A rather quiet week is interrupted by rectal mucus discharge

The occurrence offered a topic for this week's column

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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The original title for this week’s column wasn’t so much of a headline, but more of an essay. I had to shorten it. I’d also better write a bit more here so that my opening paragraph is a tad longer. Ah, being all meta about it has saved my vegan bacon.

Usually my secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and the multiple comorbidities it has caused, flare up in some way or another, thus giving me a subject to write about in any given week.

If not, I can usually dive into my MS history to indulge in an interesting story. But after six years of trying to be an entertaining raconteur about it all, I’m worried that my personal well is drying up.

Well, maybe not. The day after I wrote the preceding paragraph, I had, er, a gusher.

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Welcome to the fun world of rectal mucus discharge. I stupidly thought I’d tempered this particular weird emanation with my enthusiastic use of anti-diarrhea tablets (loperamide). It’s quite possible that I also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as 20% of us lot do. Another un-fun fact, my peeps.

As there’s absolutely no cure for IBS, I really can’t be bothered with going through yet another slog to find out. Anyway, I don’t have any pain or bloating from it. And I absolutely refuse to give up such irritants as fizzy drinks (in my case, they’re always sugar-free), alcohol, and the horror of horrors, caffeine. I’ve given up so much already that you can just shove off, you miserable lot.

I’m beginning to hypothesize (a big word for someone who’s not going to do any research so has no chance of proving any of it) that anal mucus ejection may be a relatively common affliction among the MS population. I have only a few experienced carers to base this on. So it’s a very micro sample that doesn’t count scientifically — but at least I admit it.

My carers, who’ve had lots of experience with MS clients, aren’t at all surprised by my sometimes near invisible offerings. Usually, though, I have to convince the inexperienced ones that my pad is actually sopping wet. The fact that there’s no foul smell or discoloration fools them. (After a quick peek, it’s “Hurrah, no extra work!” I don’t blame them in the slightest.)

A smattering of scientific mentions of this phenomenon is out there, but it’s difficult to source. I’ve “Sherlocked” a few, but by no means is the next paragraph a worthy piece of detective fiction. Like any test, I’m merely showing my work.

I found one brief mention on the website of the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Surgery, which noted that mucus “is a clear liquid that coats and protects tissues in the digestive system.” That at least describes what it is.

I found another journal article titled “The Role of the Gastrointestinal Mucus System in Intestinal Homeostasis: Implications for Neurological Disorders,” but like a true Brit, I’m now going for a cup of tea and then a nice nap.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


David Claytor avatar

David Claytor

C. difficile infection?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

That smells sweet and putrid. Reckon the sort of thang that Regan pooped in 'The Exorcist'. Had it once - so I do know. C. Diff is brown and unending.

Patricia Kimura avatar

Patricia Kimura

There always has to be a funny side to life and the late, great Robin Williams did a live concert that included a rant about "minor side-effects" of certain medications. He couldn't believe that anyone in their right mind would consider "anal leakage" to be minor! WTF was Robin's reaction, of course! This post reminded me of that!

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Why thank e. Humbled to have even stirred that memory u. x

Ted Thomas avatar

Ted Thomas

I had the discharge about a year ago. Clear like drinking water but slippery like oil, don't remember a smell. But, was very strange...how could that much liquid, several 100 ml, come through that passage with no discoloration?

IBS-wise, me too for over 20 years until had a septic infection that required a few weeks of IV antibiotics. Rebuilding gut biome from scratch made a tremendous difference! That was 2ish years ago and still better. Cure??? But worth trying if you can get a doc to play along.


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