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Diarrhea and Constipation ( Viewers : 4269 )
Diarrhea and Constipation


Diarrhea is a very common problem in childhood.

What are the symptoms of diarrhea?

Every child has a different pattern of bowl movement. Your child has diarrhea if there is more bowl movements are less formed and more watery.

Your child may also have –

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains
  • Cramps
  • Blood and/or mucus in the bowel movement.

How is Diarrhea Spread?

Diarrhea germs are mostly, spread by hand-to-mouth contact. They are easily spread, especially among children who have not learned to use the toilet. To reduce the spread of germs adults and children should wash their hands carefully after every diaper change and toilet use. Always wash your hands before preparing or eating food.

What Causes Diarrhea?

Many different germs cause diarrhea. Most often it is caused by a virus and so cannot be cured with antibiotics. Sometimes diarrhea is caused by bacteria, such as salmonella and E.coli. In some of these cases, antibiotics may be recommended. Tell your doctor right away if your child has blood in the bow movement. This could mean there is a bacterial infection.

Diarrhea can also be a side effect of certain medicines, such as antibiotics. If your child is on a medicine and has diarrhea, check with your doctor to see if this is an expected reaction.

Another common cause of diarrhea in toddlers is drinking too much fruit juice. This is because it has a high amount of sugar. If this is the cause, the diarrhea should improve if you dilute the juice half and half with water.

There are other non-infectious cause of diarrhea such as chronic bowel disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and malabsorption.

Is Diarrhea Serious?

Do not be worried if your child has an occasional loose bowel movement. Usually diarrhea is mild and clears up without treatment in a couple of days. Diarrhea can be serious if it is complicated by dehydration. Young babies can become dehydrated quite quickly. Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 or 4 days with no sign of improvement should be reported to your doctor. See your doctor even if your child seems to be feeling well.

What can happen if Diarrhea is not Treated Properly?

Diarrhea can be dangerous because if drains water and essential minerals, called electrolytes, from your child. If these fluids are not replaced quickly, dehydration can occur and your child may need urgent hospital treatment. It is most important that your child continues to drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration.

What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

Severe dehydration can cause life-threatening shock if no treated properly. In babies, dehydration can cause:

  • Increased thirst and slightly dry mucous membranes (e.g. mouth and tongue). As it progresses it can cause less urine output (fewer than four wet diapers in 24 hours).
  • Lack of tears
  • Sunken eyes
  • Greyish skin
  • Sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on the infant’s head

In older children, symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Sunken eyes

Signs of severe Dehydration include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Cold fingers and toes
  • No urine output

This is requires immediate medical attention.

What your child can eat?

Most children should eat a normal diet while they have mild diarrhea. This includes breast-feeding, formula or milk. You baby may be seen bloated or gassy after drinking cow’s milk or formula or the diarrhea may seem to worsen. If so, call your doctor to ask about a temporary change in food.

How is Diarrhea Treated?

Do Not Use antidiarrheal medicines. These products can hide the signs of dehydration and illness. They will also stop the body from getting rid of infection

Use diarrhea replacement fluids, usually known as oral rehydration solutions (ORS), to effectively treat minor dehydration, ORS offer the correct balance of water, sugar and electrolytes that are lost during the course of diarrhea. These electrolytes must be replaced because your child’s body needs them. When should a doctor see your child?

  • Has a temperature higher than 38.5 C (101.5F)
  • Has diarrhea and is less than 6 months of age
  • Has bloody or black bowel movements
  • Starts to vomit and is still vomiting after4 to 6 hours
  • .
  • Vomits dark green material (bile).
  • Is lethargic or extremely irritable
  • Has diarrhea and is less than 6 months of age


Constipation is a very common problem in childhood. Every child has a different bowel pattern. A child who is constipated has bowel movements that happen less often than usual and are hard and dry. They are often larger than normal and difficult or painful to pass. Constipation is usually related to diet or may be behavioural, however, rare medical cause of constipation occur.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation can be caused by:

  • Drinking too much milk and juices
  • Eating too many dairy products
  • Not eating enough solid or fibre foods, such as cereals, fruits and vegetables.
  • Your child holding back from having a bowel movement because he or she is having pain from a crack or tear around the anus. Holding back a bowel movement will cause more pain and then your child will hold back again. This becomes a pattern.

What can be done about Constipation?

  • Do not give more milk than is appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Offer plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Always give your child a piece of fruit instead of juice.
  • Offer foods that are high in fibre, such has fruits, vegetable, bran, whole wheat breads and cereals.
  • Do not rush toilet training. Children can worry and hold back bowel movements.
  • Give your child a firm support (such as a small foot rest) for his or her feet while he or she is passing bowel movements.

Article By:- eHealthhut Webmaster

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