The occurrence of blood and mucus in stools is an indication of a grave disease of the digestive tract, and should not be taken lightly. This may occur due to an infection of the intestine, or an infection in any other part of the digestive tract. The blood may occur as red color in the stool (melena), in which case, it is mostly indicative of an infection of the intestine. But if the stool appears black, then it means that the infection is of the upper gastrointestinal tract, as the hemoglobin in the blood has turned black due to oxidation, which can only occur when the blood originates from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
More often than not, severe diarrhea is a common cause of this condition. Normally, diarrhea is a condition where there is excessive passage of very watery stools. However, in serious cases, there can be passage of blood and mucus in stool as well. This is especially true in cases that are caused due to parasitic infections of the intestine or due to severe infections of other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Most people also show other symptoms like dehydration, weakness, nausea, and severe irritability.
Intestinal Parasitic Infections
Another quite common cause is amoebiasis. This is an infectious disease that affects the large intestine, and is mostly contracted when someone eats or drinks contaminated food or water, containing Entamoeba histolytica, an intestinal parasite. In this disease, the amoeba attach themselves to the large intestine, and cause serious symptoms like bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and fever. In the initial stages there are mostly no symptoms, but if the person's immunity is low, or if the number of amoeba suddenly increase, then the symptoms become visible. This condition is contagious, as the stool that is passed contains the parasites, hence, it can contaminate the water that it comes in contact with, and spread. Another example of an intestinal parasite is giardiasis, where the causative agent for the condition is a parasite called Giardia lamblia.
Ulcertaive colitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the lining of the colon. It is not known as to what exactly is the causative agent. Its symptoms are diarrhea, bloody stools, pain in the abdominal region, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, etc.
Certain infections like cholera, which is a waterborne bacterial infection of the intestine, causes mucus and blood in stools, and other large intestine problems, like abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, depression, irritability, etc.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Two diseases that are characterized by inflammation of the intestinal lining, which lead to symptoms like blood in stools, are irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. In both these diseases, there is nausea, severe abdominal cramps, etc.
Certain other conditions like diverticulitis, or an allergic reaction, or a side effect of certain drugs, can lead to symptoms like bloody stools.
- The treatment will depend upon the condition causing the presence of blood and mucus in stool. If it is a parasitic intestinal infection, then the patient will be given anti-parasitic prescription drugs, like metronidazole.
- Medicines used specifically to treat diarrhea may also be prescribed in severe cases.
- To counter the loss of fluids and to prevent dehydration, the patient will be asked to drink as much water as possible (preferably boiled water).
- In severe cases, if there are any electrolyte imbalance symptoms, the patient may require electrolyte replacement therapy, especially, in cases of children and the elderly.
- The person should try to avoid eating meat, especially red meat, and try to stick to a diet of fruits for the time being.
Thus, this is a serious symptom that needs to be dealt with immediately. The exact cause of this symptom needs to be diagnosed first, and then treated at the earliest, to prevent any further systemic complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.