How Is Diarrhea Diagnosed
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may have lab tests to check blood and urine.
Other tests may include:
A stool culture to check for abnormal bacteria or parasites in your childs digestive tract. A small stool sample is taken and sent to a lab.
A stool evaluation to check the stool for blood or fat
Blood tests to rule out certain diseases
Imaging tests to rule out structural problems
Tests to check for food intolerance or allergies
A sigmoidoscopy. This test lets the healthcare provider check the inside of part of your childs large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. It uses a short, flexible, lighted tube . The tube is put into your childs intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside.
How Do You Know If Breastfed Baby Has Diarrhea
If your baby is experiencing diarrhea
First know that breastfed children generally have soft and loose stools normally, which parents often confuse for diarrhea. Noticing any changes in your babys stool, like more stools in a day than usual, multiple stools per feeding, or very watery stools can indicate diarrhea.
When Do I Need To See A Health Care Provider For Diarrhea
Although it is usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. Contact your health care provider if you have
- Signs of dehydration
- Diarrhea for more than 2 days, if you are an adult. For children, contact the provider if it lasts more than 24 hours.
- Severe pain in your abdomen or rectum
- A fever of 102 degrees or higher
- Stools containing blood or pus
- Stools that are black and tarry
If children have diarrhea, parents or caregivers should not hesitate to call a health care provider. Diarrhea can be especially dangerous in newborns and infants.
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Food Allergies Or Intolerance:
Food allergies occur when the toddlers immune system mistakes a food protein as a pathogen and mounts an attack. If the toddlers immune system has a predisposition to an allergy, it will mount an allergic reaction with symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea . Celiac disease is an example of a food allergy that where the body shows an allergic reaction to grains such as wheat, barley, and rye .
Food intolerance occurs when the toddlers digestive system is unable to digest a food compound. For example, galactosemia is a food intolerance condition where the intestines are unable to digest galactose, which is a type of sugar found in milk, including human milk. Food intolerances lead to gastrointestinal tract irritation and diarrhea .
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases :
It is a group of genetic diseases that cause severe inflammation in the inner lining of the digestive tract. Persistent diarrhea with blood is one of the prominent symptoms of the disease. While there are several IBDs, the most common ones to affect toddlers are ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease. These illnesses can cause diarrhea that lasts over a month. As IBDs are genetic, there is no treatment nor can they be diagnosed before birth . Nevertheless, medications subdue the symptoms and help thetoddler live a healthy normal life.
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Does Breastfeeding Cause Diarrhea In Mom
Can i get diarrhea from breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding. Along with the general causes above, breastfed babies can develop diarrhea from: A Mothers Diet: Some foods in your diet can cause allergies and sensitivities in your breastfed baby. Cows milk, chocolate, gassy foods, spicy foods, and caffeine are the foods most likely to trigger a problem.
How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of Diarrhea
- ask about what the child ate most recently, when symptoms began, and how often the diarrhea is happening
- ask specific questions about the diarrhea: Is it watery? Is there blood in the poop?
- do an exam
- sometimes, take a stool sample to send to a lab for analysis. This helps them find out which germ is causing the illness.
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Causes Of Diarrhea In Babies
Diarrhea in babies has many potential causes. Here are some of the most common ones.
Viral infections. A rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in children ages 2 and younger. Fortunately, the number of children who get this intestinal infection has dropped significantly since the introduction of the oral rotavirus vaccine in 2006. “Vaccinated children can still get rotavirus, but they tend to have milder symptoms and recover faster,” says Dr. Safder.
Antibiotics. About one in 10 children who take antibiotics develop diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. “In addition to targeting bad bacteria, antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria in the gut, which can lead to stomach upset or diarrhea,” says Iona Munjal, M.D., director of the Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. If you think antibiotics are causing your baby’s diarrhea, talk to your doctor before stopping the medication. Stopping antibiotics early can lead to antibiotic resistance and cause a bacterial infection to return.
Parasites. Infants in daycare centers have a higher risk of contracting giardia, an intestinal infection caused by parasites. Exposure occurs when babies put fecal-contaminated toys, food, their hands, or other objects into their mouths. Most children get better without special treatment.
What Should I Do If My Child Has Diarrhea
Children with diarrhea need to keep drinking the right amount of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- If you are breastfeeding, keep feeding on demand. You can also offer your child the foods he or she usually eats.
- If you are formula feeding, do not dilute the formula. Continue formula feeding and offer your child the food he or she normally eats.
- If you’re not breastfeeding or formula feeding, offer your child a variety of fluids more frequently, in addition to the foods they normally eat.
- At any age, if your child is not taking other fluids well, offer an oral rehydration solution , in addition to the feeding recommendations above.
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How Can Dehydration From Diarrhea Be Prevented And Treated
Oral rehydration solutions are liquids that contain a carbohydrate and electrolyte . Originally, the World Health Organization developed the WHO-ORS to rapidly rehydrate victims of the severe diarrheal illness, cholera. The WHO-ORS solution contains glucose and electrolytes. The glucose in the solution is important because it forces the small intestine to quickly absorb the fluid and the electrolytes. The purpose of the electrolytes in the solution is the prevention and treatment of electrolyte deficiencies.
In the U.S., convenient, premixed commercial ORS products that are similar to the WHO-ORS are available for rehydration and prevention of dehydration. Examples of these products are Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, Infalyte, and Resol.
Most of the commercially available ORS products in the U.S. contain glucose. Infalyte is the only one that contains rice carbohydrate instead of glucose. Most doctors believe that there are no important differences in effectiveness between glucose and rice carbohydrate.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diarrhea
The symptoms you can experience when you have diarrhea can vary depending on if its mild or severe and what the cause of the diarrhea happens to be. Theres a link between severe cases of diarrhea and a medical condition that needs to be treated.
When you have diarrhea, you may experience all of these symptoms or only a few. The main symptom of diarrhea is loose or watery stool.
Other symptoms of mild diarrhea can include:
- Bloating or cramps in the abdomen.
- A strong and urgent need to have a bowel movement.
- Nausea .
If you have severe diarrhea, you may experience symptoms like:
Severe diarrhea can lead to significant complications. If you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider and seek medical attention.
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Side Effects Of Medicines:
Some medicines, such as antibiotics, can cause diarrhea as a side effect. Antibiotics do not just kill the harmful bacteria, but also affect the number of good bacteria that facilitate digestion. A decrease in the population of good bacteria can affect the functions of the intestines .
The cause of diarrhea decides how long the condition spans. Stay alert to any subtle symptoms that point towards diarrhea in toddlers.
When To Contact Your Doctor
Babies under 6 months old should always be checked by a doctor if they have vomiting and diarrhoea because they are at higher risk of dehydration.
If your baby is unwell , or if vomiting has lasted more than a day, get your doctors advice straightaway or call healthdirect to speak to a registered nurse on 1800 022 222 .
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How Do I Know If My Child Has Toddlers Diarrhea
Make an appointment to see your pediatrician if your child has frequent loose stools lasting more than a couple of weeks. Before the appointment, consider keeping a written log of your childs stool patterns for at least one week. Each day, write down the frequency and consistency of your childs bowel movements as well as a diary of the types of foods and drinks he or she consumes. This will help your doctor make the diagnosis of toddlers diarrhea or decide if further evaluation is needed to look for other causes of diarrhea. Remember, if the diagnosis of toddlers diarrhea is made after consulting with your pediatrician, this is not considered a disease, but rather a harmless condition of childhood. The vast majority of children outgrow toddlers diarrhea with time and/or by following dietary interventions.
If a child has blood in the stool, vomiting, poor weight gain or weight loss, abdominal pain, refusal to eat/drink, or fever, call your doctor to discuss being seen sooner. These red flag symptoms indicate that something more serious than toddlers diarrhea is going on and further evaluation and/or treatment may be needed.
Newborn Poop: Passing Meconium During The First Few Days
Newborn feces that is passed during the first few days of life is unique it can look like motor oil or tar. Doctors refer to this as meconium. It is composed of cells, amniotic fluid and other materials ingested in the womb, as well as mucus a babys bowels produce. It also contains bile produced by the liver. The meconium is black, thick and contains mucus. Babies usually start excreting the meconium in the first day of life it can be passed even during delivery. Babies can pass the meconium for days, and it often transitions to more of a black-green color before taking on the colors and textures of traditional baby feces.
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Fluid And Fruit Juice
Do not give children too much fruit juice or squash. Some children only drink fruit juice to quench their thirst. It is best to give water to children for most drinks and keep fruit juice as a treat. However, some children have become used to squash or juice on a regular basis and may become upset if they are suddenly denied their usual drink. In this case, if you do give your child squash or juice, make sure that it is very well diluted. And then, aim to increase the dilution gradually over time.
Too much juice or squash is not good for the following reasons:
- Fruit juices contain various sugars . Some types of sugar are not digested or absorbed and so get to the large bowel . Here they may act to keep water in the bowel and cause watery stools. Clear apple juice seems to be the worst, as it contains a lot of certain sugars. Cloudy juices that contain some fibre are not as bad.
- The sugar in juice and squash contains a lot of calories. This can reduce the appetite for normal meals. Therefore, the child tends to eat less fat and fibre at normal mealtimes. Some children seem to obtain most of their daily calories from juice and don’t eat very much solid food.
What Is The Treatment For Toddler’s Diarrhoea
Often, no treatment is needed, particularly if symptoms are mild. The child is usually not concerned. Reassurance that it will ease in time may be all that is required. However, in many cases the diarrhoea will go, or become less severe, if the child changes certain eating and drinking habits. Many toddlers develop eating and drinking habits that are not ideal and these may contribute to causing the diarrhoea. One or more of the following may be relevant. They are the ‘4 Fs’: fat, fluid, fruit juices and fibre.
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What Other Symptoms Might I Have With Diarrhea
Other possible symptoms of diarrhea include
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen
- An urgent need to use the bathroom
- Loss of bowel control
If a virus or bacteria is the cause of your diarrhea, you may also have a fever, chills, and bloody stools.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means that your body does not have enough fluid to work properly. Dehydration can be serious, especially for children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
Can Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea
Most antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics can change the balance of bacteria normally found in the intestines, allowing certain types of bacteria like C. difficile to thrive. When this happens, your colon can become overrun by bad bacteria that causes colitis .
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can begin any time while youre taking the antibiotic or shortly thereafter. If you experience this side effect, call your healthcare provider to talk about the diarrhea and discuss the best option to relieve this side effect.
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How Can I Relieve Discomfort In The Rectal Area Caused By Diarrhea
Diarrhea often means frequent trips to the bathroom. This can cause discomforts like:
- Pain during bowel movements.
If youre experiencing any of these discomforts, there are a few things you can do to help, including:
- Sitting in a few inches of lukewarm water in a bathtub.
- Patting your rectal area dry with a clean soft towel after getting out of the tub or shower. Dont rub the area dry because that will only make the irritation worse.
- Applying petroleum jelly or a hemorrhoid cream to your anus.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- diarrhea many times a day or it lasts for more than 3 days
- repeated vomiting and can’t or won’t drink fluids
- severe belly pain
- diarrhea that has blood in it
- a dry or sticky mouth
- few or no tears when crying
- eyes that look sunken
- in a baby, the soft spot on top of the head looks sunken
- peeing less or fewer wet diapers
- drowsiness or dizziness
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Can Too Much Milk Cause Diarrhea In Toddlers
Milk can cause diarrhea only when the toddler is lactose intolerant . A healthy toddler with no intolerance or allergy will not develop diarrhea due to regular milk consumption. On the contrary, excess milk consumption can lead to constipation among toddlers .
Mild and moderate diarrhea are not serious conditions, and you might begin with some home remedies before taking the toddler to a pediatrician. Rehydration, rest, and care can provide relief to the toddler at home while precautions eventually keep the problem at bay.
Have some tips to share? Let us know in the comment section.
Dehydration: How To Know
- Dehydration means that the body has lost too much fluid. This can happen with vomiting and/or diarrhea. A weight loss of more than 3% is needed. Mild diarrhea or mild vomiting does not cause this. Neither does a small decrease in fluid intake.
- Dehydration is the most important complication of diarrhea. Dehydration is a reason to see your doctor right away.
- These are signs of dehydration:
- Dry tongue and inside of the mouth. Dry lips are not helpful.
- Dry eyes with decreased or absent tears
- In babies, a depressed or sunken soft spot
- Slow blood refill test: Longer than 2 seconds. First, press on the thumbnail and make it pale. Then let go. Count the seconds it takes for the nail to turn pink again. Ask your doctor to teach you how to do this test.
- Fussy, tired out or acting ill. If your child is alert, happy and playful, he or she is not dehydrated.
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What Is Considered Diarrhea In A 3 Month Old
Until 2 months of age, they may pass a stool after each feeding. But, if stools suddenly increase in number and looseness, suspect diarrhea. If it lasts for 3 or more stools, the baby has diarrhea. If the stools contain mucus, blood or smell bad, this points to diarrhea.
Is Diarrhea Harmful
In many cases, diarrhea is only an unpleasant event. However, a few liters of body water lost during diarrhea may lead to dehydration within 24 hours, may severely affect metabolism, muscles, nerves, heart, or consciousness, and may cause permanent damage of affected organs. About 2.2 million children die from diarrhea every year, mostly in countries where medical help is not easily accessible malnourished children with lowered immunity or chronic diseases are at greatest risk . Repeating acute or chronic diarrhea may lead to malnutrition.
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