Most diarrhea-associated illnesses are caused by infections.  Most commonly, episodic diarrhea is caused by viruses for which there is no specific treatment.  Viral diarrhea may last only a few days, but it is not uncommon for loose stools to continue for 1-2 weeks, although with decreasing frequency.

Less often, bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and others) can cause diarrhea.  With bacterial infections, the diarrhea is more likely to be bloody, and the child appears to be more ill.  Bloody diarrhea is always a reason to contact our office immediately.

Mild diarrhea lasting for more than ten days may be caused by a parasite, which may require anti-parasitic medication.

Anti-diarrheal medications are generally not helpful, and are not routinely recommended.  When your child has frequent loose stools, he/she may need to increase fluid intake to replace the water lost in the stool.  If your child is also vomiting, offer clear liquids (see section on vomiting).  If your child only has diarrhea, he/she can consume a usual diet, with increased fluids.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507