Diarrhea | Symptoms and Causes

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Contact the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

What are the symptoms of diarrhea?

The following are the most common symptoms of diarrhea. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Severe or chronic diarrhea may indicate a serious disease, making it important to consult your child's health care provider if any or all of the following symptoms persist:

  • cramping
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • urgent need to use the restroom
  • fever
  • bloody stools
  • dehydration
  • incontinence

The symptoms of diarrhea may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.

What are the causes of diarrhea in children?

Diarrhea in children may be caused by a number of conditions, including the following:

  • bacterial infection
  • viral infection
  • food intolerances or allergies
  • parasites
  • reaction to medications
  • intestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • functional bowel disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • result of surgery on the stomach or gallbladder

Many people suffer "traveler's diarrhea" caused by a bacterial infection or a parasite, or even food poisoning.

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