DEFINITION--Chronic diarrhea (more than 5 watery or loose stools a day) in a
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Colon.
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED--Young children (1-1/2 to 3-1/2 years).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Frequent, loose stools that often contain undigested vegetable fibers or mucus and occur
primarily during the morning.
- Occasional irritation of the anal area caused by frequency of bowel movements.
RISK INCREASES WITH--Family history of intestinal problems.
HOW TO PREVENT--Cannot be prevented at present.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory stool studies.
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Doctor's treatment.
- Home care after diagnosis.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS--Possible psychological fixation on bowel function
because of excessive parental attention to bowel habits.
PROBABLE OUTCOME--Despite the chronic diarrhea, affected children develop
normally and show no signs of malnutrition. The frequent stools have no special
significance. Bowel movements eventually become normal, but it may take 2 to 3 years.
How To Treat
GENERAL MEASURES----Don't blame or criticize your child for this problem. Don't
expect toilet training to be successful as soon as with other children. Treat your child
as normal and try to ignore the problem. Avoid tension. If the child becomes anxious about
diarrhea, the problem may become worse or psychological problems may arise.
MEDICATION--Medicine usually is not necessary for this disorder. Don't give your
child any non-prescription antidiarrheal drugs. Side effects may be harmful.
ACTIVITY--No restrictions. Insist on full normal activity for your child's age
- No special diet, but vitamin and mineral supplements may be helpful.
- The child should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day to replace fluid lost
Call Your Doctor If
- Your child has chronic diarrhea or stools with mucus that haven't been diagnosed.
- There is blood in the stool.
- Your child's rectal temperature is 102F (38.9C) or higher.
- Your child becomes listless, refuses to eat or cries loudly and persistently, even when
- Your child's growth and development are not normal.