What are Mucous Membranes?

Mucous membranes produce mucus and are located in areas including breathing pathways and the gut. They’re found in many body parts including the ears, nose, and throat. You can keep these membranes healthy by drinking enough water every day and avoid breathing in dry air.

What Are Mucous Membranes

You’ve probably heard about a substance in the nose called mucus. However, it’s also important to know about the things called mucous membranes that produce the slimy stuff. These membranes are located in various parts of the body including the ears, nose, and throat. They’re also found in the gut. Mucous is something that doesn’t seem very pleasant at first but it’s actually helpful for the body. That’s because it helps the body to function correctly and also protects/moisturizes organs so they don’t dry out. It also helps to trap things like dust and smoke and contains enzymes to help prevent infections. These are all good things!

Besides the mucus itself, it’s important to know some basics about the membranes that produce it. The main goal of the membranes is to protect your body parts from oxidation, which just means air contacts them. In a way, the membranes protect the inside of the body like skin protects the outside. We can find these mucous-making membranes throughout the body. They include different body parts like the eyes, ears, mouth, ears, nose, and gut. Besides keeping the body parts moist they also help to keep bad germs outside the body. It’s a very complex process but important for the body’s functioning.

 

The Mucus Mystery

We know that mucus is slimy. However, it’s like phlegm in that we’re not really sure what it’s all about.  This is a slippery/stringy fluid that’s produced by many tissues around the body. In fact, this is a normal and important fluid for the body to work properly.

Mucus has several functions. The texture is kind of nasty but it’s actually a good thing. It helps to moisturize and protect the body’s organs so they don’t dry out. In a way, it’s like oil in an engine and helps the body’s organs to run smoothly.

Mucus has other functions as well. It helps to trap things like bacteria, dust, and smoke so the organs can work better. It even has enzymes that kill bacteria so you’ll be less likely to have infections. All of these things can help to keep your organs working properly and boost your overall health.

Fun Fact: The body produces up to 1.5 liters (0.4 gallons) of mucus per day.  We usually don’t think about mucus unless the quality or amount of changes during illnesses. However, it’s always critical for the body’s functioning whether we’re fit as a fiddle or sick.

There are certain health conditions like colds, flu, and sinus problems that cause the mucous membranes to make more of the fluid. Other factors can cause this effect including allergies and even spicy food.

You might have noticed that when you have infections of the respiratory system the mucus gets thicker. Such illnesses can also change the color of the mucus so it becomes a gross yellow-green.

However, after we recover from these illnesses the mucus returns to its normal color and texture. If you’re coughing up thick mucus when you’re ill it’s a good thing because it’s part of the process of getting rid of the cold/flu virus.

 

What Are Mucous Membranes?

These membranes are the things that actually produce the mucus. These are found in various body parts and especially in the ears, nose, and throat. These are all part of the respiratory system so it’s important for them to stay moist and protected from the dangers of contact with oxygen.

Here are some of the main area where the membranes are located:

1. Nose

Their membranes have small blood vessels that help to keep the air you breathe warm/moist. There are also small hair-like things that help to trap stuff like dust that you breathe in. They’re part of the immune system since they help the body to get rid of the debris so you can breathe properly.

2. Mouth

These membranes are located inside and outside the mouth. It’s important to drink enough water so the membranes don’t dry out. Lips often become dry and especially in certain situations like hot/dry weather and after exercising. Saliva helps to keep the lips moist during these times.

3. Throat

These membranes work with muscles that help move food in the direction of the person’s stomach. There’s also stuff in these membranes that help to balance any stomach acid that moves upwards.

4. Ears

This is another area that contains mucus-producing membranes. They’re important for protecting the middle ear. The mucus helps to move debris to the outside of the ear so it protects the inner ear.

There are also membranes in the ear’s tubes used for hearing. This helps to remove debris away from the ear and towards the throat so the tiny particles are swallowed instead of infecting the ear. This is also related to the immune system.

Like other body parts, it’s important to make sure you care for mucous-producing membranes so they’ll work properly. For example, drinking enough water and using a humidifier can help to prevent them from drying out.

 

Health of Mucous Membranes

The membranes work like skin by helping to protect the body. However, since they’re not the on the outside they’re mostly protected from things like weather and UV rays. So, these membranes usually don’t change much as people age. Another benefit of these membranes is they can replace themselves very quickly.

One theory is that the membranes begin to get thinner during the aging process. However, there isn’t much scientific proof that it happens. Most studies show that the membranes don’t change much as people age.

It’s also worth noting that the mucous-producing membranes in the mouth are often called the “mirror of the body.’ In other words, these membranes change based on different diseases a person might have.

When a doctor gives your mouth a checkup, he/she can learn about various health problems you might have. Any changes they see can be related to issues like blood, lung, blood sugar, and thyroid problems.

You can take steps to care for the membranes. We’ve heard many times that we should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day. This can also benefit the membranes that make mucus since it will help to keep them from drying out.

Make sure to get regular checkups since these can help to discover if there’s something wrong with the membranes. If there are health issues with them then it can be due to different problems like colds/flu, and other infections. Once the infections are gone your mucus and their membranes will go back to normal.

However, like other health conditions you can help to prevent many issues through prevention. You can take some basic steps like making sure you’re drinking enough water and the air around you isn’t too dry. If you do those things then you can improve your overall health and also prevent different health issues that could affect the mucous membranes.

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