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Anywhere, CO 80134
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  • Select from over 100 symptoms to read more about managing your child's illness.

    Is Your Child Sick? TM


    Stools - Blood In

    Is this your child's symptom?

    • Blood in or on the stool
    • Blood can also be passed alone
    • Blood in the stools is mostly bright red
    • Blood from bleeding in the stomach comes out tar-black
    • Included: Blood from constipation and anal fissure (tear)

    Causes of Blood in Stool

    • Anal Fissure. If no diarrhea, most of these children have a small tear in the anus. This is called an anal fissure. Anal fissures usually are caused by passage of a large or hard stool. This is the cause in 90% of children with blood in the stools.
    • Strep Skin Infection. A Strep skin infection around the anus can also cause blood-streaked stools.
    • Bacterial Diarrhea. If also has bloody diarrhea, a gut bacterial infection may be the cause. Examples are Shigella, Salmonella, E.Coli 0157 or Campylobacter.
    • Cow's Milk Colitis. Starts within the first 2 months of life. Causes loose, slimy stools. Can be blood-streaked. Treatment: need to avoid cow's milk formulas.
    • Blood spreads rapidly and widely in water. Passing a stool with a few blood streaks often turns the toilet water pink. It doesn't mean a large blood loss.

    Causes of Red Stools, but not Blood

    The things listed below can also cause red-colored stools that look like blood:

    • Certain foods (such as tomatoes or beets)
    • Certain drinks (such as red Kool-Aid)
    • Certain medicines (such as amoxicillin or omnicef)

    Anal Fissure or Tear

    • An anal fissure is the most common cause of blood in the stools.
    • It causes blood on the surface of a stool. Blood may also be found on toilet tissue after wiping.
    • The blood is always bright red.
    • Only a few streaks or flecks are seen.
    • You may see a shallow tear at 6 or 12 o'clock on the anus.
    • Caused by passing a large or hard stool.

    When to Call for Stools - Blood In

    When to Call for Stools - Blood In

    Call 911 Now

    • Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
    • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Tarry or black-colored stool (not dark green)
    • Blood with diarrhea
    • Pink or tea-colored urine
    • Stomach pain or crying also present
    • Skin bruises not caused by an injury
    • Age less than 12 weeks
    • After an injury to anus or rectum
    • High-risk child (such as with bleeding disorder or Crohn's disease)
    • Your child looks or acts very sick
    • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Small amount of blood in the stools. None of the symptoms above. Reason: most likely an anal fissure or tear. This needs a doctor's input.
    • Note: try to save a sample of the "blood" for testing.

    Call 911 Now

    • Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
    • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Tarry or black-colored stool (not dark green)
    • Blood with diarrhea
    • Pink or tea-colored urine
    • Stomach pain or crying also present
    • Skin bruises not caused by an injury
    • Age less than 12 weeks
    • After an injury to anus or rectum
    • High-risk child (such as with bleeding disorder or Crohn's disease)
    • Your child looks or acts very sick
    • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Small amount of blood in the stools. None of the symptoms above. Reason: most likely an anal fissure or tear. This needs a doctor's input.
    • Note: try to save a sample of the "blood" for testing.

    Care Advice for Anal Fissure

    1. What You Should Know About Anal Fissures:
      • An anal tear is the most common cause of blood in the stools.
      • This is called an anal fissure.
      • It causes blood on the surface of a stool.
      • Blood may also be found on toilet tissue after wiping.
      • It is caused by passing a hard or large stool.
      • Here is some care advice that should help until you talk with your doctor.
    2. Warm Saline Baths:
      • Give a warm salt water bath for 20 minutes.
      • Add 2 ounces (60 mL) of table salt to a tub of warm water. You can also use baking soda.
      • Do 2 times per day for 1 day to cleanse the area and to help healing.
    3. Steroid Ointment:
      • If the anus seems red, use 1% hydrocortisone ointment (such as Cortaid). No prescription is needed.
      • Put a little around the anus.
      • Use 2 times per day for 1 day to help healing.
    4. High-Fiber Diet:
      • For children more than 1 year old, change the diet.
      • Increase fruits, vegetables and grains (fiber).
      • Reduce milk products to 3 servings per day.
      • If Constipation is the cause, see that care guide.
    5. What to Expect:
      • Most often, anal tears heal up quickly with home treatment.
    6. Call Your Doctor If:
      • Bleeding gets worse
      • Small bleeding occurs more than 2 times
      • You think your child needs to be seen
      • Your child becomes worse

    And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

    Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

    Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.