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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Irregular Discharge
June 2002

Q. On and off for the past three months, I have had a foul smelling mucous discharge when I have a bowel movement. I haven't had this kind of discharge before and wasn't even aware that this type of thing exists. What does that mean?

A. Your description does not sound like anything in the wide spectrum of normal bowel function, so further evaluation is needed. See your family doctor to get started. You will likely get some lab tests done such as a blood test, and stool samples submitted to the lab to look for infection or evidence of bleeding. If no infection is found, an exam of the colon called a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may be needed. This allows a direct look at the tissue and a biopsy (small tissue sample) can be taken from any area that looks abnormal. Such testing will likely lead to a diagnosis and treatment will be based on that determination.



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