What causes yellow thread-like mucus in stool

Introduction - what is a slimy bowel movement?

Slimy bowel movements are mainly characterized by their slimy deposits. In principle, the stool can be either solid or rather liquid. In addition, the bowel movement can take on different colors, which may give an indication of the cause of the slimy bowel movement.

In most cases, the stool itself is not slimy, but rather slimy additions or deposits during stool. This mucus can consist of various substances such as individual (mostly undigested) Constituents of food or digestive juices and saliva.

Depending on the color and consistency of the mucus and the stool, conclusions can be drawn about various causes.

Causes of the slimy stool

The causes of slimy stool are many. The most common causes vary greatly depending on the age of the person concerned.

In infants and toddlers, bowel movements are usually very slimy harmless Causes. Typically, during a phase in which the child is salivating a lot, some of the saliva enters the digestive tract. If the amount is so large that it cannot be completely absorbed in the intestine, the saliva will be noticed as light-colored mucus or often the color of a bowel movement.

In the elderly, different Diseases of the digestive tract and metabolism inadequate processing of food in the intestines may be the cause of slimy stool. For example, if there are diseases of the pancreas (pancreas) or the gallbladder, not enough digestive enzymes are added to the food pulp. This leads to incomplete digestion and the resulting slimy consistency. Food intolerances can also cause slimy bowel movements via this mechanism.

Will the composition of normal intestinal bacteria through Antibiotics or Gastrointestinal infections disturbed, the stool can also become slimy. Only in rare cases is a tumor (benign or malignant) of the digestive tract is responsible for the development of slimy stool. You can also inflammatory bowel disease how Crohn's disease or Ulcerative colitis trigger the discomfort.

Use of antibiotics for slimy bowel movements

Antibiotics are drugs that are used against different types of bacteria. However, they not only work against the pathogens they are supposed to fight. Instead, the natural bacterial colonization of the intestine is also influenced by the antibiotics. This upsets the natural balance of the intestinal bacteria.

Since the bacteria in the intestine play a major role in the decomposition of the individual food components and thus in digestion, antibiotic therapy can reduce the Make digestion significantly more difficult. So antibiotics can cause slimy bowel movements. In addition, antibiotic treatment often makes the stool thinner and it can also change its color temporarily.

Would you like to know more about the unwanted accompanying symptoms of antibiotic therapy? You can read more about this in our next article: Side effects of antibiotics

Diagnosis of slimy stool

The diagnosis of the symptom of slimy stool is initially based on a detailed one anamnese. The doctor asks about possible causes of the slimy stool and finds out the duration and, if necessary, other accompanying symptoms.

This is followed by a physical examination, in which the abdomen in particular is listened to and palpated. Depending on the suspected cause of the slimy stool, other diagnostic tools such as one will follow Blood collection or one Imaging (for example by means of Ultrasound). In addition, the stool can be examined for pathogens.

In rare cases, a Endoscopy of the gastrointestinal tract become necessary. A camera on a flexible rod / tube is inserted into the intestinal sections to be examined via the mouth or anus, so that the digestive tract can be viewed from the inside. During the examination you can also Biopsies (small tissue samples) can be taken for further investigation.

You may also be interested in the next topic: Course of a colonoscopy

These symptoms tell me that my slimy stool is abnormal

Whether mucus in the stool is a normal or a pathological deviation of the stool is usually best differentiated by its color.

So is a bright or colorless slime in most cases harmless and often due to changes in diet or fluctuations in normal diet. Likewise, colored slime colored by certain recently ingested foods is not a cause for concern (green slime after spinach / lettuce, orange / red slime after carrots and peppers, etc.).

Against it points yellowish mucus often on infectious diseases (the yellow color is caused by pus) or digestive enzyme disorders.

Red slime or dark brown / black slime is on in most cases Blood in the stool traced back. This can only be caused by bleeding in the digestive tract and should therefore be investigated in more detail.

If in addition to the slimy stool other symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or a severe change in the consistency of the stool (Constipation / diarrhea) occur, regardless of the color of the mucus, a pathological cause should be considered.

Slimy stool with blood

Slimy stool with blood is an indication of lesions (Injuries) in the gastrointestinal tract. A distinction is made between different states of the admixed blood.

It is about bright red (and thus fresh) Blood, the posterior sections of the intestine are usually injured, as the blood only enters the stool shortly before the anus. Has the blood already clotted -dark brownthe source of bleeding is in the higher parts of the intestine.

Black blood usually comes from the stomach, as the blood can only take on a black color due to the particularly strong stomach acid.

The digestion is disturbed by the damage to the intestinal mucosa, which makes the stool additionally slimy.

Are you interested in this topic? You can read more about this in our next article: Blood in the stool - what are the causes?

Slimy stool with diarrhea

Diarrhea is characterized by the fact that the stool becomes softer to fluid. In addition, the stool frequency increases to at least 3 bowel movements per day. If there are also slimy deposits in the stool, you should first contact one Infectious disease of the digestive tract think.

Through the Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract digestion cannot take place as usual. This leads to the slimy additions in the stool. In addition, the inflammation means that the intestines do not absorb as much fluid as usual from the stool, which leads to diarrhea. This condition can basically be caused by pathogens, chronic inflammation, wrong food or Medication to be triggered.

Read more interesting information on this topic at: Slimy diarrhea

Our next article could also be of interest to you: Causes of diarrhea

Treatment of slimy stool

In many cases, slimy stool does not need to be treated in the traditional sense. Especially when certain foods or drugs are responsible for the mucus in the stool, it is sufficient to omit these substances and no longer consume them.

If, on the other hand, pathogens are responsible for the slimy stool, there is usually no more than one symptomatic therapy with sufficient fluids and a slow post-infection diet is necessary as a treatment. If necessary, the pathogens can be treated with medication.

More severe conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or digestive disorders (Liver, gallbladder, pancreas) clearly require one more detailed therapy. For example, a blockage of the biliary or pancreatic ducts often has to be treated surgically. A drug substitution (Encoredigestive enzymes can help with digestive problems.

Chronic inflammation of the intestine may require therapy with anti-inflammatory drugs In more pronounced cases, active ingredients are also used that reduce the strong reaction of the immune system.

If a tumor is responsible for the slimy stool, it is usually removed surgically, and special oncological therapy follows if necessary.

The following topic may also be helpful to you: Immunosuppressants

Duration vs. prognosis of slimy stool

The duration of slimy bowel movements can vary from a few days to years recurring complaints are enough and depends heavily on the cause. Short-term illnesses or problems such as diet changes, drug-induced slimy bowel movements and infectious diseases usually subside after a little more than a week.

Chronic diseases of the digestive organs as well as inflammatory bowel diseases can cause recurring mucous bowel movements and often have to be treated for life. Food intolerances also usually last a lifetime. However, the symptoms can go away completely by avoiding the triggering foods.

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Quality assurance by: Dr. Nicolas Gumpert | Last change: 03.04.2021