Concerned about your baby’s poo? Discover the reasons why babies have bloody poo and when you should seek medical attention. Learn how to recognize the signs and keep your little one healthy.
Despite how strange it may sound, you may learn a great deal about your child’s development by examining their diaper. Dr. Nanci Pittman, a pediatric gastroenterologist in New York City, explains that brown, yellow, and green poop is normal shades for breastfed and formula-fed newborns throughout the first few months of life. Blood in a baby’s feces, whether in minute flakes or huge streaks, is mostly benign but may suggest a medical issue.
Keep in mind: Red poop doesn’t always signify blood. It can also be caused by consuming red foods such as tomatoes, beets, and even fruit punch. But, if your child’s stool appears bloody or is continuously red, it is crucial to establish the cause and seek medical attention.
Most Typical Reasons for Bloody Stool in Infants
Here are the leading causes of bloody stools in infants and when to consult a pediatrician.
Constipation is fairly frequent in infants and is typically caused by a milk-protein allergy, the introduction of solid foods, or insufficient fluid intake. Indicative symptoms include a prolonged absence of stools, hard, pebble-like feces, pain, and a firm abdomen.
Moreover, constipation can create microscopic tears in the anus (anal fissures), resulting in red streaks or flakes on the stool’s surface. The most common reason for blood in a child’s poop, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is anal fissures. Blood from anal fissures will be vivid crimson in color.
Although the majority of anal fissures heal on their own, you might wish to change your baby’s diet if you suspect constipation. For instance, you may try removing dairy, including more fiber, and ensuring that they consume sufficient hydration. See your physician for more advice on how to combat constipation.
Bloody stools in babies can also be a sign of some bacterial and parasitic illnesses, like gastroenteritis, shigellosis, Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection, salmonellosis, staphylococcal infection, or campylobacteriosis. Infections frequently induce intestinal inflammation and small tears that allow blood to flow. Diarrhea frequently accompanies illnesses, so if you get diarrhea with bloody stools, see your doctor immediately. If there is an infection, medications may be prescribed to treat it.
3. Food Allergies
Observe bloody stool after altering your infant’s diet? Food allergies that inflame the colon and allow blood to seep into the stool may be to blame. The most common food sensitivities in infants are cow’s milk and soy, but your infant may also be allergic to eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, or wheat, among others.
Food allergies are typically accompanied by additional symptoms, including rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your healthcare practitioner can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. (Remember that infants who are breastfed can respond to something in their mother’s diet)
4. Parental Nipple Injuries
If a parent who is breastfeeding or chestfeeding has cracked and bleeding nipples, the baby may ingest blood while nursing, which can lead to dark red or black specks in the poop. This is typically not a cause for alarm. Yet, adjusting your baby’s latch might avoid or lessen breast abrasions and discomfort. Call your physician or a lactation consultant for assistance with modifying your nursing method as necessary.
5. Gastrointestinal Tract Bleeding
In rare instances, dark crimson or black stool suggests upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract bleeding. It is imperative to contact your doctor promptly if your infant has dark red or black blood in their feces, as GI bleeding frequently results from a severe illness or injury. Ulcers commonly cause upper GI bleeding in infants, so consult your physician.
Less Common Reasons for Bloody Stool in Infants
Bloody stools in infants may also have less prevalent reasons. Streptococcus bacteria, for instance, could infect the skin around the anus, causing irritation and bloody feces. Blood in the poop can also be caused by Crohn’s disease, colitis (inflammation of the large intestine), or necrotizing enterocolitis.
When to Contact a Physician
Always notify your child’s pediatrician if they have bloody stools, but call 911 if your child is less than 12 weeks old or if you notice any of the following other symptoms:
- An excessive quantity of blood in the stool.
- Anal injury
- Black stool
- Bloody feces, including mucous.
- Blood is present in or on the feces.
- irritability or uncontrollable sobbing
- Defecation has a sticky consistency.
- Refuse to consume food or liquids.
Give your doctor a detailed rundown of your baby’s symptoms. Is the blood a brilliant or dark crimson color? Is it uniformly dispersed or do you see streaks on the outside of the stool? Does your infant have a fever, diarrhea, or other unusual symptoms? Maintaining a detailed log will aid your pediatrician in diagnosing your condition.
The doctor may also inspect your infant’s stool for signs of infection or illness in the office. The treatment for bloody stools relies on the particular etiology of the condition. Most of the time, however, bloody stools do not cause long-term health problems.
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