If you discover what appears to be blood mixed with your toddler’s poops, first ask yourself if your toddler has just started a course of antibiotics.

“Antibiotics can have many side effects including diarrhea, upset stomach and discolored stools,” says Dr. Charnetta Colton-Poole, MD, a board certified pediatrician based in Atlanta, GA.

“For example, a commonly used cephalosporin [a class of drugs] often causes red/brick colored stool which can appear to look like blood.

“Antibiotics can, however, disrupt normal gut bacteria and can allow for overgrowth of C. difficile which leads to antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis which often results in bloody stools.”

With 15+ years in the medical field, Dr. Colton-Poole is also a medical communication strategist and content creator.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.