Seeing blood on your child’s stool can be frightening. However, this is a common condition in children and is usually not serious. There are many possible causes of bloody stools, also known as “rectal bleeding.” The most likely cause depends on the frequency and amount of blood, and on your child’s age and underlying condition.
This article will review some of the common causes of bloody stools that parents should keep in mind.
What cause red stools?
- Anal fissures
Anal fissures are very common among infants, and even experts do not know what causes them in babies as young as newborns (1). It is generally believed that a milk-only diet of breastfed infant causes a more runny stool, which abrades the sensitive mucous lining of the baby’s anus.
- Food Allergies
Food allergies can also cause blood in stool, which may be accompanied by mucus. The baby can develop an allergy to milk (cow milk and formula), wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
- Side Effect of Antibiotics
Antibiotics are prescription drugs that help treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria causing the infection or by stopping the bacteria from growing and multiplying. However antibiotics have their own disadvantage: It can cause stomach upset, an infection of the intestinal tract called C. difficile. Other side effects include abdominal pain, fever, decreased appetite, diarrhea (often bloody).
Keep in mind that antibiotics only work to treat bacterial infections. They don’t work for infections caused by viruses, which can include the common cold, runny nose, most coughs and bronchitis, most sore throats, and the flu. Therefore, don’t make use of antibiotics – if your doctor doesn’t prescribe an antibiotic for your child, there’s a good reason for it.
Foods That May Cause Reddish Stool
However, there are foods that may lead to a stool that ranges from red to black in color, thereby, giving a false impression of blood in the baby’s stool. Here are the foods that may cause reddish stools:
- Red gelatin
Below is reference for you to check your child’s stools.
Poop color chart
|Diet||Is it normal?|
|Black||Seen in breastfed and formula-fed newborns||This is normal in the first few days of life. May not be normal if it comes back later in infancy.|
|Mustard yellow||Seen in breastfed babies||This is normal.|
|Bright yellow||Seen in breastfed babies||If it’s overly runny, it could be a sign of diarrhea.|
|Orange||Seen in breastfed and formula-fed babies||This is normal.|
|Red||Seen in babies on any diet; may be caused by introducing red solids or could indicate something else||If you haven’t recently introduced red foods to your baby, call your pediatrician. If they’ve eaten a red solid, see if the color returns to normal when they pass the next stool. If not, call your pediatrician.|
|Greenish tan||Seen in formula-fed babies||This is normal.|
|Dark green||Seen in babies eating green-colored solids or taking iron supplements||This is normal.|
|White||Seen in babies on any diet and may indicate a problem with the liver||Call your pediatrician.|
|Gray||Seen in babies on any diet and is a sign of a digestion issue||Call your pediatrician.|
To conclude, you should always consult your doctor if you have noticed blood in your baby’s poop. However, your baby’s behavior will determine if an emergency visit to the clinic is necessary. If the baby is normal and does not show signs of external discomfort, schedule an appointment and discuss the appearance of blood with your doctor.