Blood in Stool

Symptom Definition

  • Blood-colored material mixed in with the stool, on the surface or passed separately
  • Blood in the stools is usually bright red
  • Blood from bleeding in the stomach comes out tar-black
  • Main Cause: anal fissure

See More Appropriate Topic

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If

  • Fainted or too weak to stand following large blood loss

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Large amount of blood, blood alone without any stool or the toilet water turned red
  • Tarry or black-colored stool
  • Pink- or tea-colored urine
  • Vomited blood
  • Abdominal pain or crying also present
  • Skin bruises not caused by an injury
  • Age < 12 weeks

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  • Blood in the stools, but none of the symptoms described above (probably anal fissure) (NOTE: Try to bring in a sample of the “blood” for testing)

Parent Care at Home If

  • Anal fissure suspected (Bright red blood and only a few streaks on the surface of BM or toilet tissue)
  • Anal fissure and constipation previously diagnosed

Home Care Advice for Anal Fissure (Pending Talking with Your Doctor)

  1. Definition: An anal fissure is the #1 cause of blood in stools
    • The blood is bright red, but only a few streaks or flecks are present
    • All the blood is on the surface of the stool or on the toilet tissue after wiping
    • Usually follows passage of a large or hard bowel movement (BM)
    • You may see a shallow tear at 6 or 12 o’clock on the anus
  2. Warm Saline Baths: Give warm saline baths for 20 minutes 3 times per day to cleanse the area and to promote healing. Add 2 oz. of table salt or baking soda to a tub of warm water.
  3. Ointments: If the anus seems irritated, apply 1% hydrocortisone ointment 3 times per day to help healing.
  4. High-Fiber Diet: Offer a nonconstipating diet. Increase fruits, vegetables and grains (fiber). Reduce milk products. If Constipation is definitely the cause, see that topic.
  5. Expected Course: Anal fissures usually heal up quickly with home treatment.
  6. Call Your Doctor If
    • Bleeding increases in amount
    • The bleeding recurs less then 2 times after treatment begins.
    • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor” symptoms