Green Mucus in Stool in Adults – Something To Worry About?
Babies can have weird poop pretty regularly. Their diet entails high nutrient breast milk or formula that can entirely change the look, color and consistency of fecal matter (as well as the smell). It’s not uncommon in infants to experience yellow mucus in stool following a bout with diarrhea from switching to a new formula or green mucus in stool during teething. But, when these things happen in adults who are well beyond the age of baby bottles and teething rings, it can be alarming.
Bowel mucus is actually really useful stuff. It is produced in the intestines and is helpful because it allows for smooth and easy passage of poo. It acts as a natural lubricant of sorts, easing along fecal matter on its journey to evacuation. Most of the time, bowel mucus isn’t visible (although it’s always there). But, sometimes, it can be very noticeable, and when it’s a color other than that which mucus is expected to be, it can be unnerving.
One of the most common causes for green mucus in stool is a very common disorder of the intestine known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). WebMD explains that IBS is essentially a generalized condition of bowel disorder that has varying symptoms that can range from mild to severe and differ from person to person. While mucus color can vary with IBS, shades of clear to white to yellow and even green are not uncommon. And, this has to do with the condition’s effects on bowel movements. Notorious for causing constipation, irritable bowel syndrome can be a cause of mucus because the backed up bowel movement can bring along with it built up mucus when it finally passes.
In addition, just as struggling to produce poo can cause man problems including green mucus in stool, so can diarrhea. This condition, characterized by much looser than normal stools that can even be watery, can be a very common cause of green mucus in stool. This largely depends on what is causing the rapid loss of fecal matter. But, if infection or bacteria is involved, green mucus can result.
But aside from these relatively common causes that can sometimes (although of course not always) produce something other than just clear mucus in stool, there are other health concerns that can carry mucus that is green found on stool as a symptom. For instance, gastroenteritis of multiple kinds can be a common cause of light or dark green mucus in stools, depending on sort, particularly when the cause is bacterial in nature. For instance, salmonella gastritis is described by North Carolina State University as a condition which can produce stools that are green and loose and that smell off putting. And, they also explain that green shreds of mucus can be found sometimes in a condition known as shigella gastroenteritis. Both of these are bacterial in nature, but similar symptoms could be present in viral forms of the condition.
Determining when green mucus in stool is something to worry about will largely depend not on this symptom alone, but the ones that exist alongside it. For instance, if there are other symptoms that are concerning such as a sudden or very high fever, alarm bells should go off. And, intense abdominal pain that isn’t related to simply gastro ails like constipation or diarrhea should also be considered warning signs. Frequency and duration should also be gauged as well. For instance, if green mucus in stool appeared once and went away with no other symptoms present, it could be nothing to worry about. But, if it is frequent, recurring and doesn’t resolve on its own in a short period of time, then it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a health care provider. It’s possible that it could be a sign of a much more serious condition such as cancer. If other symptoms are present that can indicate severe illness such as blood in the stools, health care should be sought immediately.
The majority if the time however, green mucus is stool is merely a result of common digestive woes or mild illnesses. It can come on alongside a case of the tummy flu or accompany a bad cold. In some cases, it can simply be a byproduct of a less than well functioning digestive system plagued by constipation or diarrhea. But, if it’s problematic, bothersome, persistent or part of a collection of unusual symptoms it’s important to seek medical advice.