, you can ask a gastroenterologist about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

  • SammySmith

    Hi Jan,

    Thankyou for replying.

    I have tried pretty much everything.
    Tried lactose free diet.
    Tried gluten free diet.
    tried vegetarian diet.
    no fruits.
    high carb and vegetable diet.

    I also tried all of them together by giving up dairy and gluten at the same time.

    The problem I believe occurs from unability to empty bowel completely as there’s always a feeling of unemptiness which causes bloating and hence the mucus. the remaining stool is normally the size of a chick pea which I struggle with.

    I will keep a diary and see what happens the next day but do you see any other causes?? I appreciate your help.


    • Jan Modric


      would you say when you manage to empty your bowel completely, there’s no bloating and mucus in the morning? Diverticles or a polyp in the rectum could cause incomplete bowel emptying, and hemorrhoids could possibly give the same feeling; mucus can be also associated with hemorrhoids. A colonoscopy should clearly reveal all of these, though.

      Drinking sufficient amount of water and maintaining soft stools by including soluble fiber in your diet can prevent constipation.

  • SammySmith

    Hi Jan,

    Yes, when I empty the bowel completely, I do not have bloating or any mucus.
    My colonoscopy did reveal a couple of polyps but ruled out anything serious or the cause of discharge.
    I am so confused as to what the cause may be.

    • Jan Modric


      where exactly were the polyps found? Were any samples of the polyps taken (biopsy) during the colonoscopy, and if yes, what was said to be their nature? Polyps can both secrete mucus and, if large, partially block the colon (rectum), what could cause the problem with emptying the bowel. Polyps may occur in certain hereditary disorders, in Crohn’s disease, or as an abnormal overgrowth of the colonic mucosa which could develop into a colorectal cancer with time. Except of certain hereditary types, colorectal cancer at 33 is extremely rare, though. I’m not aware of existence of any “normal” colonic polyps, so I recommend you to go through your medical documentation to find out any doctor’s comments about the polyps.

      Mucus, when staying in the bowel overnight can be broken down by normal intestinal bacteria, resulting in bloating, as you already know. It’s quite possible mucus is secreted by the polyps.

  • SammySmith

    Hmmm. Thanks Jan this is really helpful. I will go back to my Gastro and consult regarding that and take it from there.

    Will be in touch and really appreciate your help.


  • cj85

    i am 25 years of age.i am 5 months pregant.i have been having pains at the bottom and sides of my stomach.this last few days my bowel movements has ben loose with mucus.i feel like im loaded with the cold but i dont have the cold.is this all normal.

    • Jan Modric


      it does not sound normal to me. A gastroenterologist can order a stool test for parasites or bacteria or some other test.

  • Sharon

    I am a 42 year old woman and whilst I have several “heat attacks” since 12 years old, it recently seems to have intensified i.e

    Sudden extreme abdominal pains (now back pain too), immediate rush to the loo, followed by extreme heat to the head to the point of near collapse. I have to quickly down a few glasses of ice water and cool off my entire body (cold shower or cloth dab) before I go into a hyperventiliating state then followed by smelly unformed stools. This normally happens four times in a year and last the most 3 hours until the last attack which went on for the entire night. Test results reveal all is well with my blood. However, mucus and occult blood found in stool sample. I had a colonscopy 2 years ago – no problems deteected. This time – Doctor says no need to worry. Something tells me otherwise? Help! Sharon

    • Jan Modric


      I can’t offer you any solution in the situation where I have no idea where those dramatic heat episodes originate from.

      Few possible causes:
      Allergy to certain food
      Intestinal parasites
      Carcinoid syndrome (usually due to a small bowel tumor that secretes certain substances that may cause skin flushing and hyperventilation)
      Occasional excessive secretion of thyroid hormones or adrenaline due to a certain thyroid or suprarenal gland disorder.

      I recommend you to discuss about above possibilities with your doctor. Blood and mucus speak for a gastrointestinal problem, so you can discuss about having an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Colonoscopy does not usually detect intestinal parasites and carcinoid tumor.

  • gkuche

    Jan, I have a really strange one. My 4 year old son is pooping a lot of mucus. It is clear/brownish and sometimes is clear/pink/red. His stool is green and the mucus has a fishy smell to it. He is happy as a lark other than this. He has had a few accident’s in his underwear when he passes gas. It is usually just clear smelly mucus. He has no fever, no abdominal pain. He has a done of energy and couldn’t be any happier. One thing of concern for me is he had a really bad episode of this 5 months ago after we returned from a trip to Florida. He had water diarrhea in the airport and couldn’t even make it to the bathroom. From that day on, he had stomach pain when he went to the restroom, mucus (sometimes with blood) and was going to the bathroom 20 times a day with mostly mucus coming out. This went on for 2 weeks! I was giving him probiotic and yogurt every day and this is what seemed to finally clear it up or else it ran its course. He has been doing good until this recent episode except for having green well formed stools. Thanks for any advice.

    • Jan Modric


      blood in the stool excludes IBS. My first thought were intestinal parasites. Stool tests for parasites are often false negative – in this case you can discuss with a doctor about repeating the test. Bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in small children are extremely rare. The fact that you’ve also had mucus in the stool, to me, speak in favor of intestinal parasites.

  • gkuche

    One more thing, my stomach is so sick over this. I of course worry about cancer or something scary because I know this is not normal. I am a worrier and I will say that I have had stool with this fishy mucus before, but not as much mucus as he has come on and not with blood in it. He is having stool cultures done right now. Thanks again for any advice. Can kids this young have IBS?

  • gkuche

    Thanks Jan. There is not blood in my son’s stool, but rather blood or a pinkish red tinge in the mucus. I was thinking this may be from the bowel/colon being irritated. Could IBS cause this? Thanks!

    • Jan Modric


      in an irritable bowel syndrome, the bowel does not get irritated to the point where it would start to bleed. Bleeding is also not common in food intolerances or mild food poisoning, or “stomach flu” (viral gastroenteritis). Intestinal parasites or a certain bowel disorder are more likely, so I really recommend you to take your son to the doctor.

  • 22 female worried

    Hi, I’m a 22 year old female, a few months ago i started noticing mucus in my bowel movements, some attached to my stool and normally some on its own before passing the stool. It was sort of a beige or yellowish colour. I have never had any medical problems before other then i always tended to go between constipation..(not severe or anything) and what i think to be pretty regualr bowel movements..not hard to pass and not diarrhea, the mucus didn’t really bother me so i wasn’t really worried about it. Lately though i noticed it became slightly tinted to pink.making me pay more attention and now there is streaks of blood in it…sometimes if feels like i need to have a bowel movement but when i go to the washroom all i pass is mucus and blood…when i do pass stool though it is still hard forms, not at all like diarrhea at all…sometimes i have an urgent feeling to use the washroom but like i said no diarrhea, i have notice that my symptoms become worse just before and during my period. I have been looking online for possible causes for such symptoms but nothing really seems to make sense..for my age it seems very unlikely to be cancer, ulcerative colitis seems possible..but yet at the same time not..because i don’t have severe or hardly cramps at all and it is not diarrhea, i just wondering if anyone has some ideas of what this could be..can internal hemorrhoids cause symptoms like this? i know i need to go see my doctor, but i would like to go with some ideas in mind as to what the most likely cause of this could be..any comments would be appreciated

    • Jan Modric

      22 female worried,

      a combination of bleeding, mucus, constipation and urgency is not typical enough to narrow down the possible causes to one single disorder, but I’ll try to explain some circumstances:

      – internal hemorrhoids can produce translucent and non-smelly mucus. They can bleed when they rupture; in this case there would be obvious blood in the toilet and on the tissue. A gastroenterologist can use a short tube with a light (an anoscope) to check for internal hemorrhoids.
      – intestinal parasites can cause various combinations of bleeding and mucus (which often smells badly); absence of other symptoms, like diarrhea does not exclude parasites. A stool test is needed for diagnosis.
      – endometriosis (abnormal growth of the uterine mucosal tissue within the bowel) could cause bleeding and mucus. I’ve mentioned this, since you’ve said symptoms are worse before and during periods what typically occurs in endometriosis. A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy with biopsy would be needed for diagnosis.

      – in ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease a combination of ulcers and polyps could result in bleeding and mucus, but also likely in diarrhea and general symptoms of sickness, such as tiredness, low-grade fever and poor appetite.
      – celiac disease severe enough to cause bleeding would also likely cause diarrhea and other symptoms

      Colorectal cancer is extremely rare at 22, especially if there is no family history of other young family members ever having this cancer.
      In IBS, constipation or diarrhea is typically triggered by meals and relieved by bowel movements.
      Food intolerances themselves do not likely cause bleeding.

  • 22 female worried

    thanks Jan,

    i really appreciate your reply, from what you described i think it sounds more like a parasite of some sort…i just hadn’t thought that possible because i thought that diarrhea would have to be present for it to be a parasite. The blood is bright red and like i said no fever, loss of appetite, weight loss or fatigue really so that is also why i’m thinking not ulcerative colitis or crohn’s . what kind of treatment if it was a parasite would be needed?

    thanks again for you post..it put my mind at ease until i can get to see my doctor

    • Jan Modric

      22 female worried,

      prescribed oral antiparasitic medication either in one dose or as a few days course is prescribed by a doctor. Various remedies are usually either not safe or not effective.

  • 21 male embarrassed

    My anus hurts, itches, and stings when i wipe. If i squat over a mirror and spread it, i can see 2 tit like bumps with white heads. it seems if i itch it Socrates a clear watery liquid. Ive looked up a bunch of possibilities like hypertrophied anal papilla or fistulas or polyps. what do you think? and is there anything i can do to relive pain and or discomfort? Thank You.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi 21 Male Embarrassed

      You may find a list of causes under this article – http://www.healthhype.com/itchy-rectum-and-anus-causes-and-treatment.html

      There is no reason to suspect a fistula or polyp just yet. Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are more common causes but you should see a doctor who can examine the area. It is difficult to advise on any measures to relieve these symptoms without it being diagnosed. Your doctor will be able to advise your further on the appropriate treatment.

  • Dominique_Gay

    Hi! I’m a 25 year old, gay guy. About two weeks ago, my boyfriend of two years, and I didn’t use protection for the first time.

    Now, I’m passing this whiteish/brown mucus. I have false alarms of defecations, and I experiencing a dull pain and a slight burning sensation within my rectum.

    Thinking it’s hemorrhoids, I went out and bought the cream. It helps with the uncomfortability. Could this be hemorrhoids I am enduring?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dominique

      Yes, hemorrhoids could account for many of the symptoms you are now experiencing including the mucus. However, you should see your doctor to investigate proctitis which could be related to a sexually transmitted infection. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help minimize any complications. Your doctor will be able to advise your further.

  • Shaheed

    I am 17 years old , and I have been pooping mucus
    What could be the problem

    • Hi Shaheed. As you can see above there are many possible causes. It depends on what other symptoms are present. Hemorrhoids is one of the more common causes for small amounts of mucus in the stool. Inflammatory bowel disease may be another relatively common cause. The accompanying symptoms like diarrhea, anal itching and so on can be helpful in identifying the most likely condition.

  • Joe smith

    I’m 47 years old and I’ve ben losing weight for about 2 to 3 years. I’ve had constipation for that whole time. I haven’t paid any attention to my stool at the time, but the last 5 months I noticed what looks like white worms in my stool. If left in toilet for about a hour, it seems to dissolve to look like mucus. Symptoms that may or may not be related are itchy skin, muscle pain, and a small balance problem. I could use some help identifying this problem.

    • Hi Joe. Most of these symptoms are present in a number of different conditions so the question is whether this is a single condition or multiple conditions. Some diseases can affect multiple systems simultaneously, like diabetes, HIV infection, autoimmune diseases and so on. The simultaneous weight loss is a cause for concern especially with constipation and mucus in the stool. These days one has to be attentive for early signs of conditions like colorectal cancer but do not be too concerned just yet. Rather see your doctor and have this checked up.

  • Iggy

    I’m 24, and about two months ago I started pooping mucus. It went on for 3 days and then stopped. Then a month later it started again but only happened twice, and it happened again just today, so it’s infrequent. All other bowel movements are normal. The mucus will occassionally have some red flecks in it, but otherwise it’s clear. When I pass this mucus I have an intense urge to go to the bathroom, but it’s not painful, and when I go, it’s nothing but this small mucus lump and nothing else. What could be wrong?

    • Hi Iggy. There may be several reasons for mucus in the stool as you can see from the article above but one of the concerns in your age group is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It must not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You need to see a doctor as soon as possible and possibly undergo further investigations like a colonoscopy. While your symptoms may not be severe right now, IBD is a serious condition and sometimes may hold significant risks as your doctor will explain to you. However, with early diagnosis and proper treatment it can be managed well. Of course there could be other conditions causing this symptom so your doctor will advise your further.

  • Allergy parent

    Thank you for the helpful information. I suspect my 18 month old’s pale yellow, runny, mucousy poops from the last 2 days are caused by the same bug that had him throwing up several times the day before they started but I’ll be sure to take him to the doctor if they persist beyond another day or 2.

    I do have a complaint about the article, however, that would be easily corrected. Under the large topic heading of Mucous Diarrhea there are several subheadings, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Food Poisoning, and “Food Intolerances.” By listing food in tolerances in quotes, when none of the other subheadings are, this article gives the impression that the things in that category, which include food allergies and Celiac disease, are imaginary or not something to take seriously. I am sure your site does not intend to give that impression since both conditions are very serious and food allergy in particular, is often life threatening. People with these conditions spend a lot of time trying to convince those around them to take their conditions seriously, they do not need educational sites such as this fighting against them.

    • Hi Allergy Parent. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. We are definitely not inferring that food intolerances are imaginary conditions. Food intolerances are very real conditions. However, as you may have noted the article discussed both intolerances and malabsorption syndromes as well as food allergies. So the food intolerance in quotes is being used as an umbrella term. For example lactose intolerance is a food intolerance where the body cannot digest lactose. Fructose malabsorption is not a problem with digestion but rather with absorption. Celiac disease is a reaction to gluten. So an allergy or malabsorption is not a food intolerance like lactose intolerance but people find that they cannot tolerate these foods for the other reasons mentioned. Hence we used the quotes to say that while you may find that you cannot tolerate certain foods its not always a typical food intolerance as we would look at lactose intolerance. Hope that clarifies the issue.

  • Tanja

    Help.. Ok about a yr ago i was so constipated i did not have a BM for nearly a month. I went to ER they acted like i was lyin gave me an enema amx sent me home. Then 3 months later mucus in my stools, a little at first then there was nothing but mucus and blood. I had/have stomach pain all the time, have to force a bm and still its mainly mucus. In 6 months i went from heavier 210 (im 6ft) to 160.. I couldn’t eat. It made me hurt, nausea then i start belching. Huge gross belchess all the time.. Now here i am a yr later i weigh 169 im pale always cold, cant eat much, still constipation mucus and bloody stools.

    • Hi Tanja. Hopefully you are consulting with a doctor about these symptoms. There are several conditions, some of which may bery serious, that could be causing these symptoms. If you look at the symptoms collectively then this could be due to conditions like hypothyroidism. Do not be fooled by the slight weight gain. Contrary to popular belief, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) only causes moderate weight gain. However, the change in bowel habit with bloody stools can also occur with serious conditions like colorectal cancer. These are just some of the possibilities and you need to relay all of this information to your doctor. Further tests and scans are definitely warranted based on what you report.

      • Tanja

        I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy scheduled for june. I have a bad upper GI BLEED and they are doin more test. They are afraid cancer. Does it sound most lukely?