Digestion

What are the causes of mucus in infant stools?

Adult or infant alike, stools are often a key indicator of digestive health. For infants, who are barely a few months old the statement could not be more true. A lot of how the stools look like depend on whether the baby is breast fed or bottle fed. Beyond that, the color, texture and contents of the baby’s stool can indeed say a lot about the baby’s heath.

Mucus in infant stools is a matter of concern among new parents. Sticky and stringy mucus mass being present once in a while is thought to be normal. However, the persistent discharge of mucus along with or without some visible discomfort in the baby is definitely something you need to discuss with your paediatrician.

Mucus in stools is especially seen in formula fed infants passing green stools. However, mucus could be present in any colored stools. They could also be present in the stools of breast fed babies. The consistency of the stool could be between soft and mushy to watery. Traces of blood can also be present with the mucus.

Baby Stools

What are the common causes of mucus in infant stools?

  • Mucus could be present in baby stools without any symptoms. It is the case when a lot of extra mucus is formed in the body as in a common cold. The baby is not trained to spit it out. Hence, all the extra mucus ends up being swallowed and is discharged with stools. This is a normal mechanism in infants and should not raise any alarm.
  • Mucus present in baby stools could also indicate a viral or a bacterial infection. Bacteria like salmonella, shiggela, campylobacter etc can enter the gastrointestinal tract and cause an infection. In this case, traces of blood could also be found in stools. Bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics. Viral infections generally resolve on their own.
  • Teething is also a condition which is associated with excess production of mucus in the body and can result in mucus being present in infant stools.
  • Babies suck on to anything they can lay their hands on, including their own body parts. This along with the drooling would result in an increase in the amount of saliva in the mouth. This saliva may contain irritants or germs which on reaching the intestine may result in a stomach upset causing runny stools containing mucus.
  • Food allergies or intolerance to the milk proteins as in a lactose intolerance can also result in a digestive distress with mucus in feces.

Treatment and Prevention of mucus in infant stools

  • It is important to take the advice of the physician so that the underlying cause resulting in the mucus could be treated first.
  • If the condition can be correlated to any element in the mother’s diet in breast feed babies, then it will be essential for the mom to revisit her diet and make the necessary changes.
  • In case of bottle fed babies, a substitute formula could be tried.

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