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Newborn and Infant Care

Bloody stool in my 6 month old

03/12/2008

Question:

my 6 month old had a bloody stool today (mucos) and seemed to be rather cranky which he never is he then had another bowel movement and that was fine should i be concerned

Answer:

Yes, you should be concerned about the bloody stool. Do bear in mind that beets and other red foods can turn the stool red. 

The symptoms of crankiness associated with passage of a bloody, gelatinous stool, even a small amount, sounds very much like intussusception, a very common problem in young children. It is often provoked by a viral gastrointestinal illness that causes irritation in the bowel. The small intestine pushes through into the large intestine and becomes trapped. This is very painful. It may resolve on its own and then reoccur. Hence, diagnosis is often delayed as the bowel problem resolves and then reoccurs, causing a waxing and waning of crying. If the small intestine remains trapped, it can cause death of that portion of the intestine as well as great pain and vomiting.

It is important to have the baby seen by his doctor. If you still have the bloody stool in a diaper, put into a baggies and take it with you to the visit. This will help the doctor identify if intussusception is the problem or if it is something else. Intussusception can be identified with simple testing and frequently does not require surgery, but rather the pumping of a quantity of air through the anus and rectum to push the trapped small bowel out of the large intestine.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University