32 answers

Diarrhea Lasting for Weeks Help!!!

hello and thank you to everyone. my 3 year old daughter has had diarrhea for three weeks now. we have already taken her to the dr and had a specimen tested which (after having to wait a full week for results) came back negative. she had a fever for a couple of days while waiting for the test but that went away. she is (besides the diarrhea)feeling fine and running around like normal. the dr told me to give her a 1/3 of an adult dose of citracel and not to give her any juice for a month. i have never given her much juice to begin with so i don't think the juice is the cause. i haven't started the citracel because it was looking like her stool was slowly starting to firm up and be less frequent. unfortunately it came back loose again and frequent. i am very worried that something is wrong because it is not going away. i tried explaining that to the dr but they just told me to wait and try the citracel. has anyone else experienced this? any advice is greatly appreciated! i have to go to the store now for some citracel! thank you.

What can I do next?

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It definitely sounds like an allergy to me or something similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sometimes allergies take a while to develop so I would definitely schedule a test if you are skeptical of the answers provided by the Dr. A friend of mine had a wheat allergy that was causing serious bowel problems and gas and no one could determine the cause until she went to the allergist.

Hope this helps and good luck!!!

Have you tried cutting out dairy? Allergies can sometimes develop even if she hasn't had a problem with it before. Just a thought...

Hi Jennifer,
She could be allergic to certain foods. I have those symptoms when I'm eating wheat or other grains and only feel tired and out of sorts. My son was allergic to regular milk and had to have soy formula instead (since he wouldn't drink goats milk). I found out after my son was 7 months old, when I was barely able to function with work and him by going to a gastronologist. Hope this helps.

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Hello! Please thank your husband for his service and sacrifices to our country! I know it's not easy being a Navy wife, especially if your husband is out to sea!

With that being said - Bethesda Naval has an awesome Pediatric clinic - ask for a referral to their GI dept or ask for an outside referral to a Gastro-Intestinal clinic. Just let the Dr know that you are trusting your instincts.

In the mean time - yogurt, rice, apples and bananas. The BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast) diet is GREAT for diarrhea! When my kids have diarrhea lasting for more than a couple of days (no fever and otherwise acting normally) I also freeze some Gatorade in popsicle form for them suck on - ensuring their electrolytes don't get out of whack. If by chance this happens in the winter, I just give them Gatorade to drink.

Have your daughter tested for allergies - this, instead of a runny nose, watery eyes and such, could be her body's way of showing an allergy. At her age, they can do a small vile of blood and test her that way.

Everything will work out. Trust your instincts. I highly recommend the BRAT diet and Gatorade!

Again, thanks for your husband's service! I'll keep your family in my prayers. I believe everything will be good!

2 moms found this helpful

Something to think about is that she may have food allergies. They don't always show themselves right away. My daughter and I can't have wheat. Our symptom is bad diarrhea. I would ask her doc to test for food allergies. Even if this is not the cause its good to know.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had diarrhea for a long time. It was almost a month and a half and then over a year he would have it at least 4 days a week, if not more. We were going to the doctors every two weeks to have cultures done and nothing ever appeared on any of the tests that they did. Our doctor had us giving him extra starches to help firm up his stools. Things like rice, bread, and cereals. We also cut out a lot of his juice and milk and gave him mostly water to drink. We saw several different doctors during this time and every one of them said it was nothing to worry about as long as he was gaining weight and not getting dehydrated.

1 mom found this helpful

I just wanted to add to the last comment posted and tell you that my experience with the GI clinic at Hopkins was a positive one as well. Our daughter had a feeding tube in her stomach (g-tube) for about a year, so it wasn't diarrhea, but the doctors and nurses in that department were nice.

Also, I wanted to mention that my mom reports that I had some bouts of diarrhea that lasted for weeks when I was between one and two years old. They came and went mysteriously without any other symptoms. The doctors at the time said it was just something that some kids tend to go through, like a mystery virus. I actually ended up later having the opposite problem for awhile, but the rest of my childhood and adulthood has been normal in that regard. Still, I agree with the mom who posted that a gastroenterologist would be a good resource if this continues.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Our son had this when he was about 20 months old. Our pediatrician called it toddler's diarrhea. It lasted more than a month, and finally went away without any intervention. We feel like he got sick after using our neighborhood baby pool a lot--he probably drank that gross water. He's a perfectly healthy kindergartener now. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

If your daughter is not sick with a bacteria or allergies, the citacel might work. I take citracel daily because I am a vegetarian who eats a high fiber diet. My BM is too loose if I don't take the citracel. A little goes a long way with those pills. It's interesting that citracel is labeled a bulk laxative but it has an opposite effect. I guess this is like fighting fire with fire. It works.

1 mom found this helpful

Definitely replace lost fluids and give her plenty of yogurt. Look for brands with lots of active cultures. And as someone else mentioned have her tested for wheat allergies. There is a disease called "seliac." Check it out on the internet. It isn't as awful as it sounds but it is responsible for so many different things. It is a simple blood test and once you know you have it, you can live a long happy symptom free life.

I have read that as long as your child is acting normally than most of these things are nothing to worry about (diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, etc.) but once they start affecting other aspects of your child's life, you need to get her checked.

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


I had this happen with both my children. The doctors found nothing. My son who was just over a year old at the time had it for 3 months and my daughter who was 3 years old had it for a month. My son was teething with 8 teeth which is partially the cause. What I did was about an 1/8th of a teaspoon of fresh minced garlic. You can get garlic at any grocery store already minced or you can buy the cloves and mince it yourself. I also was given the recommendation of fresh coconut. You can also try lactose free foods. I give my kids rice milk. They have cow's as a treat because that's all they have a McD's Have your kids been tested for allergies? I had both mine tested and my son has a sensitivity to chicken, so I don't feed it to him that much. I've not heard of giving citracel, but at this stage your desperate so it might be worth a try. Good Luck. Also, I don't know if it's still here, but under the question I asked about diarrhea a year ago there might be some info for you. Good Luck and God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


My experience is that diarreah can last a looong time in little kids. Even if she had a little bug, it can take a long time for her system to get back to normal. (Okay, none of my three kids had it for three weeks, but two weeks almost certainly.)I would get some yogurt in her (to replace the good bacteria she is losing), but if she is acting fine and the tests were negative, I wouldn't worry too much.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Jennifer,

It is probably just a "bug" as the others have said, however, there are other illnesses that can cause persistant diarrhea, so I would take her to a gastroenterologist. Collecting stool samples is no fun, but I'm guessing that they already tested her for the parasites, etc. There is also a test for hidden blood, which they should run if they have not. My 5 yr old daughter most likely has Crohn's disease, which is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the whole intestinal tract. It can cause diarrhea (often bloody), tummy pain, joint pains, mouth sores, etc. Hopefully this is not what is causing your daughter's problem, but it seems further investigation is warranted at this point. I'm not sure where you live-we're north of Baltimore-both University of MD & Hopkins have good pediatric GI clinics. Best of luck & I hope she feels better soon.

1 mom found this helpful


When my son has diarrhea I put him on a probiotic and my dr usually tells me to take him off dairy. If your daughter eats yogurt, you can try the yogurt products with probiotics from the grocery store. If not, you can go to an apothecary and get it in a capsule form. You can break the capsule open and put it in anything room temperature or cold. Make sure if you buy a probiotic, it has been kept in the fridge. It is tasteless and my son doesn't mind it. There is an apothecary in the Crossroads Medical Building on Dorsey Hall Drive in Columbia. I think it is called Blue Mountain Apothecary. They can give you information regarding dosage.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would look very closely at what she is eating. My daughter went through this several times. The first time she was eating snackwells cookies (turns out they have sorbitol in them that makes you really have to go). The second time she was on a gummy vitamin that had something in it that can make you go. Some kids react to certain foods that you wouldn't expect. Although bananas are supposed to constipate, my son poops everytime he eats one. Then I would try to give her a yogart with a probiotic in it. There is also a chocolate pudding out now that has it in. It is supposted to regulate the digestive system. If all else fails ask your doc for a referall to a GI and an allergist to test for allergies and see if she has some kind of missing enzyme issue. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the other posts that it's probably nothing to worry about. My son had something similar that lasted for a couple weeks (and he had some vomiting with it). As long as your daughter is eating and drinking normally, you don't need to worry. Try giving her Pedialyte popsicles to replace her lost fluids (I wouldn't try the liquid "juice" Pedialyte makes because it's GROSS!!). Definitely stay away from the regular fruit juice because it can irritate her little digestive tract!
With all that said, if you're still not happy with your pediatrician's diagnosis or if the diarreah won't stop, ask for a referral for a gastroenterologist. If you have insurance, a small co-pay is way worth your peace of mind. They always say that a mother knows best when there's a problem with their child, so trust your instincts!!!

1 mom found this helpful

If it is just a virus that will last awhile, try serving her rice. Italian Risotto type, white and cook it with a little butter. And plain yogurt drinks, not the ones with sugar, but the Keifer brand as it will put the acidopholus back in her stomach. They do have a strawberry one if she won't eat plain. My son and I often get flus like this in the Middle East when we are there that last a long time. That's my tried and tru remedy. And toasted bagels for breakfast. Avoid all sugar and juices. And raw vegetables. And red meat. I agree to have it checked out with a specialist, though if you insurance covers it, to be sure.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey Jennifer... yes, my daughter had 'toddler diarrhea' and it scared me too! My doc never did any testing but told me to back off the fiber, wheat pasta, wheat bread etc and give her white flour products (she was under two and they don't need that much fiber anyway... i wanted her to get used to the taste so I had always served that to her as well as us!) ANYWAY, i combated it with diet: avocado, banana, white pasta/rice/bread, saltines and oyster crackers, etc... also included a probiotic in her bottle or sprinkled on her food (culturelle)... you can get a probiotic with yogurt but it's best to stay away from the flavored sugared ones and the diary can be an issue. We've always fed plain yogurt to the kids so that worked for us but again, we don't do a ton of dairy. Make sure she drinks fluids... I like the life waters instead of gatorade and such (sugar!) but whatever you can get her to drink. Also, cooked apple stuff... cooking releases the something that is helpful in the diarrhea problem... raw not as good... i baked apples, made applesauce, etc... again, you want to watch the sugar.

Hope this helps... good luck!

My son used to have diarrhea for great lengths of time. At first I could not figure out what in his diet was causing it, then, by process of elimation, I determined it was the juice I was giving him. I was giving him Juicy Juice since it had the least sugar, so I thought. Halfway down the bottle, he would get it and it would continue for weeks until he was completely off it. I'm not sure what her diet consists of, but I would definitely try to narrow it down to see what's causing it. In the meantime, try the BRAT diet (Bananas/Rice/Applesauce/Toast) to help with the diarrhea.

Could it be something she is eating or drinking? I know soy milk tends to make stools a bit gooey. Have you tried feeding her "binding" foods? Apples, bananas, breads? Those are all binding foods, foods that whould help firm up the stools. Foods you'd want to stay away from if you were constipated. I haven't had much experience with diarrhea for such a length of time but my oldest son could only drink soy milk and for that 1st year (between 1 and 2) when that was a big sourse of nutrition he have very gooey poops.

Good luck!

My daughter is the exact same way and we have just gone through the test that came back negative as well. She is also three but hers has lasted for about 6 weeks. She is not sick. My brother in law who is a PA and my best friend who is a nurse have basically said that it is most likely just the way her system is. SOme people ahve looser stools than others. I am believing that more and more. It is making her poop in the potty nearly impossible but it took her a year to be able to wear underwear and pee in the potty so I ma just trying to adjust to her schedule. I too have tried giving her juice once a day (I water all of her drinks down other then milk, water or sprite) an dhave given her more milk,etc but they don't relaly help. Sometimes I ahve noticed that if we are out and it is relaly hot then it really gets to her and that sometimes causes her diareaha I am begining to really believe. Anywya, if youc an't pinpoint a food or drink item causing the direaha and she has no blood and her tests were negative then i would just tribute it to her body and the way it works. In some ways it stinks but when you do all you can possibly do and all seems fine I am just thinking it is her body. Hope this helps

Hi, Jennifer. This happened to my son when he was 2. We found out that he had an allergy to corn. Is there anything that your daughter eats on a daily basis? Try taking it out of her diet and see what happens! Also, for severe diarrhea, the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet seems to work. Hope you can figure it out.

M. K

Hi Jennifer,
She could be allergic to certain foods. I have those symptoms when I'm eating wheat or other grains and only feel tired and out of sorts. My son was allergic to regular milk and had to have soy formula instead (since he wouldn't drink goats milk). I found out after my son was 7 months old, when I was barely able to function with work and him by going to a gastronologist. Hope this helps.

Diarrhea can be bowel irritation. A good probiotic in the form of stonyfield yogurt, kefir, or high quality supplement can help restore the intestinal flora back to normal. Also, Peppermint, ginger and those types of things can be helpful. Try to get her to eat as many raw fruits and veggies as possible so the enzymes can go to work. Never ever microwave food because it acts as a paste and sticks on the intestinal walls with all kinds of preservatives, chemicals and the like causing all sorts of problems. If you suspect a virus that can't be detected or something major is going on I use the essential oil Oregano diluted 20/80 or the Thieves blend on a regular basis. That has always cleared up any virus my family ever had. Anti-biotic won't do you any good and they even make things worse, I had a friend who went to the hospital, had IV anti-biotics and was miserable after that until I got him on Peppermint and Thieves everyday. Check out www.youngliving.org/amoreyr to order the oils if you want. He's fine now and it's something you could try and wouldn't hurt. Get raw cheese if available. Good luck!
Feel free to ask any questions from your local homeopath!

Since you have already had it cultured and it tested negative, I wouldn't worry too much (at least not yet). My daughter, now 21-months old, started having the same problems at about 16-months. It took close to 6-8 weeks before it seemed completely resolved (although we had days of no problems, it would come right back).

The absolute first thing our doctor has always done with vomitting and/or diarrhea is STOP ALL MILK PRODUCTS and other regular diet items. Give Pedialyte, Gatorades, Propel, Water, Flavored Water, Kool-Aid, weak tea, and if you must, flat soda. I personally don't recommend the flat soda, especially for vomitting, because it has always tasted so nasty to me that I don't give it to my kids. I also don't give my daughter soda although Sprite or Ginger Ale wouldn't be too bad. This is why:

Even without a milk allergy but proteins from dairy is harder to digest than others and can do two things, if you are fine and have too much you can become constipated. If you have any kind of "stomach bug", virus, or irritation you can get diarrhea. Even though you are better, it can just be a bit to hard to digest.

My advice would be to follow the following instructions, this is what our pediatrician has us do:

Day One - stop regular diet and all milk products, give the liquids I named above. The idea is stop everything but keep them hydrated. If they can tolerate it, JELLO is ok (not pudding). Avoid fruit juices!
Day Two - continue liquids, add bananas, peaches, and pears (baby food variety of these are ok too regardless of their age)
Day Three - continue above and add vegetables (again, baby food is ok)
Day Four - continue above and add meats (again, baby food is ok although older kids will bulk at it but don't give anything too greasy)
Day Five - Regular diet except milk products
Day Six - Continue above, add cereals (no milk yet)
Day Seven - Continue above, add milk (*you may want to add it slowly, like a serving or two at first and/or try soy milk or lactose-free milk for a week or two and wean back to whole or 2% milk).

On day two, do not add applesauce as it can contribute to loose stools as can fruit juices (especially apple juice). This is because of the sugar (natural and/or added).

Sometimes with my son, as he got older, I found that he may want or need the fruits and vegetables before they are scheduled especially if diarrhea was the problem (with vomitting, he didn't want them early).

With my daughter, we wouldn't get to day seven before the diarrhea would return. Then we would start over, get to day seven, and a day or two later it would start again. We stopped everything again. At day seven, we slowly started lactose-free milk (both for drinking and to prepare items that normally require milk). Once she was good for about two full weeks of being back on milk products, we gave her some whole milk again (slowly). After a week or two on both, she went back to whole milk and has been fine.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

It definitely sounds like an allergy to me or something similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sometimes allergies take a while to develop so I would definitely schedule a test if you are skeptical of the answers provided by the Dr. A friend of mine had a wheat allergy that was causing serious bowel problems and gas and no one could determine the cause until she went to the allergist.

Hope this helps and good luck!!!

This could also be a sign of food allergy/intolerance. Keep a food journal and note symptoms and stools (conistency & frequency) and look for any patterns. Then see your DR again with your notes. Also make sure she is not drinking too much juice/sugar drinks and is getting enough fiber. Good luck.

Have you tried cutting out dairy? Allergies can sometimes develop even if she hasn't had a problem with it before. Just a thought...

Jennifer, great advice below about potential allergies, use of probiotics, etc. All possibilities.

But I just wanted to add, please consider the previous posting about the kids who turned out to have E.coli.

I recently found out about a friend-of-a-friend's child who had rampant ongoing diarrhea and the initial E.coli test came back negative; well, she did indeed have E.coli, which only showed up in a test a full week later, after the child had been hospitalized for a week.

I suggest having your daughter tested for E.coli again--maybe requesting that a different laboratory do the work, too. If you're losing confidence in your pediatrician, find another and don't take no for an answer when you ask to be seen and have a test the very same day you call. You're a consumer of the doctor's services and have every right to take your business elsewhere. Please report back to us here soon!

Dear Jennifer,
Perhaps she is having an allergic reaction to something in her diet. Sometimes the reaction to foods can be with diarrhea or constipation. Here is a website with some information that you may find helpful: http://www.pamf.org/health/toyourhealth/foodallergy.html
Best of luck to you!

I'm not sure what advice you have already received, but my child had the same issue when he was around 2 1/2. After our 3rd doctor visit, a very old pediatrician recommended "L Acidophilus Granules." I don't remember if they require an Rx or if you can just go to the Pharmacy Counter (call your pharmacy to check), but they worked like a charm. It is a friendly bacteria found in yogurts, but this ismore concentrated. There is no taste to them and you can stir the granules into applesauce, yogurt, or a liquid. Cheap and effective! If the diarrhea is due to bacteria/lack of bacteria, this should resolve the issue. If the problem comes back after ~10 days of treatment, I would look into possible food allergies. Good luck.


I had that problem with my son and myself. We kept going to the doctor. They put us on several antibiotics and no such luck. It ended up being an infection that was finally picked up in a stool sample. They had done them several times before.
Please don't hesitate to have another test done.
In the meantime please keep your daughter hydrated. I use x2o water. It's a new product on the market. Full of electroytes and no sugar like gatorade or juice, so it is gentle on the system. You can find it at

Good luck to you and your daughter


Hi Jennifer,

My kids were sick last summer with horrible diarrhea that just was not getting any better. It started in June of 2007 and finally they were better by early Aug. My kids are now 2, 3 and 4yrs. old. My now 2yr. old and 3yr. old were the ones that were sick ( my 2yr. old son was the sickest and his lastest the longest). Our pediatrician kept telling me that they had a virus and to let it run its course. I was done hearing the word virus and to let things continue while watching my kids get sicker. Well, after 4wks. of blow out diarrhea diapers and changing crib sheets and clothes daily, I knew this was not just a virus. Our kids did have tons of stool testing done and nothing came back. So, my husband and I decided to take the kids to a pediatric gastroenterologist in Rockville, MD. He saw both my kids in early July of 2007, ran some more extensive stool tests, tested for allergies on my son, and got an answer. Both of my kids had Shiga Toxin E-coli which they probably picked up from a zoo in PA where they could feed deer and other animals (we constantly used Purell with the kids at the zoo, so I guess the purell did not help or the e-coli got on something else that they then ingested?). My kids were put on a fatty diet to help bind things (mashed potatoes, french fries, gravies, butter, etc.), fiber, probiotics which I bought at Whole Foods and just added to their juice or milk (my daughter was on soy milk and my son on formula), and my son had to be on a reflux medicine because his poor system got really messed up. The main reasons we took our kids to a pediatric gastroenterologist were: 1. both kids started to lose weight 2. My son would barely drink 2oz. of his formula or eat 3. Both kids looked very sick and by July and no answers we decided to see a dr. that dealt with stomach problems. So, if this continues you may want to consider making a pediatric gastroenterologist appt. JMO I hope you daughter feels better soon. Oh, and we left our old pediatric dr. after feeling that they never listened to us and we were not happy with them at all after our kids were so sick last summer and they did nothing except run some stool tests after I asked.

A little about me.. I live in Boyds, MD, I am a SAHM, I have 3 beautiful children who we adopted from Guatemala. We have a 2yr. old son, 3yr. old daughter and 4yr. old daughter. We also have 2 dogs, and 5 cats. Yes, we have a busy household!

M. T.

I know someone who recently had a similar problem. She was loosing weight and not getting any answers from doctors. Turns out she had a stomach infection that went undiagnosed for months. Now the damage is done and her system will never be the same. Keep going to new doctors and looking for answers. Good Luck!

Hi, I went through something similar to this when my daughter was 9 months old. After numerous visits to the Dr. and the ER (shots of antibiotics in her thigh). Nothing stopped it. I had researched online and came up with this:
Lactobacillus acidophilus you can buy it in the store, usually with vitamins and herbal stuff. I was nursing my daughter, so I took the max. dose and knew it would get to her. You could crush the pill and add some to her food. It is a probiotic, or "friendly bacteria". It is used for several things including preventing and treating diarrhea, including infectious diarrhea, particularly from rotavirus (a virus that commonly causes diarrhea in children). My daughter had some gastrointestinal problems and after this I swear it stopped almost immediately. Please look it up, I feel it would be beneficial in your case as well. Good luck!

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