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From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Celiac Disease Special Needs Factsheet
- Celiac Disease
- Soy Allergy
- Shellfish Allergy
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- A to Z: Colitis
- Food Allergies
- Gastrostomy Tube (G-Tube)
- Gastroesophageal Reflux
- First Aid: Diarrhea
- Digestive System
- Egg Allergy
- Soiling (Encopresis)
- A to Z: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- A to Z: Gastroenteritis
- A to Z: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- A to Z: Intussusception
- A to Z: Intestinal Malabsorption
- First Aid: Constipation
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis
- Milk Allergy in Infants
- Wheat Allergy
- Ultrasound: Abdomen
- First Aid: Stomachaches
- X-Ray Exam: Abdomen
- X-Ray Exam: Upper Gastrointestinal Tract (Upper GI)
- A to Z: Constipation
- A to Z Symptoms: Diarrhea
- A to Z Symptoms: Vomiting
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease Special Needs Factsheet
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Special Needs Factsheet
- Lactose Intolerance
- Lactose Intolerance Special Needs Factsheet
- Nut and Peanut Allergy
Trusted External Resources
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
- American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
- American Liver Foundation
- American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders
- Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
- The Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) Foundation
- The International Gastrointestinal Eosinophil Researchers (TIGER)
- North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN)
A to Z Symptoms: Diarrhea
A to Z Symptom: Diarrhea
More to Know
Diarrhea is loose, watery, or more frequent stools (poop). Although it can be upsetting, diarrhea is rarely dangerous and usually goes away in a few days.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of many conditions, including common infections due to viruses (like viral gastroenteritis, or "stomach flu"), bacteria, or parasites. It's often accompanied by cramping belly pain — and, sometimes, nausea, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Most cases of diarrhea go away in a few days with care at home, rest, and plenty of fluids. In some cases, particularly in infants, diarrhea can lead to dehydration that requires treatment with IV fluids and sometimes hospitalization. Diarrhea, especially if it lasts more than 2 weeks or keeps happening, also can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem that needs further evaluation.
Keep in Mind
The most common infectious causes of diarrhea are highly contagious and easily transmitted through dirty hands, contaminated food or water, and contact with dirty diapers or the toilet.
Washing hands well and often is the best way to help prevent spreading infection. Everyone in your family should wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: August 11, 2016