Diarrhea in Children: Causes & Symptoms

Diarrhea in Children: Causes & Symptoms

Your child’s bowel movements can reveal a lot about his or her health. Since the food that you give your child as they grow changes, the color and texture of the bowel may also change. And, since children also more susceptible to infections, issues like diarrhea in children are quite common.


Now, it is common for babies and toddlers to have soft and loose stools. However, if the stool is loose more than two to three times a day, your child probably has diarrhea and you should learn about providing the right care to improve your little one’s digestive health.

What Are The Common Causes of Diarrhea in Children?

Before you learn about care and preventive measures, it is necessary to know about the causes of diarrhea in children. This will help you find more effective remedies. The most common causes are as follows:

  • Microbial infections: Children can get diarrhea because of viral, bacterial or parasitic infections. There are microbes like rotavirus, salmonella or gardia that cause diarrhea in children. The symptoms and the duration of these symptoms vary as per the type of infection. For instance, in case of viral infections the symptoms will last for up to 2 weeks. Bacterial infections can cause some blood in the stools while parasitic infections can lead to nausea and bloating along with greasy stools.
  • Food allergies: You need to be very careful while introducing new foods to your child. Make sure that you allow a gap of at least 3 days between each new type of food to check for allergies. If the immune system creates an inflammatory response to any food, allergic reactions like diarrhea may occur.
  • Consumption of sweetened drinks: This is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in children. Since sweetened drinks act as laxatives, they may cause diarrhea.
  • Lactose intolerance: If your child is unable to digest a certain type of sugar in milk called lactose, then it can lead to gas, abdominal cramping and burping followed by diarrhea.
  • Teething: The exact relationship between teething and diarrhea is not known. However, it is believed that children tend to pick up objects and chew on them to ease the discomfort, they make way for germs to enter the body and cause infections.

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Managing Diarrhea in Children

If you notice loose stools and diarrhea, here are some simple measures that you can take to reduce the symptoms:

  • Give your child plenty of fluids such as bone broths and water. When the child has diarrhea, the body loses a lot of electrolytes and fluids that need to be replenished quickly to prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid any sugary drinks: Processed fruit juices or soda must be avoided if you notice loose stools. The sugars in these drinks trigger the release of water from the body, causing loose stools.
  • Give your Child Whole Foods: Within 24 hours of noticing the symptoms of diarrhea, you need to give your child whole foods like vegetables and fruits that can improve bowel movement. These foods also nourish the child’s body with nutrients that help him or her recover faster.
  • Provide your child with foods that are rich in probiotics: You can choose probiotic drinks or even fermented foods that contain probiotics. This helps increase the level of good bacteria in the body and allows the body to fight off infections that are causing diarrhea-like symptoms.

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When To See The Doctor

Mild diarrhea can be managed with the measures mentioned above. However, in case of severe diarrhea, your child may require medication to alleviate the symptoms. If your child is dehydrated, you need to make sure that you see the doctor immediately. The following symptoms tell you that your child needs medical attention:

  • The mouth is sticky and dry
  • The urine is darker in color or the amount of urine produced is low
  • There are almost no tears when your child is crying
  • Your child may feel light headed and dizzy
  • The skin is dry and cool
  • Your child seems to be lethargic or very weak
  • The symptoms have occurred for more than 3 days
  • Diarrhea is couple with vomit that is yellow or green in color
  • There is blood in the stool
  • The child has passed over 4 loose stools in a span of 8 hours
  • The child is not drinking enough water
  • There are a rashes on the body


Preventive Measures Against Diarrhea

One of the most common causes of diarrhea is infection. So make sure that you wash your child’s hands thoroughly before each meal and after every session of play. This prevents the germs from entering the system if the child puts his fingers in the mouth.

Make sure that the toys are kept clean. Also ensure that you learn about various food allergies that your child may have. Lastly, avoid giving the child any sweetened drinks.

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