Mucus in Feces, Green Feces and Other Changes

Changes in the normal stool characteristics may be the first sign of disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, not many people have the habit of checking the appearance of stools after each bowel movement, letting clear signs of digestive problems.

Bristol stool chart
Bristol stool chart

While being treated with disgust and disregard the production of stools is a physiological mechanism like many other our body. Feces are nothing more than the remains unabsorbed food we eat throughout the day mixed with secretions of the intestinal tract, such as bile. The appearance of stools can therefore be an important signal for the health of the gastrointestinal tract and must not be neglected.

In this article we will cover the most common changes in the appearance of feces, including the following: stool shape, presence of mucus, blood or fat droplets in the stool, pale stools and other common changes in your appearance.

What is normal stool?

Before we talk of change, it is necessary to explain how the normal and desired appearance of the stool.

Was proposed in 1997 a classification of the most common forms of feces call Bristol Stool Scale.

This range is divided into seven types of stool, according to the speed of intestinal transit:
  • Types 1 and 2 occur in people with slow intestinal transit, with little fiber in food and tendency to constipation.
  • The types 3, 4 and 5 are the forms considered normal, and the type 4 more healthy and desirably faeces.
  • Types 6 and 7 indicate an accelerated intestinal transit, with less time for the absorption of water and nutrients, are considered as diarrhea.

Obs: the stool type 5 if you do not have well-defined edges and boiarem may indicate an accelerated intestinal transit, with rich feces gases, carbohydrates and / or fat. In this case, it is a type of diarrhea, it is not a desirable way of disposal.

Therefore, normal stools are solid, molded in the form of sausage, moist, have a brownish color, do not cause pain to go out and have no other changes, such as mucus, pus or blood.

Mucus in the stool

One of the greatest doubts as to the appearance of feces is to the meaning of the presence of mucous in stool.

The occurrence of stools with mucus in an asymptomatic patient, healthy and seemingly normal stool is usually not signal any major problem. This mucus in the stool is only one of this mucus holdover on the wall of the intestines, whose function is to lubricate it to facilitate the passage of intestinal transit. Therefore, small amounts of mucus may appear intermittently in faeces without this implying any health problem.

However, if the mucus removal is too often and in large quantities, it may signal some intestinal problem. The most common of these is irritable bowel syndrome, benign alteration of bowel function. In this case, the appearance of mucus usually be accompanied by diarrhea or constipation (or alternatively both). Cramps are also a very common symptom. We'll talk about irritable bowel syndrome in a separate article to be written briefly.

The presence of mucus in the stool becomes a relevant signal if the patient also has other changes, especially diarrhea with pus and / or blood in the stool. In this case, the possibilities of diagnoses include infectious gastroenteritis, especially if the patient has a fever, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

The presence of mucus and blood in the stool of patients with more than 50 years can be an intestinal tumor signal.

Changes in color of feces

Feces are formed from a mixture containing food remains unabsorbed, undigested foods, bacteria, water, digestive enzymes and bile. The presence of bile is that it gives the usual pale stools, ranging from light brown to dark brown.

The color change of stool may be an important clue about the state of health of the gastrointestinal tract:

1. Green feces

Bile is a substance produced in the liver, excreted in the intestine and eliminated with the feces. Bile is a green pigment which turns brown after undergoing the action of bacteria and digestive enzymes in the intestinal tract.

Stools with greenish tones can occur whenever something prevents bile becomes brown. The most common cause is diarrhea, which makes it very fast bowel transit, reducing the exposure time to bacteria bile and digestive enzymes.

A large consumption of green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce, for example, can also make greenish stools.

Other causes of green stool in adults are:
  • Recent consumption of antibiotics, which can reduce the normal bacterial flora of the intestines.
  • Foods or beverages containing green dye.
  • Iron intake (usually causes black stools, but in some cases it may become dark green).

Green stools in babies is also a common finding, especially those still under exclusive breastfeeding. These babies may not yet have a fully developed intestinal bacterial flora, so the bile does not acquire its characteristic brown color. In general, this group, the stools are greenish or yellowish middle.

In newborn babies, the first evacuations, called meconium, are slimy fish waste and very dark green. These stools are formed in the womb and are becoming clearer with each passing day, as new stools are produced from the milk digestion.

2. Black Stools

Black, tarry stools often have two origins:
  • High gastrointestinal bleedings, or esophagus, stomach or duodenum.
  • Iron supplement consumption or other medications such as bismuth salicylate.

When black stools are caused by bleeding of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, they are due to digestion of blood, which must go through the whole intestinal tract before being eliminated with the feces. In addition to black, the stool with digested blood usually pasty, sticky and very strong, unpleasant odor. This type of stool is called melena.

Already dark stools caused by iron intake are distinguished from melena not have the strong unpleasant odor and its consistency, which is usually not doughy or sticky.

3. Yellow feces or fecal fat excretion

Yellowish feces tend to be caused by deficiency in the absorption of fats or digested by reducing the concentration of bile in the feces.

Patients often excrete yellowish feces, especially if they have boiarem or drops of fat (like drops of oil) around, should seek medical advice as these are signs of problems in digestion of ingested fat. Some diseases that can cause malabsorption of fats are:

Yellow stools that occur sporadically associated with short-lived diarrhea framework, have great importance because they are transient absorption problems caused usually by some food poisoning or viral gastroenteritis.

Liver problems causing reduction of bile excreted in feces volume can also lead to light yellow stool appearances, as we will explain below.

4. White or pale stools Stools

The absence of bilirubin makes stools have a clear color, sometimes they come to be white. Diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis can cause pale stools, which are usually associated with the presence of jaundice (yellow skin).

Blood in the stool or red stools

The presence of blood in the stool wrapped is usually caused by rectal lesions, especially hemorrhoids or anal fissure.

While most cases of bloody stools be caused by benign anal and rectal lesions, the presence of blood in feces can also be a sign of disease in the colon, such as tumors, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Dysentery caused by bacterial gastroenteritis can also cause bloody stools.

It is important not to confuse the presence of blood in the stool to stool only reddish. The latter can occur by consumption of food or drinks with the red dye, large consumption of sugar beet, tomato or cranberry.

Other common changes in the appearance of stool

In addition to the changes in appearance of the stool already described, there are many others that may be present. Let's summarize some of them:

Feces tape: tape feces, or feces very thin and long usually occur in irritable bowel syndrome, but may be a signal colon cancer, especially if it is accompanied by bleeding.

Remains of food in the stool: not everything that consumption is easily digested. Foods such as beans, corn, and various other plants are high in fiber or cellulose and can be identified in feces without this having any clinical relevance.

Undigested food in the stool only is a sign of trouble if they are accompanied by persistent diarrhea, weight loss or other changes in your bowel habits.

Worms in the stool: people infected by parasites may notice the presence of small worms in the stool. If your problem, seek medical advice to start treatment.

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