Babies can’t speak about any health problem they might be having. They can just cry about it. But we as parents can know their problem by the way their bodies respond. One such troublesome outcome is that of bloody stool. Parents get shocked when they find blood spots in their baby’s poop. They first need to understand that it is not a major issue and quite common. But this problem demands special attention and your pediatrician must be informed about it.
What does it look like?
Bloody stool does not mean there will be so much of it. There might be several red streaks that seem separated. There might be tiny stains or tiny spots. They will be easily visible on the white lining of the diaper. It will be evidently different from the color of the baby’s stool. Blood from the rectum or the colon is usually bright red and one can see a single streak of it outside the stool. Blood that is dark brown, black or maroon in color will seem to be mixed with the stool.
Causes of blood in the baby’s stool
Some of the common causes of blood in baby’s stool are:
- Food allergies- One of the most common causes of blood or bloody mucus in the baby’s poop is due to allergy to certain kinds of food. If your baby has recently begun consuming semi-solid foods, he can develop allergies. Some children may have an allergic reaction to cow milk, milk powder, oats barley or wheat. Conditions such as allergic colitis and enterocolitis syndrome can lead to food allergies. Along with bloody stool, these allergies can also cause vomiting.
- Crohn’s disease- Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory ailment of the large intestine. It is one of the common causes of blood in an infant’s poop. It is usually the result of genetic mutations and does not have any explanation for its cause. If anyone in either parents’ family has had Crohn’s disease then there is a possibility of transfer.
- Colitis- Colitis is nothing but the inflammation of the inner lining of the large intestine. This too can be the result of genetics. In this condition, the colon may develop tiny sores which may or may not cause any pain to the baby. Their sores are sometimes responsible for blood in the baby’s stool.
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis- This is a common problem in premature babies since their immune system is not fully developed. The internal organs of premature babies are prone to infection. In this situation, the bacteria attack the walls of the intestine which in turn leads to blood in the stool of the babies.
- Infections- There are several gastrointestinal infections that lead to blood in the stool of the infants. Certain bacterias like salmonella, campylobacter or shigella can lead to the bloody stool of diarrhea.
- Anal fissures- A slight tear in the inner mucous lining of the baby’s anus causes bleeding in the stool. Majorly due to constipation in the baby, this lining sometimes gets torn up. Constipation makes the stool of the baby hard and pellet-shaped. Babies stretch their muscles at the time of poop due to which you see blood in their stool. This is very common amongst infants.
- Excess intake of breast milk- When the mother’s breasts produce excess of breast milk, the baby’s intake increases simultaneously. Consuming an excess of breast milk sometimes causes infection of the intestine and lactose intolerance in certain cases which is sometimes the reason for bloody stool.
- Certain foods cause bloody stool- Sometimes it is not blood in your baby’s stool but just a color change in the stool. Certain foods can change the color of your baby’s stool such as tomatoes, cranberries, beetroot, and red gelatin. If your baby lacks iron, your doctor may prescribe you iron supplements. They too can be the reason for the baby’s poop turning red or dark brown.
Treating blood in Baby’s poop
- Medication- Post diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe you certain medicines to treat the problem. The medicines are given to stop the recurrence of the bloody stool in the babies.
- Endoscopy- If your baby has been diagnosed with juvenile polyps then it has to be removed for the bleeding to stop.
- Laser therapy- In this treatment, a heater probe is attached to the endoscope is used to treat the affected site in the baby’s body.
By the following ways, one can prevent bloody stools in their babies:
- Breastfeeding- Bloody stools are directly attached to the baby’s immune system and digestive system. Nursing your baby healthily for the first six months will enhance his body functioning. This keeps infections away and your baby healthy.
- Check up- A weekly inspection of your baby’s anal area and the opening is mandatory. Make sure whenever you visit your child specialist, get your baby’s anus checked. He will ensure if there are any signs of infection or tear.
- Pay attention to allergies- Your baby is a new being into this world so his body will react to some of the foods. His body may not accept all the foods given. So look out if your baby is prone to any such allergy and keep him/her away from it.
Though blood stools are quite common, they may be a sign of some problem in a baby’s body. Hence it needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Keep a watch on what you are feeding your baby and what outcome is he giving.