Updated: May 12, 2020
DIARRHOEA is when food passes through the intestines too quickly for proper absorption, resulting in poo that is watery and difficult to control.
The most common cause is a bug or food poisoning. If this is the case, it is best for a child not to eat during the early stages but to sip on fluids and drink Dioralyte rehydration salts which replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration. Diarrhoea which persists can be the sign of an irritation or inflammation. Because there will not have been enough time for the proper absorption of nutrients, water and salts; this can lead to weight loss, more serious dehydration and general lack of energy. It is now much more important to keep drinking and to see a doctor. Although it is not what most of us would choose to do, looking at and smelling poo is one of the best ways to assess the health of the digestive system. Keeping a log of a child’s sensations, pains and toilet times as well as the consistency of their poo is a very useful diagnostic tool for their health carers.
Spike has an ileostomy (an opening made into the small intestine so that poo can be diverted into a stoma bag on the outside of the tummy) so we have to be extremely cautious that he doesn't become dehydrated. I wrote a blog about hydration HERE and below are some of the things we do when things are going wrong.
- Make your own rehydration solution (Oxford Solution): 200ml squash concentrate (NOT low sugar or sugar free), 1 level 5ml spoon salt, make up to 1 litre with water. - Reduce the amount of high fibre foods in your diet e.g. beans and lentils, fruit and green vegetables - Increase plain starchy foods such as rice, pasta, white bread, porridge and bananas
Fun Facts to Share with your Child:
- Our digestive system produces approximately 7 litres of fluid a day – that’s almost a bucket of fluid!
- An adult’s gut is an astonishing 7m long – about the same length as a large ambulance!
- The gelatine in marshmallows and jelly babies can help slow the bowel. Avoid sugar free varieties though as the artificial sweetener can have a laxative effect.
If loose watery output continues for more than 24 hours you should consult a doctor.