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What Faecal Colour Says About a Child’s Health

The colour of a child’s faeces can vary depending on several factors which include the diet, age, and overall health. While changes in faecal colour can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, it is important to consider other symptoms and consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. Here are what some faecal colours might suggest:

Brown: This is the most common colour of stool and generally indicates a healthy digestive system. The colour comes from the breakdown of bile produced by the liver.

Green: Green stool can be normal in infants who are exclusively breastfed or formula-fed. It can also be caused by a diet rich in green vegetables or certain medications. However, if accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea or abdominal pain, it may indicate an infection or digestive problem.

Yellow: Yellowish or mustard-coloured stool is common in breastfed infants. It can be a sign that the child is digesting breast milk properly. However, if the child is not breastfed and has persistent yellow stool, it could indicate a problem with fat absorption or liver function.

Black: Black stool in children can be a cause for concern as it may indicate bleeding in the upper digestive tract. This could be due to various reasons, such as an ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, or ingestion of certain medications or substances. It is important to seek medical attention promptly if a child has black stool.

Pale or Clay-coloured: Pale or clay-coloured stool can indicate a lack of bile in the stool. This can be a sign of a liver or gallbladder problem, such as a blocked bile duct. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional if the child consistently has pale or clay-coloured stool.

Red: Red-coloured stool can be alarming, as it may indicate bleeding in the lower digestive tract. This can be caused by conditions like haemorrhoids, anal fissures, or intestinal infections. However, certain foods, such as beets or food dyes, can also temporarily make the stool red. If there is no obvious explanation for red stool, it is important to seek medical advice.

Note that this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about your child’s faecal colour or any other symptoms, it is best to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate evaluation and appropriate guidance.

Featured photo credit: Banana stock

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