Sticky bowel movements in the baby

What is sticky stool?

The bowel movements of babies and toddlers can provide various indications of intolerances or diseases. Often, the consistency of the bowel movement can provide a lot of information about possible causes. Sticky bowel movements in babies or toddlers can be recognised by a greasy consistency.

For example, if the bowel movement gets stuck to the diaper, this can be an indication of sticky bowel movement. Bowel movements that stick to the inside of the toilet and are difficult to get loose can also be an indication of sticky bowel movements. It is important to distinguish whether the bowel movement has changed acutely or whether the consistency has been changed for a longer period of time. This also allows conclusions to be drawn as to whether it might be a disease and what the possible causes might be.

Causes of sticky bowel movements

The causes of sticky bowel movements in babies and toddlers can be very diverse. To find out, it is important to assess whether other symptoms such as flatulence or abdominal pain are also present in the baby. The duration of the symptoms can also be helpful to draw conclusions about the cause.

Basically, sticky stools in babies and small children can be an indication of disturbed fat digestion. The digestive juices of the gall bladder and pancreas are crucial for fat digestion. If their function is restricted by a disease, this can lead to disturbed fat digestion and sticky bowel movements.

Related diseases are rather rare in babies and infants, but can occur. Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases could also be responsible for disturbed fat digestion. These diseases are also relatively rare in babies or early infants, but should be clarified if the symptoms persist.

In order to additionally rule out intolerance to certain foods, such as coeliac disease (gluten intolerance), it is important to assess whether the sticky bowel movements occur in connection with certain foods. The symptoms should improve if these foods are avoided. If the symptoms continue to occur in spite of abstaining from these foods, other causes or further causes should be sought.


The diagnosis of the disease can be made in different ways. If it is an intolerance that is responsible for the sticky stools, these foods should be avoided for a while. The symptoms should improve during the time that certain foods are avoided.

To confirm an intolerance, blood tests or tissue samples may also be necessary. To diagnose biliary or pancreatic diseases, blood tests are usually also necessary. There, certain laboratory values that would indicate such diseases can then be checked. Imaging techniques can also be used to make a diagnosis. Ultrasound, for example, is suitable for this purpose and can be used to visualise the gall bladder and pancreas.