Persistent Diarrhea in Children


Diarrhea in children is pretty common. But if it lasts for more than 2 weeks, it is considered as persistent or chronic diarrhea.

Causes of Diarrhea in Kids

Diarrhea is a type of stomach infection caused by virus, bacteria or parasite. A common virus that causes diarrhea in kids is rotavirus. Most of the babies these days are fans of soda drinks and other sugary beverages. When these sweet beverages overwhelm the gastrointestinal system, they also result in diarrhea.  

But what about kids who do not indulge in too much of such drinks? The reason for diarrhea is not limited to these drinks. Allergies, side effect of any antibiotics, any other illness, and contaminated food can also lead to diarrhea. 

Following are the reasons that lead to chronic diarrhea in children:

  1. Infection of the digestive tract
  2. Celiac disease
  3. Gastrointestinal disorder
  4. Food allergy or lactose, fructose or sucrose intolerance
  5. Inflammatory bowel disease
  6. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

Symptoms of Persistent or Chronic Diarrhea

The main symptom of chronic diarrhea is loose and watery stools more than 3 times a day for 4 weeks. This may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  1. Blood in stools
  2. Fever
  3. Vomiting
  4. Cramps in the abdomen
  5. Dehydration
  6. Loss of control of bowel movement
  7. Mal-absorption of food
  8. Poor appetite
  9. Lethargic attitude

Treatment for Chronic Diarrhea

Usually diarrhea does not need any over-the-counter medications. Proper care at home can treat diarrhea. But chronic diarrhea can be dangerous if medical help is not taken at right time. Treatment of chronic or persistent diarrhea depends on its causes. Following are the causes and their treatments usually followed by the doctor:

  1. Infection of the digestive tract – Doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat the infection. Changes in child’s diet are recommended.
  1. Gastrointestinal disorder – Consumption of sugary beverages are limited, high-fiber food is recommended.
  1. Allergy or intolerance – Avoid food that triggers the allergy or intolerance. Nutritional supplements are prescribed.
  1. Celiac disease – Food that contains gluten is not recommended.
  1. Inflammatory bowel disease – Changes in the diet of the child, medicines, and even surgery is required in some cases.

Prevention of Chronic Diarrhea

It is always better to take precautions than to treat the illness. Following are the ways to prevent chronic diarrhea:

  1. Maintain hygiene.
  2. Avoid storage of food outside refrigerator.
  3. Avoid eating stale meat products.
  4. Get your child vaccinated for rotavirus.
  5. Keep your child well hydrated.

Follow these precautionary measures and safeguard your baby from the hazards of chronic diarrhea.


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