What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea in simple terms may be called as Body’s defence to get rid of germs and bacterias. Diarrhea is a disease which is characterised by suffering of your body from loose or watery stools and a frequent need to have a bowel movement. This is a common disease which lasts for a few days and then disappears even if you don’t take any specific treatment . But we should not ignore the diarrhea as it may get worse and affect you badly. Diarrhea can be classified into further two types:

  1. Acute
  2. Chronic

Acute Diarrhea: When your body suffers from loose and watery stools frequently and this condition lasts for 1-2 days only then this may be called as Acute Diarrhea. Acute Diarrhea is a result of viral or bacterial infection. We may suffer from this by consuming unhygienic or contaminated food and water. The body itself recovers from Acute Diarrhea after 2-3 Days. Acute Diarrhea is a common disease across the globe.

Chronic Diarrhea: Chronic Diarrhea is much more severe than Acute Diarrhea though the symptoms are almost the same but the condition lasts for at least four weeks. Chronic Diarrhea affects the intestinal functions which takes time to recover. Proper medication and Doctor Consultation is must in the case of Chronic Diarrhea.

Causes of Diarrhea in Children:
There may be multiple causes of diarrhea, which are following:

  • Bacterial Infection
  • Viral Infection
  • Food Intolerance 
  • Food Allergies
  • Consumption of Unhygienic or Contaminated Food and Water
  • Medicinal Allergies
  • Intestinal Inflammation
  • Surgery performed over stomach
  • Gallbladder Removal

In most of the cases children usually suffer from Diarrhea while traveling by consuming such food which is not safe from bacteria or viruses.

Symptoms of Diarrhea in Children:
Symptoms of diarrhea may vary in each child as per the response of their respective immune system.

Few common symptoms of Diarrhea are following :

  • Cramping
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swelling / Inflammation
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Frequent Motions
  • Loss of body fluid
  • Bloody Stools
  • Fever

These symptoms may not specifically look like diarrhea but make sure that your child undergoes proper diagnosis after consultation with your pediatrics. Because severe diarrhea may lead to other health problems as well.

Diagnosis Process for Diarrhea:

  • A small stool sample of your child is collected to figure out if there is presence of any parasite or bacteria present in the stool.
  • Stool evaluation is also done from the sample to check if there are also traces of blood along with the fat.
  • Blood Tests to rule out any other specific disease.
  • Tests to check Medicinal or Food Allergies
  • A sigmoidoscopy. This test lets the healthcare provider check the inside of part of your child’s large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. It uses a short, flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope). The tube is put into your child’s intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside.

Treatment of Diarrhea : Treatment of diarrhea is subjected to your child’s primary symptoms and conditions.Your Child’s age , growth and general health also plays a crucial role in the treatment.The first step towards the treatment is to stop Dehydration and loss of body fluids.Children are usually prescribes to take antibiotics and they are advised to maximise the fluid intake.

In case of dehydration, one must follow some of the primary precautions as mentioned here :

  • Maximise the intake of glucose and electrolyte solution based drinks. These fluids will boost the process of re-hydration.
  •  Avoid caffeinated drinks or carbonated beverages like soda , juices .
  • Avoid giving simple water to your child
  • Keep breastfeeding your baby. Breastfed babies often have less diarrhea.

Complications during Diarrhea :

If your child is suffering from diarrhea, he may initially face dehydration which will lead to the loss of body fluids. A mild dehydration gets covered within two to three days but if it gets severe, it may lead to other diseases as well.Moderate or severe dehydration puts stress on the heart and lungs. In the worst cases it can lead to shock, which is life-threatening.

Preventive measures :

  • Proper hygiene precautions should be taken.
  • Washing hands with soap or hand wash before consuming anything.
  • When you travel, make sure anything your child eats and drinks is safe and hygienically prepared.
  • Drinking only purified water and saying a big NO to tap water.
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk
  • Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables without washing them.
  • Avoid foods rich in heavy fats and avoid dairy products , Meats as well.

Symptoms that indicate towards a medical help:

  • Pain in Abdomen
  • Traces of Blood in Stool
  • Frequent motions / vomitings
  • High fever
  • Dry and Sticky Mouth
  • Weight Loss
  • If your Child Urinates lesser than he does on average.
  • Extreme thirst
  • No tears when crying
  • Sunken soft spot

Diarrhea is the most common disease across the globe so being a Parent you must not panic and you need to take very good care of your child. Diarrhea can be easily treated with some basic primary measures but if it gets worse you must not delay visiting your Pediatrician because in some of the cases , a proper consultation becomes a must thing to follow up. A rotavirus vaccine can prevent diarrhea caused by rotaviruses. Ask your child’s healthcare provider which vaccines are right for your child. You must be aware about the symptoms to diagnose the diarrhea and if things seem to get out of hands just contact your pediatrician and start the treatment process so that your child recovers faster and sooner.