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Mucous Membrane

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Mucous Membrane Definition

The mucous membrane is the membrane that lines the body cavity and the canals, mainly the respiratory, digestive, and urogenital tract. It lines many tracts and structures of the human body, like the mouth, nose, eyelids, trachea, and lungs, stomach, intestine, and the ureters, urethra, and the urinary bladder are the location of the mucous membrane.   

Mucous membrane meaning- It is an epithelial tissue that secretes mucus, and lines many body cavities and tubular organs including the gut and respiratory passages.

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Structural components of the mucous membrane

The structure of the mucous membrane varies, but all of them have a surface layer of epithelial cells over a deeper layer of connective tissue and they consist of the epithelial layer of either stratified squamous epithelium or simple columnar epithelium. The mentioned epithelium is notably tough and it is able to endure abrasion and also other forms of wear that are associated with exposure to external factors like food particles. They also contain some of the cells that are specially adapted for absorption and secretion. The term mucous membrane comes from the fact that the major substance secreted is mucous and the main constituent of the mucus is mucopolysaccharides also known as mucin.  

The mucous membrane and the mucus of the body mainly help in the protection and lubrication, like to trap particulate matter and pathogens with the help of mucus and preventing their entry into the deeper tissue. Whether it might be the lungs or the tissues lying immediately below the membrane layer, and it also helps to keep the underlying tissue moist.  These are some of the characteristics of the mucous membrane.

Mucous Membrane Function 

The mucous membrane is very important for the human body. Some of the important functions of the mucous membrane are listed below:

  • The main function of the mucous membrane and the mucous is to keep the tissue moist (for example in the respiratory tract, including the mouth and nose).

  •  The lining of the mucous membrane of the eye also plays an important role in the absorption and transformation of nutrients.

  • Mucous membranes also protect the body from the harmful substance within, like for instance mucosa in the stomach protects from stomach acid, and mucosa lining in the bladder protects the underlying tissue from urine

  • The mucous membrane in the uterus is called the endometrium, which swells each month and is eliminated during menstruation.

Examples of the Mucous Membrane 

The mucous membrane is present in the human body. Some of the examples where the mucous membrane is present are:

  • Bronchial mucosa and the lining of vocal folds

  • Endometrium: the mucosa of the uterus

  • Oesophagal mucosa

  • Gastric mucosa

  • Intestinal mucosa

  • Nasal mucosa

  • Olfactory mucosa

  • Oral mucosa

  • Penile mucosa

  • Vaginal mucosa

  • Frenulum of tongue

  • Tongue

  • Anal canal

  • Palpebral conjunctiva

Ocular Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid 

Ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid is a disease related to the eye mucous membrane, it is a type of scarring conjunctivitis. It mainly affects the membrane, that covers the lines of the eyelids and it covers the white of the eye. In the UK around 1 million people are affected by ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid and if it is not treated, it can lead to complete blindness. 

The symptoms of this disease cause blistering (known as pemphigoid cicatricial) and scarring on the skin. The ocular (eye) mucous membrane form is often part of a wider condition that not only affects the eye but also other membranes that line the body, like the mouth, nose, throat, and genitals.

Role of Location in the Baby’s Mucous Membrane 

Lactation is the secretion of milk to nourish a newborn baby through the specialized gland known as the mammary gland, Colostrum is the first milk produced by the mammary glands in the late pregnancy and after a few days of giving birth. It is thick and yellowish in colour, it has a high concentration of nutrients and antibodies, but it is in very small quantity. It contains a high amount of white blood cells, antibodies. It is high in hemoglobin A. This immunoglobin coats the lining of the baby’s immature intestine mucous membrane, helping it to prevent pathogens from invading the baby’s system.  

Do You Know?

What is stomatitis? It is the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth which includes some of the inner aspects like lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and throat. It is a type of mucositis and it can be acute or chronic, mild, or also sometimes serious.  

  • Inflammation of the lips (vermilion) is known as cheilitis,

  • Inflammation of the tongue is glossitis. 

  • Inflammation of the gums is gingivitis. 

  • And the Inflammation of the back of the mouth is pharyngitis.

Symptoms of stomatitis are red patches, mouth ulcers, blisters, peeling, swelling, oral dysaesthesia (numbness), and burning mouth syndrome – soreness despite normal appearance, and some of the common symptoms are pain stinging and soreness. 


The skin is one of the five sense organs of the human body. To protect the organs inside the body, they are lined by mucous membranes. The mucous membrane also helps in providing protection and supply nutrients to these organs and tissues. The mucous membrane lines almost all the important organs of the human body. They help in keeping the tissues moist and also helps in transporting nutrients to these tissues. 

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FAQs on Mucous Membrane

1. What Happens When the Mucous Membrane is Damaged?

Answer. The mucous membranes most often affected are the mouth and eyes. Mucous membrane pemphigoid occurs when the immune system attacks the mucus membranes and causes blisters and sores, and people have blistering in the mouth and on other areas of the body.

2. How Long Does it Take for the Mucous Membrane to Heal?

Answer. Following the hemostasis, phase is the inflammatory phase. The main aim of this phase is to clear infection at the wound site, In humans, the operative cavities experience a mucosal transition in response to the mucosa removal within 3–10 weeks post-surgery.

3. What are Mucous Membrane Meaning and Reasons for the Swollen Mucous Membranes?

Answer. It is the lining of the body cavities and the tubular organs are known as the mucous membrane. Sometimes the mucous membrane inside your sinus cavities can become inflamed due to a respiratory tract infection which can affect your sinuses. Your sinuses start to produce more mucus that is extra sticky and this extra mucus blocks the passageways and causes accumulation.

4. How Mucous Membrane Protects the Body from Infection?

Answer. The primary role of the mucous membranes is to protect the body from harmful external agents like bacteria. This protection occurs in two ways: Because of its dense structure, the epithelial tissue in the mucous membranes forms a barrier that prevents pathogens from entering.

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