It is said that changes in the color and consistency of stool may be an indication of some underlying health problem. In order to understand the abnormality of bowel movements, you must know about what normal stool looks like. As newborns, humans have black tarry stool, which is followed by yellow seedy and watery stool.
As the kids grow, the stool color and consistency change and in an adult human being, the normal stool color is found as shades of brown (especially, the color of cardboard), with a consistency of peanut butter. Any change in such color and consistency has to be diagnosed, if persistent. Sometimes, you may notice mucus in baby's stool.
Now you understand that a baby's stool color and consistency can change with growth. There are many other factors that affect the nature of baby's stool. This includes the type of food ingested by the baby as well as the mother. Mucus in baby's stool is usually not considered a cause of concern. According to health experts, some amount of mucus in the stool of babies is normal.
A small amount of mucus lining the intestines may get expelled with the stool. It is also said that this is mostly seen in breast-fed babies, as they use up breast milk so efficiently that most of their stool consists of mucus. But, if the condition is persistent or is accompanied with other symptoms, you must consult the pediatrician at the earliest. Let us take a look at the possible causes of this condition.
- Babies with cystic fibrosis may develop mucus in stool. In those babies, mucus buildup is observed in the lungs and the intestines and this results in expulsion of some mucus through stools, which can be foul-smelling and greasy too.
- If the baby's stool is green and contains mucus, it could be due to some viral infection. Teething is another cause for this condition. This is due to the increased drooling that causes ingestion of excess saliva, which irritates the intestine and results in expulsion of mucus along with stools.
- Food allergy is another cause for mucus and blood in baby's stool. Even breast-fed babies may have food allergies, which could be caused by the food consumed by the mother.
- One of the serious causes for this condition is intussusception, which is characterized by intestinal blockage, caused by another part of the intestine itself. In such cases, jelly like stools will be passed by the baby, who will experience intermittent pain and vomiting too. The stool will contain mucus as well as blood and this condition requires immediate treatment.
- Infections of the bowel (both viral as well as bacterial) can be among the potential causes for mucus and blood in baby's stool. In some cases, mucus in stool may be due to intake of fruits like, bananas.
In short, mucus in baby's stool without other symptoms like, fever, pain and change in stool color, is not a cause of worry, if the condition is not persistent. However, it is always better to consult your pediatrician, who will be the best person to analyze the condition. If the mucus is red, contact the doctor immediately. It could be due to various reasons, some of which can be serious.
Treatment for the condition depends on the underlying cause. While in some cases, the condition may subside without any treatment, some others may require treatment as per the underlying condition. While intussusception is often treated with immediate surgery, the condition (mucus in stool) will subside on its own, if caused by teething or viral infection.
So, if you detect this condition in your baby, don't panic. If the baby is having other symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. If there is blood in baby's stool, along with mucus, then also immediate medical attention is required. If the baby is otherwise healthy, then wait for a day or two and then contact the doctor, if the condition persists. The above said is only a brief overview about mucus in baby's stool. It is always better to seek the opinion of your doctor, if you have any doubts regarding the condition.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your doctor is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.