Mucus is a thick, slimy substance that is produced by the body's mucous membranes. According to Cleveland Clinic, mucous membranes are found in many areas of the body, including the nose, throat, lungs, and digestive tract. Mucus has many benefits and serves a number of important functions in the body. First, it helps moisten inhaled air and acts as a lubricant, which helps to protect the tissues and organs (via Medical News Today). Mucus also acts as a filter, trapping dust and other particles that can damage the body's tissues. Likewise, it helps defend the body against infection thanks to its natural antibiotics that help to fight off infection by binding to and neutralizing harmful microorganisms, explains Cleveland Clinic.
What It Means When You Have Mucus In Your Stool
If you are noticing mucus in your stool, it is normal to have it in small amounts. However, when there's a large amount of mucus in your stool — or if the mucus is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain or changes in bowel movements — it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Although it sounds a little distasteful, it's worth taking a closer look at your poop from time to time. You've probably noticed that stool comes in different shapes and colors. This change in appearance is usually a good indicator of your diet (via WebMD). Therefore, the current color of your stool will largely depend on what you've eaten recently. Whether you ate chocolate or salad, the waste products your body excretes inevitably turn into brown poop — but why is stool sometimes green, black, or gray?
So, what is constipation? The NIDDK defines constipation as experiencing "fewer than three bowel movements a week" due to hard, dry stools that are painful or difficult to pass. The condition can also include the feeling of an incomplete bowel movement. It happens when stool moves too slowly through the digestive system, causing the colon to absorb more water from the food waste and producing hard stools (via Johns Hopkins Medicine).
Spastic colon is a term that is often used to describe the condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a disorder that impacts the large intestine and has a wide array of symptoms, including abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. While most cases of IBS aren't serious, the condition is chronic, and an afflicted person will have to learn how to manage its symptoms (via the Mayo Clinic).
There's no doubt that irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS, is an uncomfortable condition. It's also a chronic condition, and the symptoms are likely to persist for a long period of time, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pain in the abdomen, cramping, bloating, and changes in the way bowel movements look (such as mucus in stool) or the frequency at which the bowel movements occur are some notable symptoms of IBS.