Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Mucus recently
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Mucus recently

I have had IBS for about 6 years now.  It usually alternates between Constipation and Diarreah (diarrhea).  Recently I have had extremely bad gas and pass alot of mucus, sometimes an all mucus stool.  I am 30 years old, no history in my family of polyps or colon cancer but I am a little freaked out and afraid thats what it might be.  I visited a colorectal surgeon recently for an anal fissure and rectal bleeding but there was no treatment other than stool softeners.  I was wondering what could cause mucus and is it dangerous?? I have been under enormous stress lately.  Can IBS trigger mucus?  I have no cramps just sometimes gassy cramps in the middle lower abdomen.  Thanks so much.
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I agree with everything that's been said in the comments.  IBS can certainly cause mucous in the stool, along with masses, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or malabsorption syndromes.

Before attributing it to IBS, I would suggest a colonoscopy to make sure it isn't anything more serious than that.  You may also want to consider tests for malabsorption including serum tests for celiac disease or fecal tests for fat malabsorption.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
4 Comments
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mucus is not a typical part of IBS: it can be due to many things, from infection, to inflammatory bowel problems, to certain types of growths (usually benign polyps.) It might be that the next step would be a look inside with a colonoscopy.
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I read the surgeon's comment that mucus in stool is not associated with IBS.  I am no doctor, but EVERYTHING I have read about IBS states that mucus in the stool is quite common in IBS.  In fact, having mucus in at least 1/4 of bowel movements is one of the criteria for diagnosing IBS according to some standards.  At any rate, I would still follow his instructions in case it is something more serious (like IBD).
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Although mucus can be associated with the above diagnosises, I most commonly see it with IBS patients.  I would not call it an "alarm" feature that would raise my eyebrows to something non-IBS occuring. I would agree, however that if this has been a distinct change in your typical IBS symtoms (symptoms) it should be further evaluated (by colonoscopy prefered).

GI.PA
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I guess it would have been better if I'd said that, as a surgeon, the causes I see for mucus are more in the categories I mentioned. So my bias is not to diagnose IBS without ruling out other sources.
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A related discussion, bowel movements was started.
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