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Ask The Pediatrician? What Can I Do To Stop My Child’s Diarrhea

Question.  Hi Dr. Katie! My child has had diarrhea for over seven days.  He started having vomiting and diarrhea about a week ago, the vomiting has resolved but the diarrhea persists. I have tried changing his diet but nothing seems to be working. He has also developed a severe diaper rash.  UGH!  Can you please help me?!

Answer.  Many children will suffer from diarrhea for several days after having a stomach bug (also known as gastroenteritis).  The lining of your child’s gut can become damaged after experiencing gastroenteritis. We need the lining of our intestine to help us to digest certain foods. Some children will suffer from a secondary or acquired lactose intolerance after a stomach bug. The damage to the intestine leads to a decrease in the production of a chemical (enzyme) called lactase, which is necessary  for  the body digest a sugar called lactose, commonly found in milk and other dairy products.  The symptoms associated with this type of intolerance are diarrhea and gas after eating diary or drinking milk. The good news is that as the gut lining heals the diarrhea will get better. Try starting him on a probiotic. Florastor is an over-the-counter supplement that helps to restore the lining of the intestine, promote digestion, and helps to resolve the diarrhea. Diet is important when dealing with diarrhea. Make sure to avoid juices that contains high amounts of sugar. Introduce a bland diet consisting of foods that are binding like rice, potatoes, and bananas. As the diarrhea starts to resolve, you can begin to introduce foods that are higher in fiber. Finally, make sure to keep your child hydrated!  Give smaller amounts of fluid utilizing shorter time intervals.  Start with an ounce of Pedialyte every 15 minutes and increase as tolerated.

Diarrhea can be very aggressive on the skin. The best way to soothe diaper rash is to clean a messy diaper immediately with soap and warm water. The best way to cure diaper rash is to actually take their diaper off from time to time. Whenever possible place them down on a towel without a diaper. The longer they’re out of a diaper the better. Pastes or barrier creams are necessary to soothe the skin and prevent contact with feces and other irritants. Try to find a cream that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as it will help to soothe the skin. Calmoseptine is my favorite trick for diaper rash. The ingredients help to relieve the discomfort and itching while treating the rash.  I hope this helps your journey!

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