Diarrhea in children: cause, treatment, diet

When does diarrhea occur in children?

Diarrhea is a very common problem in children of all ages. It is a disorder of normal digestion in which there is frequent emptying of loose or watery stools. One rare stool in a child does not mean diarrhea. In the case of a child, we are talking about diarrhea if there is any more than three a day rare chairs.

Diarrheal diseases in children in the Czech environment are most often caused by viruses, less often by bacteria and, exceptionally, by parasites. Rotaviruses, against which it is now possible to vaccinate children, are responsible for particularly frequent and severe diarrhea. Watery diarrhea caused by infection may also accompany it stomach pain, vomiting and fever.

If your child has diarrhea, the most important thing is to make sure he is drinking enough liquid and stayed hydrated. Dehydration can occur with insufficient fluid intake or with more than 8 bowel movements per day. If your child has diarrhea, you should probably see a pediatrician as well. [1, 2, 34]

What causes vomiting and diarrhea in children?

Diarrhea is often accompanied by vomiting, which increases fluid loss and the risk of dehydration. In some cases it may be a fault in the diet or a food intolerance, but most often it is viral or bacterial infections, especially parasites.

The infection is most often transmitted from children’s hands or contaminated objects, and even from food or water, especially if it is the so-called traveler’s diarrhea. Prolonged diarrhea in children it may even be responsible for chronic inflammation of the bowels. However, you should see your pediatrician to find out what is causing your child’s diarrhea.

Green and yellow diarrhea in children

With diarrhea, the color of the stool often changes, because changes the amount of water and electrolytes contained therein. In addition, food will pass through the digestive system faster than usual, which can also change the color of the discharged contents. If your child has acute diarrhoea, the stool may be yellow or green depending on what they have eaten before.

Diarrhea and fever in children

Diarrhea can occur in children without fever, but it can also be accompanied by an elevated temperature if it is caused by an infectious disease. They are most often to blame rotaviry, rarely adenoviruses, noroviruses and enteroviruses. But bacteria and parasites can also cause fever.

Blood in the stool in children with diarrhea

If blood appears in the child’s stool, it is necessary as soon as possible see a pediatrician. In addition to viral and bacterial infections, more serious conditions such as inflammation of the intestines, polyps, abscesses and other diseases can also be the cause. [5, 6, 7, 89]

Symptoms of fluid loss with diarrhea in young children

The susceptibility of infants and young children to a higher fluid requirement is the result of a higher basal requirement per kilogram of weight and a larger body surface area. Lack of fluid is mainly manifested in young and older children dry lipswhile infants can be additionally observed sunken large fontanelle, which is a fibrous membrane that connects the unfused bones of the skull. The degree of dehydration can be mild, moderate and severe. Other symptoms of dehydration in children include:

  • less frequent urination,
  • restlessness or, on the contrary, noticeable calmness,
  • cold hands and feet
  • dry mucous membranes (tongue, etc.),
  • eyes look sunken,
  • absence of tears [10, 11, 12]

What about diarrhea in children?

Treatment of diarrhea in children consists of liquid replenishment and electrolytes, in order to avoid possible dehydration and subsequent feeding, i.e. re-intake of tolerable foods. You can replace fluid and electrolyte loss in the early stages of the disease rehydration solutions.

Rehydration solutions for children are available on the Czech market from several baby food brands. Never flavor the solution with fruit juice, juice or other sweetened beverages, as they contain too much sugar which can disrupt digestion.

Serve chilled (from the fridge) spoons within 5 to 10 minutes. Once fluids are rehydrated, age-appropriate diet foods can be given to children with diarrhea. You can also give weaker black tea to stop diarrhea in older children.

When to see a doctor?

If rehydration fails, you should find a pediatrician. If it is an infant, or if the child has other problems besides diarrhea, such as vomiting or fever, you should not delay a visit to the pediatrician.

Severe dehydration requires hospitalization and intravenous fluids. Antidiarrheal medicines for children they are generally not recommended. Antibiotics are used only in exceptional cases. However, you can consult your doctor about the suitability of using probiotics or black charcoal. [13, 14, 15, 16]

Diet for diarrhea in children

If you are breastfeeding, you should continue to breastfeed even if you are giving your baby a rehydration solution. Diet for diarrhea in breastfed children up to six months consists of a standard diet giving infant formula, who tolerated it before the onset of diarrhea. Low-lactose milk is given exceptionally, for example after a severe rotavirus infection.

Diet for diarrhea in children who have already had it introduced adverbs, also does not differ from the classic diet in the usual amount. Thus, you can traditionally serve rice, pureed vegetables, some fruit, chicken, etc.

Pro toddlers and older children a mixed diet of potatoes, rice, vegetable puree, chicken, as well as crackers and older pastries is recommended. It is especially important to avoid foods high in fat and disaccharides (simple carbohydrates such as sucrose, maltose and lactose). [17, 18, 19]

Sources: medicalnewstoday.com, healthline.com, benesova-pediatr.cz, nzip.cz, pediatriecenrna.cz, babyonline.cz, epediatr.cz

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