We received a message over the weekend from Ava in Romania who was alarmed to see streaks of blood in her baby’s poop when she changed his diaper. Ava wondered if we could suggest what may have caused it.
Before we take a look at the possible causes of blood in baby poop, it’s important to note that the best person to advise you about this – or ANY concerns that you have about your baby – is your doctor.
As you’ll see from the list below, in some cases blood in your baby’s stool may be an indication of a problem requiring further medical attention, so it’s always advisable to have your doctor assess your little one’s situation.
The colour of the blood can often be an indication of where it came from…
Blood that is bright red tends to be from the anus, rectum or lower intestine, whereas dark red blood is usually from the upper half of the digestive system.
It’s also a good idea to think about what your baby has had to eat…
We’ve heard from parents worried about blood in poo who have discovered that it was actually discolouration caused by eating blueberries or beets, or even that the ‘blood’ was little pieces of red bell pepper!
Discolouration may also be caused by foods containing lots of iron, or by certain medications (check with your doctor to see if this is a known side effect of any medications your child has been given).
Possible causes of blood in baby poop
- Anal fissure – or, in other words, a tiny tear around baby’s anus, usually caused by constipation or passing a particularly hard stool. This is the most common cause for the appearance of blood in a baby’s stools. The best way to remedy the problem is to deal with the constipation, thereby softening the stools and making them easier to pass.
- Food allergy or intolerance . Occasionally, blood in your baby’s stool may indicate an allergy or intolerance to a particular food. Your baby doesn’t need to have consumed the food directly – if you’re nursing, then your baby may be reacting to something YOU’VE eaten and that HE’S consuming via your breast milk. Make a note of what your baby has eaten (and what you have eaten, if nursing) and mention this to your doctor.
- Diaper rash. Bleeding can often be the result of severe diaper rash (nappy rash) and – whilst the blood is not actually in baby’s poo, it may seem that way when you change his diaper. Click here to find out more about the relationship between diaper rash and solid food.
- Cracked nipples. If you’re nursing and your nipples are cracked and bleeding (poor you!), it’s possible for your baby to consume the blood and for it then to be visible in his poo. This isn’t harmful to baby – but if it’s a problem you’re experiencing, then here’s some great advice to make nursing more comfortable for YOU.
- Bacterial infection, such as salmonella or rotavirus. These infections often cause diarrhea too.
- Other intestinal disorders, such as colitis.
If your baby has severe diarrhea, or seems to be in pain and passing what doctors call ‘redcurrant jelly’ (blood contained in mucous) then it’s important to seek IMMEDIATE medical advice (please visit the Dr Sears website for further information).
More poop problems…