about MUCUS,.... Only here in the UC forum can we freely discuss this unpleasant symptom with interested listeners!
Mucus was the initial reason for avoiding and eventually getting diagnosed in 2006. Since then I've lived with persistent (refractory) proctitis. Continuous presence of mucus is my primary symptom between & linking frequent symptom flare-up; urgency, frequency, bleeding, volumes of mucus & gas, abdominal aches & bloating, feverishness and complete exhaustion.
In addition to the mucus and frequent bleeding at the beginning and end of poops, I also pass mucus daily when sitting to pee, pass "wet" gas, and sometimes it leaks out on it's own. The mucus is always changing with wide variety of color, volume, consistency, absence or presence of blood & stool.
Here are some things I know about mucus production in UC. Mucus membranes line the gut from mouth to rectum, as is the respiratory tract, e.g., sinuses, nasopharanx, bronchial tubes, etc. Mucus is produced in response to inflammation. Soft tissue inflammation (red, hot & swollen) in general is the body's attempt to 'wall off' and contain infection & foreign invaders. Patches of inflammation in the colon become ulcerated - hence the name ulcerative colitis, and produce mucus and bleeding.
In the auto-immune dysfunction of UC, the cells lining the bowel (the body's enormous treasure bank of immune cell warriors) are triggered into thinking the bowel wall itself is an infection/foreign body to fight off. The worse the auto-immune attack - the worse the inflammation, and worse the signs & symptoms including; mucus, bleeding, and colon spasm/evacuation or paralysis/stool backup, in any combination and sequence you can imagine.
So, some mucus means there is still some inflammation. And while it may be the beginning or tail end of a flare-up, chronic inflammation, whether low-grade and tolerable, or severe and disabling, produces risk for complications. Long-term (10 years) bowel inflammation increases the risk for colon cancer. Disease progression also leads to surgical removal of the colon (is the only cure for UC), for 1 in every 3 persons with UC.
May I suggest that you get a copies of your sig/colonoscopy images. It helps to visualize what is going on inside the bowel and understand symptoms. Also do you have a copy of Dr Fred Saibil's book: "Chrone's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis, Everything You Need To Know". There is a recent updated edition. I found my copy at Powells gianormous bookstore in Portland, Oregon. They also have a huge online bookstore for new and used books. I've read it front to back many times over as I refer back to one or more chapters seeking validation of my assumptions and self-management strategy.
Incidentally, it was in Dr Saibil's book that I realized my post-steroid bone pain, fatigue and migraines were likely due to adrenal insufficiency. I took the book with me to see my PCP. While waiting in the exam room, he called the Endocrinologist, who agreed with my assessment - based on Dr Saibil's chapter on medications. It took another two years and three attempts to taper off prednisone/hydrocortisone to resolve the adrenal insufficiency & produce my own normal levels of cortisol.
Also, you might benefit from keeping a medical journal - just a notebook. I take it to appointments with questions & current symptoms, and note the advice/instructions given, lab results, etc. It has helped me communicate accurately about symptoms, medications, etc. I can no longer provide a succinct history AND current status - it's too much information. Living with UC has been a 'merry' go-round with changes from month to month and year to year. So I write in it, like a journal, updating how I am doing, what I'm taking, and whether it helps or not; and what is going on with my other ailments and mental health. Can you tell I'm also living with OCD?
Hope this is helpful. Yeah for mucus talk - it helps me to tell someone.
Ciao - Denny Rae
50 yo Female, in Eugene, Oregon, USA
Refractory (persistent) UC/Proctitis, Mild at diagnosis 2006; Moderate at last scope.
Other GI Dx: IBS, GERD, Binge Eater hx/of Bulemia, Hyperlipidemia, Overweight (BMI @ 27).
Also: FMS/CFS, Anxiety & Depression, OCD
GI Meds: Methotrexate, Canasa, Omeprazole, Probiotic, Statin,TUMs, Miralax, Inulin Fiber. Multi-Vit, Vit C, Calcium w/D, Magnesium, Docusate.