Digestion

Black Stool in Children – Causes and Treatment of Black Stools in Children

Babies passing black tarry stools can be alarming to the parents. But these are not always a sign of serious illness in children. It is important to determine and recognize the bowel pattern in your child. Make sure that the blackened stool is not the cause of any eating habits or some other minor disorders.

Check for other symptoms like fever, pain, excessive crying, smell of the stool, vomiting etc. if observed in the baby along with the blackened stools. The black, tarry, foul odored feces is called melena. The most common cause of black stools is the bleeding in the upper pat of the GI tract. But in children there can be several reasons leading to blackened stools besides the internal bleeding. A few reasons are mentioned below –

  • Oxidation of iron present in the hemoglobin while passing through the ileum
  • Swallowing of blood from the mother while the baby was in the mother’s womb
  • Ingesting dyed foods or drinks like black licorice, blueberries etc.
  • Consumption of iron supplements which cannot be absorbed by the body
  • Taking certain medicines which can cause blackened stools
  • Accidental ingestion of lead or lead-based products

Common causes of GI bleeding in children –

The various causes that can cause bleeding in the upper GI tract are –

  • Ulcer in the stomach
  • Gastritis
  • Mallory-Weiss tear
  • Foreign body or trauma to the organs
  • Bowel ischemia (when the blood is not supplied properly to the intestines)
  • Vascular malformation

Treatment for Black Stool in babies

The mode of treatment of black stool in children depends on the cause and severity of the bleeding. Your medical practitioner will first evaluate, diagnose and prescribe medication and care for the patient.

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