Solutions for chronic diarrhea in kids
Diarrhea is characterized by an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or when bowel movements are more loose and watery than they normally are. Bouts of acute diarrhea, a common problem in kids, generally run their course within a day or two and usually don’t require medical treatment. Chronic diarrhea, however, lasts for at least 4 weeks. Loose, watery stools are passed 3 to 4 times per day.
Baby and toddler diarrhea is most commonly the result of changes in diet. Too much juice, fruit, and even milk are common culprits because the digestive systems of babies and toddlers are not fully developed and may not be able to tolerate the increase. Sugary foods may also present a problem because they may cause malabsorption in a child’s digestive tract.
Dehydration can become a real issue when diarrhea becomes chronic. Most physicians are hesitant to prescribe anti-diarrheal medication for young children, but will recommend giving an oral rehydration solution and starting your child on the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce, and dry toast to “calm down” the irritated digestive tract.
Other medicines that may be prescribed are antibiotics for a possible bacterial infection or an anti-parasitic for a possible parasite infection.
Days turn into weeks
Some of the other underlying issues of chronic diarrhea in kids are:
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Digestive tract infections
- Functional GI disorders (eg. malabsorption)
- Celiac disease
Your child’s physician may ask you to start keeping a food diary and a diary of his or her bowel movements to try and determine if a food allergy or intolerance is the issue. Other tests that may be recommended to determine the cause of your child’s chronic diarrhea include stool and blood tests, hydrogen breath and fasting tests, and an endoscopy.
A solution you can count on
Eating, diet, and nutrition all play a big role in helping to treat chronic diarrhea in children. Making changes to your child’s diet may help to manage the symptoms and reduce or stop his or her chronic diarrhea. Encouraging your toddler and preschooler to develop good, healthy eating habits is very important. A diet of lean proteins, legumes, whole grains, dairy, and fresh vegetables and fruits is optimal for healthy growth and development.
Increasing the amount of fiber that your child eats may help to improve the symptoms of chronic diarrhea. Getting an adequate amount of fiber is important because it keeps the stomach and digestive system working properly which helps to promote healthy growth and prevent digestive issues.
One option to increase the amount of fiber that your child is getting is to add a natural fiber supplement to his or her daily routine. Yummy Fiber is a safe fiber supplement for toddlers in a liquid form that can be added to any food or drink. One tablespoon provides seven grams of fiber, and kids like the mild fruit flavor. Yummy Fiber also contains FOS prebiotics and is gluten- and grit-free.