DIARRHEA, CHRONIC, NON-SPECIFIC,OF CHILDHOOD
DIARRHEA, CHRONIC, NON-SPECIFIC, OF CHILDHOOD
DESCRIPTIONChronic, non-specific diarrhea of childhood means that a healthy child is having more than 5 watery or loose stools a day. Only the colon is involved. This condition usually affects young children (1 to 3-1/2 years).
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Self-care after diagnosis.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFrequent, loose stools that often contain undigested vegetable fibers or mucus and occur primarily during the morning.
Occasional irritation of the child's anal area caused by frequency of bowel movements.
Family history of intestinal problems.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory stool studies.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSPossible psychological fixation on bowel function because of excessive parental attention to the child's bowel habits.
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.
HOME CAREDon'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.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for this disorder. Don't give your child any non-prescription anti-diarrheal drugs. Side effects may be harmful.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
No restrictions. Encourage full participation in all activities normal for your child's age group.
DIET & FLUIDSNo 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 in stools.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has chronic diarrhea or stools with mucus that haven't been diagnosed.
There is blood in the child's 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 picked up.
Your child's growth and development are not normal.