Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Treatment Home Care high fiber diet warning signs Underlying Cause

Abnormal Stool in Children Underlying Cause

The most common causes of abnormal appearing stool in children include:

Dietary causes for red stool include:
  • Large amounts of beets
  • Tomato juice
  • Tomato soup
  • Red Kool-Aid
  • Red gelatin
  • Large amounts of red popsicles

Other causes for black stools include:

Normal Newborn Stool
Newborn stools appear different than those of children and adults. The first stool is normally thick, sticky and may be green-black or yellow in color. This occurs due to the buildup of material in the intestines during pregnancy. Breastfed infants usually have soft, seedy, mustard-colored stools. Eight or ten stools per day are common in a breast-fed infant. Formula-fed infants tend to have thicker, yellow to brown stools. Their stools are usually larger and have more odor than breast-fed babies.

Normal Infant Stool
Older infants will develop other stool changes after starting solid foods. Yellow, orange, green and brown stools are normal. Sometimes, red food dye can cause a red colored stool. By one year of age, stools should resemble those of an older child or adult.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abnormal Stool in Children References
  1. Crofts DJ, Michel VJ, Rigby AS, Tanner MS, Hall DM, Bonham JR. Assessment of stool colour in community management of prolonged jaundice in infancy. Acta Paediatr. 1999 Sep;88(9):969-74. [10519339]
  2. King TS, Elia M, Hunter JO. Abnormal colonic fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome. Lancet. 1998 Oct 10;352(9135):1187-9. [9777836]
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