Mucus stools in children can be a cause for concern if they occur regularly or become chronic. Mucus in the stool can be an indication of a serious health condition such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel disease or ulcerative colitis. It can also be the result of changes in the natural bacteria in the digestive tract and may accompany diarrhoea or constipation. Normally mucus helps line and lubricate the intestines, and most stool contains a small amount of mucus.
According to Wrong Diagnosis, one of the causes of mucus stools in children is bacterial overgrowth. Normally there is a certain amount of bacteria in the digestive tract. This is healthy and assists in digestion. But if it grows out of control, then it can contribute to mucus in the stool. Symptoms of bacterial overgrowth include feeling bloated, gas and mucus stools. These symptoms can be alleviated by eating yoghurt, which will rebalance the digestive system bacteria.
Another serious cause for concern is if mucus stools are accompanied by bloody or tarry stools. This is an indication that there is bleeding in the intestinal tract or rectum. Bright red stools indicate the blood is coming from the rectum or the lower digestive tract, according to MedLinePlus. Darker stools indicate that the blood is coming from the upper digestive tract, such as the stomach or small intestines. Stools become dark and tarry when they have been exposed to digestive juices.
According to Wrong Diagnosis, one of the causes of mucus in stools can be ulcerative colitis, which can affect adolescents and young adults and is a condition in which the intestinal tract is chronically inflamed. Individuals with ulcerative colitis commonly experience frequent bouts of diarrhoea and constipation. There is no cure, and treatment often includes changes in lifestyle and diet, accompanied by medication.
Crohn's disease is similar to ulcerative colitis and is also accompanied by chronic diarrhoea and constipation and occasionally mucus in the stool. Crohn's disease can affect individuals at any age and is treated with diet changes and medication. There is no cure for this disorder, and many people find it extremely disruptive.
Mucus in the stool can also be an indication of bowel obstruction, according to Wrong Diagnosis. This is a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. Children with this condition will have difficulty passing gas and may not have a regular bowel movement for several days. Children have their own natural and normal rhythm for bowel movements, but if your child has not moved their stool in several days and this is not normal for them, they will be in great distress and may only have small urges to move their stools that are accompanied only by amounts of mucus. If this is the case, seek attention from your child's doctor or the emergency room.