Tag Archive | "diarrhea"

Preventing Dehydration in Children

The children’s immune system is still very weak that is why bacteria and viruses can invade their young bodies and cause them to have diseases. Their bodies’ defenses are still developing that is why they are so much prone to get sick from time to time. Often children are susceptible to have diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

The conditions mentioned above are easy to manage but sometimes it can lead to complications especially when parents fail to see the doctor for immediate medical attention. One of the most common complications that those diseases lead to is dehydration. Dehydration is defined as insufficient amount of fluids inside the body. Aside from diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, children can be dehydrated too when they are exposed under the heat of the sun for long hours without drinking water.

As parents it is very important for you to be watchful for the signs of dehydration. It is highly fatal and when left unmanaged, it can lead to death. Signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mucous membranes, crying with no tears, sunken eyes, dizziness, and the child did not urinate for the last ten twelve hours. When these symptoms are present in your child, make sure that you see your healthcare provider the soonest time before things get worst.

Just like on any condition, prevention will always be better than cure and that goes the same with dehydration. When your child has fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and been exposed to the extreme heat of the sun, here are some of the ways on how to prevent dehydration:

  • When your child loves to play outdoors, arrange the time on when he is going out. The sun is most harmful at 10 am to 4 pm so it would be best to have him exposed to the sun earlier or later than those times.
  • When outdoors, always have energy drinks for your child to drink. Energy drinks contain electrolytes that can replace what was lost on your child’s body because of sweating. If you do not have energy drinks, regular water will do.
  • When your child is sick, make sure that you continuously hydrate your child especially when fever, diarrhea, and vomiting are present. You can let him drink oral hydration solutions or drink soups to prevent dehydration.
  • When your child is not able to drink due to extreme vomiting, offer ice chips for him to chew. This will help replace all the fluids lost because of vomiting.

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Excessive Thirst in Children

Children are very active individuals and it seems like play is the number one word in their dictionaries. From the moment they are awake until the time that they retire at night; their minds will wander on what activities to enjoy again. Play will always be part of their childhood and it is thru playing that great friendships are formed be it with their siblings or other people from the neighborhood.

When our children play especially during a hot summer’s day, it is normal for our children to drink frequently than the usual. Drinking water and juices are good ways to replenish all that is lost during sweating from too much play. In fact parents would always tell their children to drink water so that they will not get dehydrated.

Parents would be happy if their children ask for water especially during playtime. For us it means a good thing because the child follows what you have said and that it to drink water. But you should be mindful on how much water your child drinks and how excessive his thirsts are. There are certain diseases that affect children and one of its symptoms is frequent need for liquids.

Here are some of the conditions that are related in excessive thirst in children:


This is one of the most common reasons why a child exhibit too much thirsts. A child can be dehydrated when he is having bouts of watery stools, fever, and too much sweating from play. Your child can also be dehydrated when outdoors and exposed to too much heat of the sun. Aside from excessive thirst, your child may exhibit dry and pale lips, decreased urine output, and decreased level of consciousness when he is dehydrated. When this happens, make sure that you offer liquids to the child and get him to the nearest hospital for urgent medical attention.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus affects a child when his kidney is not able to hold on water because of the dysfunction of the Anti Diuretic Hormone. Those affected with the condition show symptoms like frequent urination and extreme thirsts.

Diabetes Mellitus

The condition happens when there are high blood sugar levels in the body. Although this rarely happens in children because it is more of an adult disease, but because there are many children who are obese right now making the incidence of children having diabetes mellitus higher as compared as before. Just like in adults, children who have diabetes mellitus exude symptoms like extreme hunger, frequent urination, and great thirstiness.

Juvenile Diabetes

This type of diabetes is diagnosed for children only. The disease happens when the body produces minimal or no insulin at all which in turn increases the blood sugar levels of the body. This is an auto immune disorder and the child needs to have insulin therapy all his life to have well functioning body organs. The condition is highly manageable as long as the parents follow strict compliance recommended by the doctor. Just like diabetes mellitus, juvenile diabetes patients are often hungry, urinate frequently, and display intense thirst most of the time.

Parents should be aware on what is normal and not on a child’s thirst. In this way you will be able to know what is normal and when to call a doctor for the child to be evaluated and treated.

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Managing Lactose Intolerance in Children

Children drinking milk is a common sight to behold but what if a child cannot digest milk properly? Will she be able to replace the nutrients that kids normally get in drinking milk? Most parents of children with lactose intolerance share the same concerns regarding their child’s peculiar condition. Lactose intolerance occurs when our digestive system cannot digest lactose properly. Lactose is present in most dairy products like milk, cheese, ice cream and other mild based foods.

What is the cause of lactose intolerance?

The normal digestive system has an enzyme called lactase present in the small intestines. This enzyme plays a role in breaking down lactose in milk to simple sugars that are easily digested. In children who are lactose intolerant, this enzyme is absent which makes it hard for the small intestines to digest lactose found in milk and other milk products.

The most common symptom of lactose intolerance is stomachache after ingesting milk and other milk products. Some children feel bloated, experience flatulence and diarrhea. It gives a child an uncomfortable feeling of stomach upset. How can parents tell if their child is lactose intolerant? Try to avoid milk and other milk products and see if your child’s digestive problems will go away then try giving your kid a glass of milk after 2 weeks of no milk diet. If symptoms of lactose intolerance become present it is likely that your child is suffering from one. If you want to be sure you can take your child to a doctor and the doctor will do a breath exam to test for presence of hydrogen. Hydrogen traces in the mouth after ingestion of milk signifies fermentation that indicates lactose intolerance.

How to treat lactose intolerance in children?

There is no treatment for lactose intolerance other than avoiding ingestion of milk and other milk products that causes the condition. It may be difficult at first for your child to adjust in avoiding eating milk and other dairy products like ice cream, sundaes, and cakes. As a parent you’ll need to think of ways on how to supply your child with foods that are fun to eat as substitute to milk and dairy products with the equivalent nutrients milk can offer. Teach your kids on what foods to avoid especially when you are not around to monitor what he eats like food served in school. Soy milk is a good substitute for cow’s milk and margarine without milk can be a substitute for butter. Check with your doctor to avail of other alternative foods your child can try. There are also some enzyme drops available to add to lactose containing products that will make it easier to digest when ingested by a lactose intolerant individual. Encourage your child to eat other sources of calcium like green leafy vegetables, almonds, orange juice and tofu to give their body the needed amount of calcium for stronger bones and a healthy immune system. With time your child will learn to cope and adjust his diet to manage his being lactose intolerant.

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Coping with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When a child is put under a lot of stress or is put in a situation where he feels nervous or embarrassed he can develop a condition that causes severe diarrhea called Irritable bowel syndrome. Sometimes called as “spastic colon” or “nervous stomach”, this disorder causes gas, cramps, bloating and alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea. It is not regarded as a serious health threat but it is very uncomfortable to have the disease.

Stress, physical trauma and some infections can trigger the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. The specific cause of the disorder is still unknown but research shows a linkage in a child’s genes. Studies shows that children with IBS are prone to physical discomfort and pain. Triggers are often found in foods containing milk, caffeine, chocolate and spicy foods.

What are the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome?

  • Pain and discomfort that can be relieved by bowel movement
  • Pain and discomfort in experiencing constipation as stools become hard
  • Cramps brought by excessive diarrhea

Diagnosing IBS is based on symptoms experienced for a period of three months as there is no diagnostic test for IBS. Medical history will often reveal a family member experiencing the same disorder. Most of the time physical check up to the doctor can be embarrassing as doctors often asks a lot of embarrassing questions. Make your child at ease by being with him all the time and reassuring him that the doctor normally ask this questions.

Treating irritable bowel syndrome is based on managing the disorder as there is no cure for it. Treatment is geared towards reducing the symptoms.

  • Avoid eating large meals instead practice small frequent feedings. Avoid triggers like spicy and greasy foods. Stay away from caffeine and chocolates.
  • If your child is experiencing a lot of stress and you feel this is causing the disorder it may be good to talk with your child and listen to what is going on with him. Offer help on how to ease pressure from school, friends and everyday stresses that contributes to the development of the disorder.
  • Engage your child into regular exercise. Constant physical activity promotes healthy bowel movement and is also considered as a form of relaxation or stress release. If you suspect that your child is having an emotional crisis and might be depressed take him to a psychiatrist for further evaluation.
  • Upon doctor’s physical examination the child may be prescribed with medications that can help ease out the discomfort of IBS. Laxatives may be advised for episodes of constipation and muscle relaxants for intense motility and cramps. Consult with your doctor before taking any over the counter preparations.
  • Teach your child relaxing activities such as painting, music therapy, hypnosis, meditation and breathing exercises to help cope with the stress of irritable bowel syndrome.

IBS is not a serious health condition but it can greatly affect a child’s way of life. Maintaining an open communication with your child helps in managing the disorder and coping with it making it possible for your child to still experience an active and normal lifestyle.

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Baby Diarrhea: When to Call Your Doctor

Undeniably, one of the most common illnesses suffered by babies these days has something to do with gastrointestinal problems particularly diarrhea. Sadly, diarrhea is difficult to assess especially for babies who usually poop especially after feeding and of course their stools are usually soft. Additionally, your baby’s stool is also dependent on what he has ingested so typically, it is really difficult to tell if your baby is indeed suffering from diarrhea.

Nonetheless, as you become more attentive, you will note that diarrhea for babies is a sudden deviation from what you normally see and probably feel. If the bowel movements have suddenly changed; specifically, if you change diapers more than the usual, then your baby may be suffering from diarrhea.

Diarrhea is caused by a host of factors and it is important for the carers to be able to identify the possible cause of the condition. Bacteria, virus and even parasites can cause baby diarrhea. Apart from the three, it can also be a result of taking medicines particularly antibiotics, poisoning, allergic reaction, and food intolerance. It is crucial to be able to remember pertinent information that have happened before the diarrhea has occurred because if something goes wrong that which necessitates careful history taking, the triggering reason will be easily identified making treatment speedier and more accurate.

Additionally, keep in mind that some cases of diarrhea do not need hospitalization but most of the cases should really be checked by your pediatrician. For instance, the sometimes harmless but eventually deadly influenza can manifest a symptom like diarrhea. If diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting and the evidence in plain sight is seen, then, a 911 call should be done. The call also holds true for cases of food allergy. The allergy which commonly results from milk protein is usually accompanied by breathing problems and in very severe cases, rashes all over the body with difficulty of breathing.

Generally, parents’ instincts really work out during these trying times but as reminders, you should call your doctor right away if your baby suffers from diarrhea and high fever at the same time. Make that visit especially if your baby is six months or less.

Be aware that hydration is very important; breastfeeding can actually suffice the replenishment needed by your baby but if your precious one already exhibits dehydration signs like a very diaper to no diaper at all, sunken eyes, less to no tears at all when crying and a springy skin, you should your doctor immediately or go to the nearest hospital. Also check if your baby has not slept like the usual, even a tinge of blood present in the stool or vomit and more importantly, a sunken soft spot on the top of the head. With these three signs, your doctor will readily assess and recommend hydration measures.

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All About Diarrhea and Your Kids

Diarrhea is one of the most common conditions suffered by children nowadays. This condition is characterized by having watery stools and occurs for 3 or more instances a day, more than a normal person’s regular bowel movement. Even if there are many over the counter drugs available out there, proper attention and care must be exercised in order to make sure that it is treated the right way. It has to be noted also that diarrhea is the second most common cause of death for infants, and one of the leading cause of deaths in developing countries worldwide.

Types of Diarrhea

1. Secretory – this type of diarrhea is a condition wherein the body has an increase in the secretion of chloride ions. The secretion of intestinal fluids in this kind of diarrhea is the same as that of the plasma, which continues even if the intake of food is limited or there is no intake at all. The most common type of treatment administered to children suffering from this type of diarrhea is oral rehydration salts.   

 2. Osmotic - osmotic diarrhea is a condition which occurs when excessive amounts of water is absorbed by stool. One of the common causes of this type of diarrhea is indigestion, wherein the nutrients of the food children eat are left inside the lumen, which in turn pulls in water. This condition can also be caused by excessive intakes of Vitamin C. Children who are lactose intolerant are also prone to osmotic diarrhea for their body will have a hard time absorbing all the lactose after taking too much dairy products.

3. Exudative – this type of diarrhea is characterized by the presence of pus and blood in the stool. It occurs when the digestive system of a child is infected by food poisoning and other diseases like ulcerative colitis and E. coli.  

 4. Motility-related this is the most common type of diarrhea suffered by children and adults alike. Motility-related diarrhea or hypermotility happens when food quickly moves inside the intestines, which results to the lack of time of the body to absorb all the water and nutrients carried by those foods. The most common treatment for this type of diarrhea is loperamide.  


Treatment of Diarrhea

In most cases, diarrhea can be treated at home with over the counter drugs. But in some cases, proper monitoring is needed. Below are some of the instances wherein a parent should be very observant and should consider seeking the help of a medical professional:

  1. When infants have diarrhea (in cases of young children, if they have severe or moderate diarrhea).
  2. When there is blood on the stool.
  3. When diarrhea persists for more than a couple of days.
  4. When diarrhea is associated with fever, abdominal pains and sudden loss of weight.

In a lot of diarrhea cases, the replacement of salts and fluids which were lost during the term of the condition is the most common treatment. This type of treatment is usually done orally (through oral rehydration therapy). But in cases wherein the diarrhea is severe, intravenous administration of oral rehydration salts is needed.

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