Occasional diarrhea happens to everyone and is one of the most common medical complaints. Diarrhea in children and adults are quite different, so if your child has diarrhea, please follow your pediatrician’s advice.

Diarrhea is defined as loose, watery stool that occurs with an increased frequency. It may be accompanied by stomach pain or cramping and, depending on the cause, fever and vomiting. Most diarrhea is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Most people are familiar with the common stomach bug that makes the rounds in schools, workplaces, and homes. While enduring the course of diarrhea is certainly unpleasant, it will usually resolve itself without intervention. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. If you feel like eating, nutritionists recommend foods high in soluble fiber like, bananas and rice.

Chronic diarrhea is normally a symptom rather than the illness. For example, IBS, IBD, and microscopic colitis all list diarrhea as a symptom. If you have diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of days or recurs frequently, you should seek medical treatment with a gastroenterologist. You will need to provide a history of the onset and progression of your symptoms. The doctor will perform a physical exam, and depending on your individual situation, there may be a need for additional testing.  

If you notice blood in your stool, always seek medical treatment. Blood in your stool should never be ignored.