It is not unusual to see small amounts of mucus in your stool, but there are times when it can be an indication of underlying problems in your digestive system. There are many different causes for visible mucus in your stool.
Your digestive tract is lined with membranes that secrete mucus. The purpose of the mucus is to lubricate your intestines so that food moves through them more easily, and to protect the lining of your stomach and intestines from digestive acid.
Mucus is a jelly-like secretion that may be white, clear, yellow or green. It may coat the entire stool or appear in streaks on the stool. It may also be streaked with blood.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it's normal for there to be small amounts of mucus in the stool. It's also not unusual for there to be an increase in mucus if you have diarrhea or are constipated.
If you notice an increased amount of mucus in your stool for more than a few weeks, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you consult your doctor. You should also consult your doctor if the increased mucus is accompanied by blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits or unusual pain.
The conditions that can cause an increase of mucus in the stool include hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, bacterial infection and intestinal blockage.
The treatment that your doctor recommends will depend on his diagnosis of the underlying condition. It may include antibiotics if he finds a bacterial infection, as well as medication, lifestyle or diet changes if he diagnoses an underlying bowel condition as the problem. Doctors familiar with alternative medicine may also recommend probiotics, nutritional supplements and other natural treatments for conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.