Baby Diarrhea: Causes, Effects and Treatment

One of the common baby diseases is baby diarrhea that occurs due to imbalance of elecrolytes in the body. This can be caused due to reasons like infections and food allergy. This post explains the causes, effects and treatment of baby diarrhea.

Infant diseases can be a headache for parents as they are difficult to recognize. One of the most common baby diseases is baby diarrhea that results in an imbalance in the amount of electrolytes in the body. The imbalance can further result in serious conditions like dehydration. In order to spot the diarrhea in early stage, you should be aware about the signs and symptoms of this disease. For instance, the stool of the baby is loose in comparison to that of adult. However, if the stool of you baby becomes more watery all of sudden, it might be an indication of diarrhea. This post explains in detail the causes, effects and treatment of toddler diarrhea.

Causes of Baby Diarrhea

Diarrhea manifests in two forms in babies-chronic and acute. Acute diarrhea is comparatively more common in infants. The causes of toddler diarrhea are as follows:

  1. Infections: Food poisoning is a common cause and it occurs due to intake of contaminated food. The chances of food poisoning are negligible in breastfed baby as the milk of the mother is free from any germs. However, as the parents start giving solid food to their baby, the chances of food poisoning increases. Another common cause of baby diarrhea is gastrointestinal infection. Different viruses, bacteria and parasites are responsible for causing these infections further resulting in diarrhea. For instance, the parasite Giardia Lambia spreads through contaminated drinking water and is a common reason behind infant diarrhea. The urinary tract infections may also be responsible for infant diarrhea. The recognition of urinary infections in babies is not that easy as the characteristic symptoms are absent. On the other hand, general symptoms like irritability and fever accompany these infections.

  2. Food/Milk Allergy: It is a common observation that some infants are not able to digest the different nutrients present in milk. This is more probable in babies having weak immune system. This milk allergy or intolerance is also capable of causing baby diarrhea. Especially the intolerance to protein present in milk is more dangerous. It cause chronic diarrhea associated with big fluctuations in the body weight of baby. The diarrhea caused due to milk tolerance is not noticed in those children who are breastfed. This is because of the fact that the nutrients present in breast milk are easily digestible by the baby and thus it does not cause any gastric complications.

  3. Drugs: Some drugs are capable of causing diarrhea in children. These include antibiotics, laxatives and antacids. The mechanism behind this is simple; the antibiotics destroy the useful bacteria from the intestine of the baby. This affects the digestion in the baby and results in problems like vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

  4. Medical Condition: Any particular medical condition or disease may result in diarrhea. One of the best ways to recognize this is to keep an eye on the weight change in your baby. If your baby is gaining weight normally and gradually, you need not worry about anything. On the other hand, if you notice unusual weight loss in your baby, you should immediately contact a doctor.

  5. Diapers: A new rare cause of diarrhea in some babies is diaper rash.

  6. Teething: In some babies, teething has also been associated with diarrhea but the chances are rare.

Effects of Baby Diarrhea

The most common effect of baby diarrhea is dehydration. Dehydration refers to a medical condition characterized by the decrease of electrolytes in the body. The signs of dehydration are easy to pick and include less urination, dry mouth, irritation due to thirst and absence of tears when crying. If you notice any of these symptoms, you must contact a baby doctor instantly. Blood or pus can be observed in stools of babies suffering from this disease. Again, it can also result in high fever and vomiting.

Prevention of Baby Diarrhea

The most important thing to consider is the hygiene. You should wash your hands properly before feeding the baby or even handling him. You should also wash the formula bottle regularly with warm water. Similarly, you should keep the toys of your baby clean and free from any germs. A simple approach to do so is to keep them in sunlight when your baby is not playing with them. Now the next thing to take care is to avoid the baby getting infected with germs. This can be achieved by avoiding going to crowded places with the baby, keeping his room and bed clean and keeping him away from diseased people.

If the doctor has mentioned that diarrhea occurred due to food or milk intolerance, you should start breastfeeding your child. The breastffeding women should also be careful about their own diet and avoid food items with high protein content. You should try to avoid solid foods as much as possible and keep extra caution regarding its hygiene. Similarly the diarrhea caused due to medications can also be controlled by limiting the use of medications. For instance, the antibiotics should be stopped at once after consulting the doctor. Similarly, you need to discontinue medications containing ethanol or laxatives as per the advice of the doctor. As soon as you notice the signs of any infection or disease, you should contact a doctor. In case the dehydration is severe, the baby is provided intravenous fluids in the hospital.

Treatment of Baby Diarrhea

If the infant diarrhea is not much severe, the doctor prescribes oral rehydration solution. One of the commonly used ORS solutions is Pedialyte which is required to be administered to the diseases baby every 3-4 hours. These solutions contain all the necessary electrolytes that check the dehydration and restore normal health condition. In case, the child has started taking solid food, the doctor may suggest giving starch food till the condition of baby becomes normal. The use of milk products and food items with protein and fibers should be discontinued in babies suffering from diarrhea.

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