One of the indicators of baby health is the nature of feces. That is why mothers always pay attention not only to sleep, appetite, skin color of the child, but also to the consistency and color of the chair.
What determines the color of the chair?
First of all, the nature and color of feces depends on the age of the child. For the first 3-4 days after the baby is born, the stool, called meconium, has a viscous consistency and a dark green or almost black color, like fuel oil. And this is normal for the newborn character of the chair. After 3-4 days the stool gradually becomes lighter, may have yellow and white lumps and a small amount of mucus.
And only at the end of the first week it becomes normal for an infant: it becomes a uniform, pasty consistency, with a fermented milk smell, a light brown color, which is usually compared to the color of apricot puree. Up to 3 months of age, green blotches and particles of mucus can periodically appear in the baby’s stool. Such a chair is the norm for a breastfed baby.
The brown color of the feces depends on the bilirubin pigment. It is released from the red blood cells, undergoes some transformations in the liver cells and is excreted in urine as urobilin (giving it color) and feces as stercobilin. Therefore, when a light stool appears, it is necessary to pay attention to the color of urine.
If the urine does not become darker, you need to pay attention to the appetite, sleep and child’s behavior, measure the temperature. Panicking with the appearance of a white chair is not worth it, but it will not be superfluous to consult a doctor.
The consistency and color of the stool depends on the type of feeding and the foods consumed. Dairy food will give stool a light color, so when breastfeeding the stool is lighter. But if the feces become white, it is necessary to analyze the nutrition of the nursing mother the day before.
In a baby receiving milk formulas, the color of feces can vary from gray to yellow. A change in the color of feces occurs when replacing the artificial mixture. The color of the chair may change with the introduction of complementary foods.
Light, up to white, resembling clay, the color of feces may appear after eating a significant amount of foods rich in calcium. Such a phenomenon is observed when overeating cottage cheese with sour cream or with a heavy use of carbohydrate food. In some babies, light liquid stools appear when teething.
In children older than infants, the appearance of light stools is more often associated with eating large amounts of foods rich in calcium or carbohydrates. Sometimes the cause is a child’s overuse of vitamins.
Change the color of light stools may in the case of dysbiosis, liver disease or pancreas.
In addition to these, in general, innocuous, causes of light stool, there are a number of diseases that are characterized by this symptom.
The most frequent failure occurs in the work of the digestive tract organs – the gallbladder, liver, intestines, pancreas. What are these diseases?
- Dysbacteriosis: even very young children can develop dysbacteriosis – an imbalance between microorganisms that live in the intestines. The reasons for its occurrence are sufficient: diseases carried by the mother during pregnancy and the use of antibacterial agents, diseases of the baby himself and treatment with antibiotics, the nature of nutrition of the mother and child, etc.
Characteristic of dysbacteriosis are: a stool with an unpleasant (sour or putrid) odor that is lighter than usual, an admixture of mucus, bloating due to increased gas formation, abdominal pain, and sometimes a rash on the skin. The diagnosis is confirmed by a special microbiological examination of feces.
- Hepatitis: it is his parents who most often remember and fear when a white chair appears. But in children of the first year of life, hepatitis A occurs very rarely – with a gross violation of hygiene rules and the presence of sick family members.
The disease begins with manifestations of catarrhal or dyspeptic (nausea, poor appetite, lethargy). In addition, an earlier symptom is dark urine color, which leaves dark spots on diapers or sliders, only then brightens the feces. It will not be a light yellow chair, but a completely white one, with a grayish tint, like clay.
In infants up to a year is not common, but hepatitis B can occur, especially if after the birth the baby received blood products for health reasons or the mother carries the virus. This type of hepatitis has a latency period of up to 6 months. It develops gradually, slowly. The general condition of the baby suffers: the appetite and sleep of the child worsens, vomiting, fever may occur. An earlier symptom is the appearance of dark-colored urine, and only then the stool brightens.
Children attending kindergarten and school may get viral hepatitis A. The distinguishing signs of the disease are the same: the gradual development of the disease, the earlier appearance of dark urine and jaundice staining of sclera, etc. The jaundice staining of the skin does not always occur: 1 case of icteric form is noted up to 10 anicteric.
Special laboratory tests help confirm or rule out viral hepatitis. Only a doctor can diagnose.
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is also found in children, including at an early age. This is facilitated by the immaturity of the digestive system and irrational feeding, which does not correspond to the age of the child. In addition to light stools, pancreatitis is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, fever, severe thirst.
In children older than infants, excessive consumption of sweets, especially chocolate and confectionery, may be the cause of the disease. The diagnosis is established on the basis of clinical manifestations, laboratory data and ultrasound results.
- The bend of the gallbladder can inhibit the secretion of bile into the intestines and, as a result, cause white staining of the stool. Only a doctor can suspect such a pathology. To confirm the diagnosis, an ultrasound of the abdominal organs is prescribed.
- Rotavirus infection can also cause discoloration of feces. The disease begins acutely with an increase in temperature, deterioration of the general well-being of the child. There are catarrhal phenomena, as with other respiratory infections, symptoms of intoxication (nausea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, headache). The child is drowsy, capricious. On the first day of the illness, the stool is liquid, but it retains a yellow color, and only on the second day it brightens and resembles clay. On examination revealed nasal congestion, redness in the throat. The diagnosis is confirmed by clinical data and laboratory research.
- Whipple’s disease is a rare disease, the cause of which is not fully known. With the development of the disease also appears light gray stool. But other symptoms are also characteristic: an increase in stool up to 10 times, a sharp smell of feces, a rise in temperature to high numbers. There is an admixture of mucus and blood in the feces. In addition, the lymph nodes and joints become inflamed, and iron deficiency anemia develops.
Given the number of possible reasons for the appearance of light stool, the child must be shown to the doctor, if necessary, conduct a scheduled examination. This will help establish the correct diagnosis and timely treatment.
Resume for parents
At whatever age the baby has a light stool, it is necessary to consult a doctor. You should not engage in self-diagnosis: even a specialist is sometimes difficult to establish the correct diagnosis without additional examination.
The only thing parents should do is check the color of the urine and measure the temperature. The information about the food of the child will also be important. This will help the doctor in the diagnosis.
Moreover, one should not engage in self-treatment of children: it is possible to harm the health of the child, to lose time to begin the correct treatment. A frivolous attitude or ignoring the fact of the appearance of the described symptom will be erroneous.
About the color of the chair and about the bleached (light) chair tells the program “To live great!”: