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What is the cause of a loose and slimy bowel motion?

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Quick Answer

Many possible causes exist for loose and slimy bowel motions, or diarrhea; the most common causes are influenza, food poisoning, malabsorption and irritable bowel syndrome. Other causes include Crohn's disease, lactose intolerance, reactions to certain medications, food allergies and hyperthyroidism.

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Full Answer

Loose stools result from an increased proportion of water in the intestines. This usually occurs because the intestines are secreting more fluid or because they are not absorbing fluid properly. It can also occur when there is too much sugar or salt in the intestines either because it has been eaten in excess or because it hasn't been absorbed properly. This draws excess water into the intestines.

Diarrhea can also be slimy because of excess mucus in the digestive tract. When the colon is irritated, it responds by producing a mucus-like lubricant for protection. If the irritation is severe, the diarrhea may also contain blood.

People with diarrhea should maintain their hydration by drinking plenty of water or electrolyte solutions, and they should avoid fatty foods and dairy until it resolves. Over-the-counter remedies may also help alleviate the symptoms. If stools last like this for more than a few days, it is important to seek medical attention as it may reflect a serious problem.

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