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Diarrhea

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is defined either as watery stool or increased frequency (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:

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea in children may be caused by a number of conditions, including the following:

What are the symptoms of diarrhea?

The following are the most common symptoms for 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.

Warning signs of severe diarrhea:

You should call your pediatrician if your child is less than 6 months of age or presents any of the following symptoms:

How is diarrhea diagnosed?

In addition to a complete physical examination and laboratory tests for blood and urine, the child's physician may request:

Treatment for diarrhea:

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.

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