Dear Dr. Ombeva,
I have noticed blood in my baby's stool for the last two days. Initially the stool was normal, but now it is loose, almost like diarrhea, and it is mixed with blood. What is the problem, and what can I do to solve it.
Thanks for your question. I understand your concern about appearance of bloody material in your baby's stool. Generally, most cases of blood in infant stools tend to have no known cause. For a baby who is well and growing normally, blood in the stool often resolves on its own, especially if the doctor has ruled out any serious infection. If you have just had a baby girl, she may have a little bloody vaginal discharge in her nappy. This is usually due to the withdrawal of mothers hormones from baby's body after birth. The bleeding should stop as her hormones adjust to normal levels. For a baby who is formula fed, or who is has started solid foods, the stool may be flecked with blood if the baby has constipation. This is because straining may often cause tiny splits (fissures) in the skin around the baby's anus, which then bleed when the baby passes stool. The small blood from an anal fissure usually looks like red streaks on the outside of the stool. A baby with severe nappy rash may get traces of blood in her nappy. If a mother has a cracked nipple or other bleeding, and the baby ingests some blood from mom, it may show up in baby's stool as dark brown staining. Cow's milk protein allergy, which is the most common childhood allergy may also cause blood stained stools. Diarrhea, mixed with with red blood (with or without fever) may indicate a bacterial infection that causes temporary form of lactose intolerance. Certain kinds of infectious diarrhea that cause bloody stools in babies include typhoid among others. These bacteria grow in the gut. Other bacteria produce toxin that can cause injury to the mucosa and bloody stools. Recently, reports have emerged of babies with mucous and/or blood in the stool after starting vitamin/fluoride drops, and that the blood disappears after the drops have been discontinued. Other gut diseases (colitis, intussusception etc) may also cause blood in stool. You should always talk to baby's doctor if there is blood in the stool of the baby. Persistent or increasing blood in the stool or blood mixed with mucus requires an immediate check up by the doctor.