Causes Of Diarrhea In Children

Causes Of Diarrhea In Children | Some Warning Signs In Your Child May Require Immediate Attention

Causes of diarrhea in children: What is diarrhea? Causes by age, key points. When should you take your child to a doctor?

What is diarrhea?

Causes of diarrhea in children: Diarrhea is a common problem seen in children. The word diarrhea is derived from the Greek “diarrhoea”, meaning to flow through. It means either an increased stool frequency or a decreased stool consistency, typically a watery quality. In simple words more than 3 watery stools per day lasting less than 2 weeks.

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Underlying pathology

It is one of the commonest causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide but more so in the poorer countries. During acute illness, infants are more likely to become dehydrated and ill because they have greater insensible water loss because they have an increased body surface area relative to weight. They are also more likely to have a fever and their kidney is somewhat immature. As a result, they become volume depleted more rapidly than do adults.

What happens during diarrhea?

Normally, 93% of fluids are absorbed from the gut in a day. During diarrheal illness, there is a reversal of this process and may lead to 10mL per kilo per day water loss in a child.

Diarrhea can be:

  • Secretory: where water is secreted in the gut usually due to infections
  • Osmotic: when there is too much undigested solute like lactose in the gut they can cause water to remain and not get absorbed
  • Inflammation or swelling: usually after infections
  • Increased gut motility: sometimes the gut moves too much resulting in diarrhea
Causes Of Diarrhea In Children | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/pediatrician/causes-of-diarrhea-in-children Some Warning Signs In Your Child May Require Immediate Attention

Causes Of Diarrhea In Children

Causes of diarrhea in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

Causes of diarrhea in children by age

Cause Infants and young children Older children and adolescents
Gut infections Viruses*

Bacteria*

Parasites

Viruses*

Bacteria*

Parasites

Other infections (parenteral diarrhea) Ear infections*

Urinary tract infections*

Other systemic infections

Systemic infections

Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome#

Food or diet problems Functional diarrhea/Overfeeding*

Food allergy*

Starvation stools*

Starvation stools*
Anatomic abnormalities E.g. Intussusception# E.g. Appendicitis#
Inflammatory bowel disease Early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (rare, monogenic) Ulcerative colitis

Crohn’s disease

Malabsorption or increased secretion Disaccharidase deficiency (eg, lactase deficiency due to infectious diarrhea)* Celiac disease

Disaccharidase deficiency (primary or secondary)*

Miscellaneous Antibiotic-associated diarrhea* Antibiotic-associated diarrhea* Irritable bowel syndrome*

Psychogenic disturbances*

* These are more common
#Serious conditions

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Key Points

  • Viral diarrhea is by far, the single most common diarrheal disorder seen in practice. In one study of children 2 months to 2 years of age, a viral cause was identified in 60 percent of all cases of diarrhea and in 85 percent of moderately severe and severe episodes
  • Breastfed babies normally pass watery golden-yellow stools and should not be seen as diarrhea
  • Because children especially those below 2 years get easily dehydrated they must be taken to the doctor
  • Oral Rehydration solution is the best treatment and should be given early on
    (8 ounces water + pinch of salt + 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • Children should not be starved during diarrhea because they need the calories to regenerate the gut lining
  • Soft foods like bread, rice, yogurt and potato can be given, Fried foods and those heavy in sugar should be avoided. Sports drinks and colas should also be avoided

When should I take my child to the doctor? 

You should take your child to the doctor if he or she:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Is younger than 12 months and won’t eat or drink anything for more than a few hours
  • Has bad belly pain
  • Is not acting like him or herself
  • Is low in energy and does not respond to you
  • Is dehydrated. Signs include:
    • Dry mouth
    • Thirst
    • No urine or wet diapers for 4 to 6 hours in babies and young children, or 6 to 8 hours in older children
    • No tears when crying
Causes Of Diarrhea In Children | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/pediatrician/causes-of-diarrhea-in-children/ Some Warning Signs In Your Child May Require Immediate Attention

Causes Of Diarrhea In Children

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Causes Of Diarrhea In Children was last modified: March 30th, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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