Every child has different bowel habits. Some children go more frequently than others, and some children typically have softer stools than others.
A lot depends on your child’s diet and his digestive system. When your child has diarrhea, there will be a change in his normal bowel habits, either with increased frequency, or the consistency of the stools will be more watery and less formed than normal.
Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of things. Sometimes a change in your child’s diet will cause diarrhea, particularly if your child has consumed a large amount of fruit or juice.
Diarrhea that results from a dietary change is usually not serious and often clears up on its own without treatment.
Diarrhea can be caused by a virus, bacteria or even a parasitic infection as Giardia. More common reasons for diarrhea are the stomach flu or gastroenteritis, and rotavirus. Most cases of diarrhea are caused by a virus.
When your child has diarrhea, his body is cleaning out his digestive track to eliminate whatever is causing the problem. Although diarrhea is uncomfortable, it is usually not dangerous unless your child is becoming dehydrated.
Any time your child has bloody diarrhea, seems dehydrated, or is losing weight, contact your doctor immediately.
To prevent dehydration, offer your child liquids frequently, water, or milk if your child can tolerate it. There are special beverages designed to help children maintain electrolyte balance, and children often will eat popsicles.
Keep track of how much your child is drinking, and how frequently she is urinating. Signs of dehydration include infrequent urination (or wet diapers), lethargy, chapped lips, little saliva (the mouth may feel sticky), an unusual amount of fussiness, and dry, sunken in appearing eyes. If you suspect your child may be dehydrated, contact your doctor.