Katy Pediatric Associates

Pediatricians located in Houston, TX

Diarrhea is your body’s solution for getting rid of unwanted germs and bacteria. While most episodes last for a few days to a week, diarrhea can become a concern if it’s affecting your child on a regular basis. Pediatricians Asmaa Fotouh, MD, Hebah Aboul-Fotouh, MD, and Tabassum Imam, MD, at Katy Pediatric Associates in Katy, Texas, understand that you want your child to feel better at the first sign of diarrhea. That’s why they have plenty of treatments to relieve diarrhea. To learn more, call the office or request an appointment online.

Diarrhea Q&A

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is characterized by soft, loose, or watery bowel movements. While most babies and children experience diarrhea from time to time, it can become a serious problem if your child becomes dehydrated or lethargic from a loss of fluids.

What causes diarrhea?

There are many reasons your child may have diarrhea frequently, such as:

Infections - viral or bacterial

Viruses, like the Rotavirus, are the most common reasons for frequent diarrhea in children, but in some cases, your child may have a bacterial illness. If your child’s diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting, cramps, nausea, fever, or a headache, they may have a viral or bacterial infection.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning can be the result of infection by viruses, bacteria, or parasites found in mishandled or contaminated foods. Symptoms can begin as early as hours after ingestion.

Milk allergy

If your baby is allergic to milk, they may produce loose, slimy stools that sometimes contain streaks of blood.

Lactose intolerance

Many people cannot digest the sugar in milk, called lactose. This may lead to loose, watery stools, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.

What are the effects of frequent diarrhea?

Diarrhea is typically harmless in most people, but it can lead to serious complications, such as dehydration. If your child seems dehydrated, lethargic, fussy, or generally uncomfortable, call your pediatrician right away.

It may be difficult to tell if your baby is dehydrated, so watch out for these symptoms of dehydration in infants:

  • Dry eyes
  • Absent tears
  • Dry tongue
  • Weakness
  • No urine in more than eight hours
  • Sunken soft spot

You can also see if your baby is dehydrated by pressing their thumbnail to make it pale. If it takes longer than a few seconds for the nail to appear pink again after letting go, that may mean your baby is dehydrated.

How is diarrhea treated?

Most cases of viral diarrhea resolve in a week. For diarrhea that is found to be the result of a bacteria or parasite, treatment may be required. 

If your child is showing signs of dehydration, the Katy Pediatric Associates team may recommend an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte, to replace lost fluids. These solutions contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium that may hydrate your child better than water alone.

You can help prevent diarrhea caused by viruses and bacteria with good hand hygiene, washing produce well, and making sure meat is cooked to the appropriate internal temperature.

For more tips on how to prevent and treat diarrhea, call the expert pediatric team at Katy Pediatric Associates or request an appointment online.