What Is Toddler’s Diarrhoea?
Toddler’s diarrhoea is considered a common cause of diarrhoea in children with age between 1 to 5 years. It is most commonly seen in boys. This diarrhoea is not a very serious condition and goes off as the child grows older.
Improper diet of the child, which is nowadays common, is the cause of diarrhoea in children. To stop toddler diarrhoea, a proper diet with a good amount of fat, like whole milk, etc., should be given. Too much fruit juice or splash should be avoided, and meals should include the proper amount of fibre but not high fibre. It is also known as chronic non-specific diarrhoea.
Symptoms Of Toddler’s Diarrhea
Children that are affected with toddler diarrhoea develop three or more stools that are loose and watery and sometimes ten stools or more that are smelly and pale. Bits of vegetables like carrots and sweetcorn from the recent meal are seen in the stool. Mild abdominal pain and constipation which alternates with diarrhoea are observed in some children.
A child only with toddler diarrhoea will be normal, active along with proper growth. Symptoms disappear at 5-6 years of age without any treatment. The doctor does not feel anything abnormal in the examination, and no further tests are advised.
If the child seems unwell, inactive, and has diarrhoea for the first time and for more than a few days, see your Paediatrician.
Causes Of Toddler’s Diarrhea
Toddler’s diarrhoea is not due to any severe bowel problem, any malabsorption, or any intolerance to any type of food. The exact cause of diarrhoea is not known.
The small intestine digests and absorbs food into the body, and the large bowel, which is the colon, absorbs any excess water and forms stools. In affected children, the balance of fibre, fluid, and sugars that are undigested reaches the colon and may cause stomach upset, due to which the amount of fluid present in the colon increases instead of absorbing in the body.
Infrequent and more watery stools than usual can result from even a little increase in fluid remaining in the colon.
Treatment Of Toddler’s Diarrhea
If the symptoms are mild, no treatment is required. It is important to change the dietary habits of the child. It will help in reducing diarrhoea in many cases. Eating and drinking habits that are not normal cause diarrhoea.
Consuming low-fat diets most commonly leads to toddler diarrhoea in children. Low- fat diet is not good for children. It may be suitable for adults but not children. Children need nearly 35-40% good fat in their diet. Instead of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, whole milk, yoghurt, cheese, dairy products, etc., should be given at the end of the meal. This helps in reducing toddlers’ diarrhoea.
The child must eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Deficient fibre and very high fibre are not advisable for children. Fibre is plant food that is not digested, stays in the gut, and goes out in stools. High and low fibre can worsen the symptoms in children, so a balanced diet is needed. Foods that should be reduced in children with toddler diarrhoea are:
- High-fibre cereals
- Peas, sweet corn, pulses, lentils
- Baked beans
- Raisins and grapes.
Too much fruit juice or squash is not good for the child. Children often take juices for thirst. If the child is feeling thirsty, give water instead of juice. Give juice for a treat. Fruit juices contain so many carbohydrates(sugars), some of which do not get digested or absorbed and get to the colon. This holds water in the intestines and results in watery stools. Clear apple juice contains lots of sugars, so avoid it, and cloudy juices contain some fibre which is not bad. Fruits and squash contain many calories that reduce appetite, leading to less intake of fats and fibre foods.