Diarrhoea in toddlers

Diarrhoea is a common condition in children, characterised by the frequent passage of loose or liquid stools and typically resolves within five to seven days.1 As well as frequent loose stools, your toddler may also experience bloating and a sense of urgency about having to go to the toilet.2

What causes diarrhoea in toddlers?

Diarrhoea in toddlers may be caused by a range of factors such as tummy bugs, food allergies as well as certain medications such as antibiotics.1

However, if you notice your toddler has had more than six or more episodes of diarrhoea in the last 24 hours or has vomiting and diarrhoea at the same time, you should seek advice from your healthcare professional.2

Sometimes, otherwise healthy toddlers may also experience persistent diarrhoea and this is referred to as “toddler diarrhoea”.3 Children with toddler diarrhoea may pass three or more watery loose stools a day, which are typically paler and more smelly than usual, and this may be accompanied by mild stomach pain and spells of constipation.3 Although the exact cause of toddler diarrhoea is unknown, it is important to ask your healthcare professional for advice.3

References

  1. NHS Choices, 2013: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Treatment.aspx Accessed 18th February 2014.
  2. NHS Choices, 2012: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Symptoms.aspx Accessed 18th February 2014.
  3. Patient.co.uk, 2012: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/toddlers-diarrhoea Accessed 18th February 2014.

How to manage your toddler's diarrhoea?

The key to managing diarrhoea caused by factors such as tummy bugs and certain medications is to make sure they drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.1 A good way to do this, is to encourage small, frequent sips of water and remember a small amount of fluid is better than none. Fruit juices and squashes should be limited as they can make the diarrhoea worse.1 Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration such as irritability or drowsiness or passing urine infrequently. If you notice any of these signs contact your healthcare professional immediately.1

In the case of toddler diarrhoea, your healthcare professional may be able to advise you on ways in which you can make sure your toddler’s eating and drinking habits do not make their symptoms worse.2

References

  1. NHS Choices, 2013: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Treatment.aspx Accessed 18th February 2014.
  2. Patient.co.uk, 2012: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/toddlers-diarrhoea Accessed 18th February 2014.

Making the most of your appointment

If your toddler continues to experience diarrhoea, you should speak to their healthcare professional.1 To determine the cause of your child’s diarrhoea, the healthcare professional will want to know as much as they can about your child’s symptoms and medical history. To help get the most out of your appointment, try to provide answers to the following questions:

    • How long has your child had diarrhoea?
    • Does their diarrhoea come and go or is it continuous?
    • Do certain foods and situations seem to make symptoms worse or better? If so, what?
    • Do their stools look to be bloody, oily, fatty, or watery?
    • Does your child have any other symptoms? What are they and how long have they had them?
    • Have you recently been abroad on holiday?
    • Is your child taking any medications?

For more information, please visit our section on Tummy Troubles.

Reference

  1. Boots Wed MD, 2010: http://www.webmd.com/children/tc/diarrhea-age-11-and-younger-preparing-for-your-appointment Accessed 18th February 2014.

References

  1. NHS Choices, 2012: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Treatment.aspx Accessed 18th February 2014.
  2. BootsWedMD,2014: http://www.webmd.boots.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhoea?page=2 Accessed 18th February 2014.

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RXANI130244g Date of preparation: February 2014