Diarrhea Buffalo NY

Diarrhea - the passage of an increased amount of stool - is frequently considered to be 3 or more stools per day, or excessively watery and unformed stool. Chronic diarrhea occurs when loose or more frequent stools persist for longer than two weeks.

The majority of diarrheal diseases result from infection, and are generally short lived, self-limiting conditions. Common forms of diarrhea are grouped under terms such as "stomach flu" and gastroenteritis. These conditions may include vomiting, and often appear in mini-epidemics in schools, neighborhoods, or families. Quite often parents and local physicians are aware the stomach flu is "going around".

Most diarrhea will stop without treatment in a few days. Certain drugs, such as antibiotics, can cause or worsen diarrhea.

The risk of developing diarrhea can be reduced by washing hands and avoiding contaminated food, utensils, or other objects. Children should be taught not to put objects in their mouth. Wash hands before and after using the bathroom and before meals.

Diarrhea that comes on suddenly and ends in a day or two is usually caused by an infection or food poisoning.

In general, don't try to stop diarrhea as soon as it develops. Diarrhea is the body's way of getting rid of whatever food, virus, or bug is causing it.

Adults with diarrhea
In adults with diarrhea, it may help to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. In adults, non-prescription medications such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, Imodium, and Diasorb can help diarrhea. (Note: Pepto-Bismol can discolor the stools and can cause the tongue to turn black. This is a normal response to the medication and not something to be concerned about).

Enteral (formula tube) feedings often cause diarrhea. If you are experiencing diarrhea related to enteral tube feedings, consult your health care provider or dietician. The rate of the feedings may need to be changed or bulk agents may need to be added to the formula.

Adding bulk to the diet may thicken the stool and decrease the frequency of stools. Certain foods thicken the stools, including rice, bananas, yogurt, and cheese. An increase in fiber from whole-wheat grains and bran add bulk to the diet. Additionally, psyllium containing products such as Metamucil or similar products can be used to add bulk to the stools.

Children with diarrhea
Children who are placed on antibiotics may experience diarrhea. Recent studies suggest that children on antibiotics are less likely to get diarrhea if they eat yogurt with active live cultures. In children with diarrhea, it used to be recommended (but is no longer) to have the child drink plenty of clear fluids and avoid milk. Now, doctors recommend that children with mild diarrhea should stay on their normal diet -- children and infants with diarrhea should continue getting their normal amount of milk. It may help to switch these children to soy milk, if they will take it, but that is not necessary.

Pedialyte and similar rehydration fluids do NOT treat diarrhea. They are used for vomiting and cases of serious dehydration.

If a child has nausea or vomiting, the liquids should be given in small amounts but very frequently, often every 15 minutes. (Give liquids as directed by a health care provider). Home mixed electrolyte solutions should be avoided -- mixing mistakes can cause significant problems.

Diarrhea medications, even non-prescription ones, should NOT be used in infants and children unless a doctor has approved it. For example, Pepto-Bismol has aspirin-like compounds that are not safe in children.