Diarrhea - what to ask your doctor - child

  • Definition
    • Diarrhea is when your child has more than three very loose bowel movements in 1 day. For many children, diarrhea is mild and will pass within a few days. For others, it may last longer. It can make your child feel weak and dehydrated. It can also lead to unhealthy weight loss.

      A stomach or intestinal illness can cause diarrhea. It can also be a side effect of medical treatments, such as antibiotics and some cancer treatments.

      Below are questions you may want to ask a health care provider if your child has diarrhea.

  • Alternative Names
    • What to ask your doctor about diarrhea - child; Loose stools - what to ask your doctor - child

  • Questions
    • FOODS

      • What foods can make my child's diarrhea worse? How should I prepare the foods for my child?
      • If my child is still breastfeeding or bottle feeding, do I need to stop? Should I water down my child's formula?
      • Can I feed my child milk, cheese, or yogurt? Can I give my child any dairy foods?
      • What type of bread, crackers, or rice is best for my child?
      • Can I feed my child any sweets? Is artificial sugar OK?
      • Do I need to worry about my child getting enough salt and potassium?
      • Which fruits and vegetables are best for my child? How should I prepare them?
      • Are there foods my child can eat to prevent too much weight loss?


      • How much water or liquid should my child drink during the day? How can I tell when my child is not drinking enough?
      • If my child will not drink, what are other ways to get my child enough fluids?
      • Can my child drink anything with caffeine, such as coffee or tea?
      • Can my child drink fruit juices or carbonated drinks?


      • Is it safe to give my child medicines from the store that may help slow the diarrhea down?
      • Do any of the medicines, vitamins, herbs, or supplements my child is taking cause diarrhea?
      • Are there medicines I should stop giving my child?


      • Does having diarrhea mean my child has a more serious medical problem?
      • When should I call the provider?
  • References
    • Bhutta BA. Acute gastsroenteritis in Children. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 340.

      Schiller LR, Sellin JH. Diarrhea In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 16.