Blood in the stool of the newborn: when to worry?

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Blood in the stool of the newborn

It may happen to find red streaks in the stool of the newborn: in most cases it is nothing to worry about, if not the signal of a more 'tiring' evacuation. Here is the meaning of the red color or other coloration of the newborn's stool and what are the possible causes of the presence of blood in the stool of the newborn.





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  • Feces of the newborn with red streaks
  • Newborn stool color

Feces of the newborn with red streaks

Among the possible causes of slight blood traces we find fissures, but also intolerances and colitis.



The fissures

If small streaks of blood are seen together with the stool, the most frequent cause may be small fissures or abrasions of the anal mucosa, due to the expulsion of harder stools; the mother herself or the pediatrician can easily confirm this because they are clearly visible around the anus. In this case, just take some dietary precautions to avoid constipation and make the stool softer. In the meantime, to soothe the discomfort, you can apply healing ointments, for example based on phytostimolines, or a little zinc oxide ointment which has the function of protecting the skin during the passage of feces.

Allergic colitis

If there are no visible 'cuts' around the anus, it could be allergic colitis due to allergy to cow's milk proteins, which induces inflammation of the colon, producing small erosions of the mucous membrane. It is a phenomenon that can affect both bottle-fed and breast-fed babies. "In the first case, it is necessary to practice a diet free of cow's milk proteins, offering the baby specific formulas" explains Arrigo Barabino, head of pediatric gastroenterology at the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa; "in the second, the nursing mother must avoid taking foods that contain these proteins, because, even if in small quantities, they can pass into the milk".

La diagnosis of allergic colitis it can be clinical or laboratory-based; only if the picture is unclear, a rectoscopy may be necessary. In any case, they are benign situations that heal completely by eliminating the cause.

Finally, some may also cause the stool to take on a reddish color alimony, such as red beets, tomatoes, strawberries, red drinks or syrups.


Read also: How many times do you download a newborn

Newborn stool color

The baby's stool can change in color and texture.


Bright yellow faeces of the newborn

It is the typical color of the feces of breast-fed infants, which are very soft and have small whitish lumps; if the baby is bottle-fed, on the other hand, the feces take on a darker color, tending to brown, which becomes a more decisive brown when you start to eat solid foods.

Stool greenish in color

If the consistency of the stool and the number of bowel movements are normal, greenish stools have no clinical significance; "if, on the other hand, they are associated with diarrhea, they could be the sign of acute gastroenteritis, in which there is a rapid passage of bile" underlines the gastroenterologist. In weaned babies, even a meal that is particularly rich in green foods, such as spinach, can cause this color.

Stool with small food residues

It is a fairly frequent event and around one year of age it is to be considered paraphysiological: in the diaper you can see small pieces of undigested food, such as peas and carrots (not for nothing the phenomenon commonly passes under the name of pea and carrot diarrhea or chronic nonspecific diarrhea), while the consistency is softer and with some mucus. "The residues are fibers that cannot be digested by humans and that are normally attacked by the bacteria present in the colon and then disposed of" highlights prof. Barabino: "if they appear in the faeces it means that there has been an accelerated transit in the colon, which has not given the bacteria time to do their job. It is not a pathological sign and no type of intervention is required".

I was whitish

It is a phenomenon that can happen in the first days of life and can be the sign of a problem with the biliary tract. It is usually accompanied by a yellowing of the skin (jaundice). If this occurs, the child should be seen by the pediatrician.

Black stools

Blackish colored stools may be noticeable after taking iron or particular vegetables. However, if the color is markedly black, it is advisable to carry out a pediatric checkup as it could indicate the presence of digested blood (melena).

I made with mucus

Mucus is normally produced by the colon to carry out its physiological functions, after which it is reabsorbed. In some cases, however, it may happen that a little 'escapes': nothing to worry about, they are transient phenomena of no importance.

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  • blood feces newborn
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  • first year
  • newborn stool abnormalities
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