Bloody stools in children

It is frightening when we see blood in our children stools. It is not usually a serious problem in young children but you should always call a pediatrician to make sure.

The color of the blood gives you a clue about where it originated. Blood originating in the colon or rectum tends to be red and may only streak the outside of the stool. If the blood originates further up the GI tract, then the blood is generally darker in color (dark brown/maroon, black) and mixed throughout the stool instead of just on the outside.

Most changes in a child’s stool (feces) are due to a change in diet. Changes in diet may cause changes in:

  • colour
  • smell
  • consistency
  • amount of stool

Many medicines can affect what stool looks like. If your baby or child is taking medication, ask your pharmacist if you should expect a change in stool. Some changes that last more than a few days may require medical attention.

Brightly-coloured stool

Breast-fed babies usually produce a mustard-yellow coloured stool. They may also produce green, runny stool. This is normal. It should not be a concern.

In older babies and children, green, runny stool is usually a sign of gastroenteritis. This is also called “stomach flu”. Your child may need to see a doctor.

Pale stool

Whitish, light-coloured stool may be a sign of a bile duct blockage.

Floating and foul-smelling stools can be a sign of malabsorption. Malabsorption is when the digestive system does not absorb nutrients adequately. It may occur if your child has intolerance to, a digestive problem with, or an allergy to a certain food.

If your child has pale stool with yellowish skin and eyes or dark urine, they may have hepatitis?. See a doctor right away.

Bloody stool

Small amounts of fresh blood are common in children who are constipated and straining when passing stool.

Bloody, slimy, or mucusy stool may be a sign of infection. It may also mean inflammation of the large intestine or rectum.

If your baby or child’s stool has a red, jelly-like appearance, see a doctor right away. Make sure to tell your doctor if your child also has severe stomach pain and a pale complexion. This type of stool may be caused by intestinal obstruction.

Children with bloody stool may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if:

  • your child seems sick and the stool does not return to its normal colour in a few days
  • your child has blood in the stool and constipation is not the reason
  • your child’s stool continues to be very pale
  • your baby has green, runny stool and seems sick with other symptoms
  • your baby has green, runny stool but he is bottle-fed only

See a doctor right away, or go to the nearest Emergency Department, if:

  • your baby or child has red and jelly-like stool. Do not give your child anything to eat or drink while waiting for the ambulance
  • your child has yellowish skin or yellowish whites of the eyes
  • your child has dark urine (brown or black in colour)
  • your child’s stool is an abnormal colour after taking medication

Key points

  • Most changes in stool are due to a change in diet.
  • Runny green or mustard-coloured stool is common in breast-fed babies.
  • Pale stool accompanied by yellowish skin and eyes or dark urine may indicate hepatitis. Seek medical attention right away.
  • Red and jelly-like stool is considered an emergency. Call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. Do not give your child anything to eat or drink while waiting for the ambulance.
  • Small amounts of blood lining the stool are common in children who are constipated. This is not an emergency.

Source :

About Kids Health

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