One of the most distressing symptoms for parents is presence of blood in stools and dark stools ( malena).
A presentation with blood in stool does not always mean a serious cause especially in children. In little children the most common reasons for blood in stools are constipation and food allergies. Constipation results in blood which is usually found on wiping. This is due to a break in the skin or the soft tissue of anus as a result of hard stools. Food allergies especially in babies can present with blood in stool particularly early onset milk allergy.
Unwell children with blood in stool should be immediately seen for possibility of surgical problems such as intussusception. Most well children with blood in stool require some routine investigations such as blood tests to determine their blood count and to look for markers of inflammatory bowel disease. Some of these children may also need endoscopic examination of the lower bowel (colon) to look for presence of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease.
Treatment will depend what cause is identified for the bleeding.