Black Poop in Toddlers

Your infant's poop pattern will slow down with age. As babies grow, there may be a change in how often they poop. Some may poop every few days, while others may poop several times a day. There will also be a change in color, ranging from brown to yellow and even green occasionally. Generally, the change in color and texture is nothing to worry about, but poop color and texture can always provide information about the health of your baby.

Possible Causes of Black Poop in Toddlers

Stools that look black, tarry, or bloody can be quite frightening for parents, but they do not always indicate a serious illness. Here are some possible causes:

1. Foods

You do not have to worry about an occasional dark stool. Black poop does not always mean there is blood in it. The change in color may only be due to your little one's diet. Vitamins and constipation can also cause these changes. Including large amounts of iron-rich food in your child's diet may also make stools to turn black. This is usually a temporary change and the color returns to normal after some time.

2. Medications

Are you giving your child iron preparations or stomach medications? If these medications contain bismuth compounds, it is natural for their stools to turn black. The color will change when you discontinue the use of medication.

3. Bile

Sometimes, the stool color is not actually black but looks like that under poor lighting. This is usually the case when your child passes dark green stools from bile, which may look black. If that is the case, you can confirm your doubts by smearing a piece of stool on something white or having a closer look at it under a bright light.

4. Gastrointestinal Bleeding

You may have to worry a bit if you notice bright red stools, which usually indicate gastrointestinal bleeding. They usually indicate problem near the end of the rectum. However, black stools may indicate problems in the beginning of gastrointestinal tract. There may be problem somewhere in the middle of the gastrointestinal tract if you notice maroon stools.

When to See a Doctor

Black poop in toddlers is not always a sign of illness, but you may want to talk to your doctor if the problem persists. The color usually returns to normal after a few days, but if that does not happen, it is time to see a doctor. Your healthcare provider will confirm if there is really blood in the stool. They may also inspect the outside of the anus to identify the real cause of the bleeding. They sometimes go for a rectal examination to confirm the diagnosis.

Your child's healthcare provider may recommend further testing if they are not sure about the cause of the bleeding. They might ask for a colonoscopy to examine the inside of the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract or ask for imaging tests, such as x-ray to make a correct diagnosis. They will also consider your child's medical history when recommending tests.

Other Baby Poop Facts You Should Know

Black poop in toddlers can make you worried, but you may notice a change in the color and consistency of stools from time to time. Here is a bit more about what a change in colors usually indicates.

1. Red Poop

  • It's usually blood, so it makes sense to talk to your doctor, especially if the change persists. Your child may get a small tear on the inside of the anus while passing hard stool, which sometimes causes bleeding. If that is the case, your doctor will recommend using fluids, prunes, etc. to soften the stools.
  • Red poop may also be the outcome of taking antibiotics that may bind with iron.
  • Certain foods and drinks, such as red juice can make the stool look red.

2. Green Poop

  • Green poop is usually the result of the stool moving too fast through your child's intestines. This is nothing to worry about, especially in breastfed babies. Your baby should gaining weight though.
  • Green poop may also be the result of eating too much of high-fiber food, such as broccoli or green vegetables. In some cases, the green color is due to the use of the dye in a food or beverage that your child consumes.

3. Yellow Poop

Besides black poop in toddler, your baby may also have yellow poop occasionally. Do not worry about yellow stool if you are breastfeeding your babies. It sometimes looks like mustard in the diaper. An occasional shade of yellow is totally fine in older children, but talk to your child's healthcare provider if yellow poop is accompanied with tummy pain as well. This could be due to inflammation or irritation in the intestines.

4. White Poop

While, grey, or chalky stool is usually okay and is often the result of your child eating something unusual. You should call your pediatrician though if the change persists. In rare cases, this could be due to a liver problem or another medical condition. 

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