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Diarrhea

Diarrhea is defined either as watery stool or increased frequency (or both) when compared to a normal amount. It is a common problem that may disappear on its own or last longer when further interventions is required

Diarrhea may be:

  1. Acute (short-term, usually lasting < 2 weeks)
  2. Chronic (long-term, lasting > 2 weeks)

Diarrhea in children may be caused by a number of conditions, including the following:

Bacterial infection, viral infection, food intolerances or allergies, parasites, reaction to medications, inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome, result of surgery on the stomach or gallbladder. Many people suffer "traveller’s diarrhea" caused by a bacterial infection or a parasite, or even food poisoning.

Severe diarrhea may indicate a serious disease, making it important to consult your child's health care provider if any or all of the following symptoms persist:

  • Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, Bloody stools, dehydration, incontinence
  • The symptoms of diarrhea may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult a doctor for a diagnosis.

What are the warning signs of severe diarrhea?

If your child is less than 6 months of age or presents any of the following symptoms:

Abdominal pain, blood in the stool, frequent vomiting, loss of appetite for liquids, high fever, weight loss, urinates less frequently (wets fewer than 6 diapers per day, frequent diarrhea, extreme thirst, no tears when crying, depressed fontanelle (soft spot) on infant's head.