A child may have diarrhea when their stool is watery or they experience increased frequency of bowel movements (or both) when compared to a normal amount. It is a common problem that may last a few days and disappear on its own.
Diarrhea may be:
Diarrhea in children may be caused by a number of conditions, including the following:
The following are the most common symptoms of diarrhea. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Severe diarrhea may indicate a serious disease, making it important to consult your child's physician if any/all of the following symptoms persist:
The symptoms of diarrhea may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
You should call your pediatrician if your child is less than 6 months of age or presents any of the following symptoms:
The specialists in Lurie Children's Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition treat children with diarrhea. In addition to a complete physical examination and laboratory tests for blood and urine, the child's physician may request:
Specific treatment for diarrhea will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Treatment usually involves replacing lost fluids. Antibiotics may be prescribed when bacterial infections are the cause.
A child with diarrhea can have regular fluids or special fluids (such as Pedialyte™ or Gatorade™) for diarrhea. Do not use anti-diarrheal medications unless recommended by your child's physician.
If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).