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Bloody Mucus in Stool. Causes and Concerns

By 4th March 2024Gut Health
Bloody Mucus In Stool


Digestive and gut conditions can lead to a wide range of symptoms. For many with IBS, this can involve typical symptoms of bloating abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. This can be in the form of constipation or diarrhoea. [Source: PubMed]

However, digestive issues can also contribute to blood and mucus appearing in the stool. These can appear as individual signs of digestive issues and in some cases, they can appear at the same time. This can be in the form of bloody mucus.

While bloody mucus can be an alarming thing to see in the stool, there can be several explanations and causes for it. [Source: PubMed]

Why do I have bloody mucus in my stool?

Blood and mucus can appear separately or in combination with each other. 

One of the most common causes of noticing blood in the stool is haemorrhoids.

It’s also possible for blood to appear as a consequence of:

Mucus can often appear in the stool due to similar reasons. While blood is the result of a level of damage or irritation that leads to blood vessels opening, mucus in the stool can also be the result of irritation in the bowel. 

In normal conditions, mucus is present in small amounts along the gut lining. Part of the role of mucus is to form a protective barrier along the gut lining. This forms a protective physical barrier but mucus also contains beneficial compounds that support the immune system and help to regulate the balance of the gut microbiome.

If the gut is irritated the body produces more mucus to help protect the gut lining further. This higher amount of mucus may then be present and visible in the stool.

Why do I have jelly-like mucus when I wipe my bum?

Mucus is produced naturally in the gut, however, if the gut is irritated more mucus is produced to protect the gut wall. For some, this mucus can also contain blood.

Mucus can appear as a jelly-like substance that is covering or embedded into the stool (poo). It’s also possible to go to the toilet and for only mucus to come out. Often this is due to the irritation being towards the end of the bowel. [Source: PubMed]

Some individuals can also find that mucus appears when passing wind (farting). As with the example explained above, this can be due to irritation toward the end of the digestive system.

This can mean that mucus accumulates towards the end of the bowel which is then pushed out with gas or wind. Depending on the degree of irritation or underlying condition in the bowel, it is also possible for this mucus to contain blood. [Source: PubMed]

What does cancerous blood in stool look like?

While blood in the stool can often look worrying, there are many possible causes. However, how the blood looks does not always indicate the underlying cause of the bleeding.

The most common cause of blood in the stool is not cancer, but haemorrhoids. Due to haemorrhoids being present towards the end of the digestive system, this can mean the blood looks very fresh and bright red in colour.

Since blood from haemorrhoids can be bright red, this can be easier to see in the stool. There can also be the blood in the stool that originates from higher up in the digestive system.

For example, that can be from an ulcer in the stomach or small intestine. This can lead to the stool (poo) looking black or tarry in texture. [Source: Cancer Research UK]

Due to this blood not always being visible, this is the reason for FIT tests, which are to assess for hidden blood. [Source: NHS]

If blood is found in the stool or when wiping, this should be reported to a doctor for further investigations. 

Also Read: Can Stress Cause Blood In The Stool

What does IBS bleeding look like?

For some with IBS blood and mucus can be present in the stools. However, for many with IBS, these symptoms are not present. 

The consideration for blood or bleeding is to understand the cause. For those with IBS and constipation, it may be that they are also experiencing haemorrhoids. These are also referred to as piles. For most cases of blood in the stool, these are the cause.

Due to piles being an issue that is present towards the end of the digestive system, this means that the blood can often look bright red. This can be seen in the toilet, on the stool or the toilet paper when wiping. Generally, this blood is seen in small amounts but in certain cases, more blood can be present. 

Informing a doctor about the presence of blood is an important first step to understanding the underlying cause. While fresh blood and bleeding are commonly the results of haemorrhoids, ruling out other digestive conditions is often helpful. [Source: PubMed]

For those with irritation in the gut, mucus can also be produced and present in the stool. This can be in the form of a gel-like substance that is either on the stool (poo) or on the toilet paper when wiping. [Source: PubMed]

What Colour is IBS mucus?

While mucus is generally white or clear in colour. However, when blood is present, this mucus can look red or pink. 

This can be present in or on the stool. Blood and mucus may also be visible on the toilet paper or around the toilet bowl. [Source: PubMed]

In other situations, if there are issues with bile acids, this mucus may become yellow or green in colour. [Source: PubMed]

What bowel symptoms should not be ignored?

While it could be argued that no bowel symptoms should be ignored, some bowel symptoms may require more urgent medical attention or investigation.

These can be described as red flag symptoms. These do include blood in the stool, however, mucus in the stool is not considered a red flag symptom.

These symptoms that can require medical attention include:

  • Abdominal masses
  • A family history of ovarian cancer
  • Rectal masses
  • Anaemia
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unintentional and unexplained weight loss
  • A family history of bowel cancer
  • A change in bowel patterns lasting more than 6 weeks in those over 60 years old. [Source: B.I.G]

These symptoms may lead a doctor or gastroenterology to consider further tests that may include a colonoscopy. 

What Colour is bleeding with IBD?

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) include Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. In both these conditions bleeding can be a symptom. [Source: PubMed]

Bleeding and blood in the stool are more common in Ulcerative colitis than in Crohn’s disease. However, this can still be reported in both conditions. More commonly the blood noted in Ulcerative colitis is a brighter red. As with haemorrhoids, this can be due to the irritation and inflammation being closer to the rectum. [Source: PubMed]

Mucus is also a feature of IBD. Therefore, it is commonly reported that bloody mucus is present in the stool of those with this medical condition. [Source: NHS]

For some with IBD, symptoms can be in remission for a period which is when they are not present to present in low levels. During flare-ups, where symptoms increase, more blood and mucus may be present. This is particularly true for those with Ulcerative colitis [Source: PubMed]

How do you know if your bowel is inflamed?

A range of digestive symptoms may indicate that the bowel is inflamed. However, the only way to know if the bowel is inflamed is via testing.

Some of the symptoms associated with changes in bowel function that may indicate inflammation include:

  • Blood
  • Mucus
  • Bloody mucus
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain [Source: PubMed]

One of the most commonly used tests to assess for bowel inflammation is a calprotectin test. This may be used if symptoms such as bloody mucus or changes in bowel patterns are experienced. It is also used to monitor disease states in inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. [Source: PubMed]

This is tested via a stool sample which measures levels of calprotectin, providing an indication of inflammation in the bowel. 

How do you know if you have something wrong with your bowels?

The first indications that something is wrong with the bowels are digestive symptoms. These can include typical symptoms of IBS, which include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Constipation [Source: PubMed]

Further symptoms can also include:

  • Blood
  • Mucus
  • The sensation of incomplete bowel movements [Source: PubMed]


While these symptoms may indicate that there is an issue with the bowel, further investigation, support and treatment is often required to assess and address the underlying cause.

This can involve the implementation of dietary changes, testing consideration as well as the introduction of natural treatments such as probiotics and herbal formulas. 

Working with a registered Nutritional Therapist can help to take all of these factors into consideration.