What Is Mucoid Plaque?
Mucoid plaque is a type of hard, fatty material that forms on the inside of your intestine (intestines) when you have diarrhea or constipation. It may cause discomfort and make it difficult to eat food. It makes eating very painful and uncomfortable. Sometimes it causes abdominal pain which can lead to vomiting and nausea. If left untreated, it can become infected and spread to other parts of your body.
The main cause of mucoid plaque formation is the bacteria that live in your large intestine. These bacteria produce waste products called short chain fatty acids (SCFA). When these SCFA are absorbed into the bloodstream they travel through the small bowel and colon where they deposit themselves in your intestinal wall.
When you have diarrhea or constipation, the bacteria multiply rapidly and produce more SCFA. They also release gases such as hydrogen sulfide, methane and carbon dioxide. These gases irritate your gastrointestinal tract causing inflammation.
This irritation leads to increased production of mucus which then collects in your intestines making them sticky and hard. The buildup of mucus makes it difficult for food to pass through your digestive system resulting in loose stools, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain.
How is it Treated?
The first step in treating mucoid plaque is to treat the cause of the problem. Dietary changes are one option to help increase healthy bacteria in the intestines. Taking probiotics that contain healthy strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can help balance the bacterial levels in the intestines.
Another treatment is to take apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Taking one cup of water and mixing in two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper can help relieve symptoms. Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant which helps kill harmful bacteria and clean out the intestines.
Another home remedy is to take 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice before going to bed. When you wake up in the morning, eat a piece of whole wheat bread spread with butter or peanut butter. Eating this will help relieve your symptoms.
Do NOT take anti-diarrheal drugs unless directed by a medical professional. These drugs may make the problem worse and can cause damage to your large intestine due to decreased water absorption.
Other mucoid plaque removal strategies include:
Taking soluble and insoluble fiber supplements like psyllium husks, methylcellulose (Celevac) and calcium polycarbophil (Fibercon). These supplements help bind with the SCFA in the intestines and remove them before they are absorbed into the blood stream.
Taking loperamide (Imodium) or opiates like codeine to reduce diarrhea.
Taking antibiotics if there is an infection present.
How Can You Prevent It?
In some cases, mucoid plaque can be caused by an underlying disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or an infection of the intestines. In these cases, treating the primary disease or infection should resolve the problem. If the cause is not readily apparent, a change in diet can help prevent mucoid plaque from forming in the future.
A diet high in soluble fiber reduces acidity in the intestines and helps regulate bowel movements. Soluble fiber can be found in foods like oats, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber which is not broken down during digestion can help bulk up stool and prevent constipation. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole grains, wheat bran, nuts and seeds.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber act by drawing water into the intestines and adding to the bulk of stool. According to the Merck Manuals, normal stools should be soft and easy to pass. A good rule of thumb is to compare the consistency of your stool with that of peanut butter.
If the stools are softer than peanut butter, constipation may result; harder than peanut butter and hemorrhoids or fissures may occur. Stools that come out in long strips (like egg noodles) may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
It is important to maintain a proper diet because if mucoid plaque builds up in the colon for an extended period of time, it can harden and create blocks in the intestines causing obstructive jaundice, acute abdomen, sepsis and death.
Make sure you stay hydrated to prevent dehydration. If mucoid plaque is due to an underlying disease, it is important to treat the disease promptly.
Finally, get regular checkups with a medical professional and perform self-examinations of your stools to catch any problems early on. If you are experiencing symptoms of mucoid plaque such as fever, weight loss, anemia, or rectal bleeding make an appointment with your physician immediately.
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Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2009). ToxFAQs: Trichloroethylene
CDC (1993). Health Topics: Jaundice
What materials cause health problems?
ATSDR Brief on Trichloroethylene
Lide, D.R. (Ed).
(2005). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (86th Edition). Boca Raton: CRC Press Inc.
Merck Manuals (2006). Diseases and Conditions: Jaundice
PBS.org (2009). HowStuffWorks “How the Liver Works”
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (2006). Trichloroethylene Poisoning
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