Ongoing Diarrhea...any Ideas??

Updated on September 08, 2010
K.L. asks from Essex, MD
21 answers

My 2 yr old son has been having diarrhea for 5 wks and its gotten worse. Now everytime he eats or drinks anything he has diarrhea. It all started when he had an ear infection 5 wks ago. He eats yogurt with added probiotics every day. He's also developed styes in his eyes and is going through an eczema flare-up. As a result, we're having potty training issues. He is 95% potty trained but then he will fart and well, its more than just a fart.

Any ideas what could cause this? Nothing in his diet has changed during this time.

I'm calling the pediatrician in the morning, but would love some suggestions/ideas of what the problem could be and what you suggest I do.

*Edited to add: is not always runny/watery like diarrhea, but it has gotten worse and more like that in the past couple days, which is why I am suddenly so concerned with it. Our initial thoughts were the antibiotics had caused it. Also, its clearly not contagious since no one else has had any symptoms of illness.

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So What Happened?

I spoke to the pediatrician at length today and she said we need to eliminate sugars and preservatives completely for the next 2 wks. This includes all juices and most fruits (bananas and apples are fine, but others should be kept to a minimum). He should drink only milk and water. She said to definitely continue the yogurt every day (and to specifically buy the kinds with added probiotics). If his poops become mucusy or has blood in them he needs to be seem immediately.

The eczema is unrelated and probably caused by change in seasons/allergies. The styes are also probably caused by allergies and to use the ointment we have for them (these have been ongoing for the past year, although we've gone a couple months without having a bad one).

Thanks for your input and concern :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read the other answers yet.

If he's having diarrhea, forget potty training
until that's over and done with.

Eczema, styes, diarrhea . . . poor kid.
He has been suffering.

I imagine the doctor will want to test for a variety of possibilities.
In addition to whatever meds the doctor may prescribe,
you may need to go back in food choices to an earlier age.
Simple baby cereal, rice, chicken, etc.
Then add back other foods gradually, one at a time.

Poor baby. Sending him hugs and cuddles.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

take him to the doctor right away-if I had a child w/upset tummy for 5 days I would be unglued.

Years ago I had a cleaning lady-I instructed her to use clean cloths for everything-and never to go from bathroom to bathroom with any previously used cloth. The whole family would be sick-running to the bathroom-everytime she cleaned-after a few days, we would improve-then she would come agian-eek. One day, I discovered that she was walking around with a plastic pitcher containing the single sponge she used on the toilets and the bathroom sinks in all 5 bathrooms! I nearly puked on her! I had never had a sponge in my house-nor would I ever-don't know where it came from-I fired her and we all lived happily ever after! Good luck!

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answers from Charlotte on

Get rid of all dairy and sugar in his diet...and you should see this all clear up within a few weeks. Do unsweetened rice milk, coconut milk or almond milk (all unsweetened). DAIRY causes, mucous build up...hence all the colds, snotty noses, fevers, rashes, eczema is linked to dairy allergies. Don't believe me try it remove his from dairy and yourself and see what happens after a few months. Also get him on a great probiotic from a local health store. If you son has taken antibiotics or immunized then you've killed off a lot of his good bacteria he was born with, so how can he fight the germs if his good bacteria is being killed right? I know I've been there the hard way, but grateful for all I've learned and I'll share it with whoever is ready to listen and really wants to change their families life and future generations. Call it an experiment in your house, what do you have to lose? ALSO wheat/gluten get rid of that and see what happens. I know it sounds crazy, what do we eat then? Been there too. More than 80 percent of people have gluten sensitivities that cause all kinds of health issues and can even be fatal. You can do this mom! I'm so proud of you for seeking help/answers. That where it begins. Best to you! I wanna know what happens if you try what I've stated. Also look at your cleaning products. I use only vinegar and seventh generation. TO many harsh toxins in the stuff in our homes and that our children are breathing. Causes lots of health/skin issues. Been there on that too! You can learn from me now. Doctors don't have all the answers. I got tired of hearing it's just a "virus" and here's another prescription!

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answers from Barnstable on

Could he be lactose intolerant? My son started getting diarrhea when he was 6 and it lasted for months. I finally had to demand that his pediatrician give us a referral to children's hospital. As it turned out he was extremely lactose intolerant.

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi Kristin,

I would definitely still take him to the doctor, but I think it is two things - dehydration and the yogurt. Yogurt can help with digestive issues, but everyday for someone so young is not good. It messes up the balance of the good bacteria in your stomach and can actually cause the intestinal distress.

The antibiotics probably started it, but the yogurt is not allowing the good bacteria to balance out. I would stop giving him yogurt and give him lots and lots of water!!

Good luck, and I hope he feels better soon,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wow, how old is your son? Pls don't wait this L. the next time your son has a condition that doesn't improve. Usually in a week I would call the doctor if there is no improvement in something, if not sooner. Diarrhea could be serious. Not only are nutrients and water not remaining in his body, but there could be a serious infection in the intestines. Ask about something called C-Dif. It's a serious inflammation/infection. Diarrrhea all the time, and it can turn bad. Some people are hospitalized for it and it's contagious also. Sorry to alarm you but I say it so you don't wait 5 weeks for something like this to call doctor.... I know someone who had this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Sounds like he needs some super duper probiotics to restore the balance of his good flora in his intestinal track again. I suspect the yogurt you are giving him isn't enough. If you have a Whole Foods Market in your area, they usually have a refridgerated case with a pretty good selection of probiotics. Their clerks are pretty knowledgable so I would definitely ask for their help in selecting the right one for your son. If the probiotic comes in capsule form and your son is not swallowing pills yet, then open up the capsule and mix the contents with some applesauce and cinnamon to mask the taste.

Our son also had some pretty severe issues with diarrhea due to all of the antibiotics that he took as a baby so we also supplement with Nordic Natural Omega 3-6-9 Jr. capsules to help heal his intestinal track. Your son may not need the Omega supplement but I'd thought I'd tell you about it just in case you feel that it may be beneficial to your son.

Hope your son is on the road to recovery soon.

*** ADDED: Just saw your edit. Sometimes if the poop is very soft but not running or watery like diarrhea, that can indicate that there's some constipation issues involved and the soft stuff that you see coming out is the stuff that can come out. I'd still suggest a stronger probiotic for your son and also possibly omega 3 supplements, but you may want to also consider giving him some kind of laxitive to clear his system out. But talk to your doctor about this. It's good to know ahead of time possible options to discuss . . .

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son went through a similar thing. The doctor ruled out anything like an infection or parasites. We gave him fiber gummy bears (Yummi Bears) and probiotics (Acidophikidz). I tried just doing yogurt and higher fiber foods, but that didn't seem to be enough, but the supplements (every morning) did. Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like it could also be Celiac Disease, which is often "triggered" by an infection. Our own son was diagnosed at about that age -- just before he turned two -- after having the rotavirus, which never really cleared up. Celiac, as you may know, is very common, affecting almost 1% of the population. Take a few minutes to research it online, and ask your pediatrician (or better yet...pediatric gastroenterologist to do a "full Celiac panel" (a quick and easy blood test).


answers from Phoenix on

I didn't read your prior posts. Next time ask your doctor about the B.R.A.T diet. It's Banana's, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. This and water is the only thing the kid eats for a couple days to get their system back to normal. Hope he's feeling better soon. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I would definitely ask for a C. difficile culture to be done. Your hunch is probably right, and the diarrhea is related to the antibiotics from the ear infection. It is contagious, but your other family members may not be as affected by it if their gut flora is well balanced. C. diff can sometimes take weeks to take hold, so your son may not have exhibited the symptoms from the get go. Insist on the culture, if for nothing but peace of mind. Side note: there is a chance of a false negative, so if it comes back negative and your son doesn't get better, insist on a second culture to be sure. Hope your little guy feels better soon!



answers from Washington DC on

I would say something is wrong -- we live overseas and intestinal parasites act like this. I know you can get intestinal parasites in the U.S. -- the treatment is very simple. About three days of medicine. Take him to the pediatrician -- ask for a full battery of tests on a stool sample.



answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like an allergy or food intolerance. It may have taken time to develop. I would discuss that possibility with his pediatrician. My 10 month old had similar symptoms when eating anything made with oats. Good luck on finding the cause and cure!
P.S. make sure he gets lots of liquids (water/juice/pedialyte) to stay hydrated while he's still having diarrhea.


answers from Washington DC on

You've had some good responses. If you're not ready to dive in with a full lifestyle change, just adding a better probiotic will help. There are chewable forms in the organic section of your grocery store (usually). You may also want to add a banana to his daily intake. Antibiotics are notorious for leaching potassium from the body as well as killing off good and bad bacteria. I'm sure your ped. will concur. Good luck and hope your ds feels better soon.



answers from Washington DC on

Probiotics in yogurt are not enough. Antibiotics can be really hard on your digestive system. I would check and see what and how much probiotic you can give to a 2 year old.
Good luck!



answers from Lynchburg on

This happened to my son. His lasted for weeks and we saw specialists. He got very thin and pale. FINALLY, there was one simple answer. Lack of bacteria. Go to Wal-mart or CVS type stores and ask for Culturelle. It will work almost instantly (you will start to see improvements in about a day).
It was so frustrating that the answer was so simple, yet my pediatrician didn't know it, and we suffered for weeks and weeks, like you.
Feel better soon little man!



answers from Washington DC on

I'm glad you're taking him to the doctor. I know my brother had a problem like this when he was a teen, and it was some sort of enzyme problem.



answers from Washington DC on

You need to rule out C. Difficile, salmonella, lysteria, E.Coli and other bacteria and parasites first through a stool culture. Rotavirus or a common enterovirus may also be to blame. To treat the diarrhea, you need to be absolutely lactose free, if not completely dairy free. Culturelle is one of the best probiotics you can buy and is available everywhere (but expensive). Sprinkle the contents of the capsules in drinks or food.
The eczema and other problems suggest a food intolerance. The most commom intolerances are wheat (gluten), dairy and soy, so try eliminating them for a while (and look for hidden allergens in processed food). Read all labels. Avoid the additive carageenen too - it's a potent intestinal irritant. Look up Leaky Gut syndrome. The antibiotics or infection may have caused this, and this is a critical time to avoid food allergens, since they may absorbed into the bloodstream and cause allergies or autoimmune food sentitivites, celiac disease, etc. I've lived through this and know how impotant is is to eat alergen-free (mostly avoiding gluten and dairy) when your intestines are inflamed. Buy rice pasta, rice, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes for the starches. And avoid all products with Sucralose (Splenda). Studies show it kills the good bacteria in the GI tract. If you need Pedialyte, buy the clear, unflavored version and flavor with a little juice. Look out for delayed allergies to other food additives too - Yellow #5, Red food dye, etc. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

If there is any correlation between the diarrhea and eating colorful foods (blueberries, oranges, etc.), and if all those other tests come back from the doc negative, you might want to look into a salicylate sensitivity. If the antibiotics had artificial coloring, it could have bumped up his salicylate levels to an unhealthy level if he has this kind of sensitivity. Also, any exposure to fragrances (vaporub included) might bump up salicylate levels.

The eczema does indicate that there might be some kind of allergy or sensitivity. I second the idea of going on the BRAT diet for a few days to see if he improves.


answers from Seattle on

I just went to the dr. myself today since I have been having the runs for the past 4 days. Your poor son!! Mama...get him to the dr! I was told NOT to eat dairy, meats or maybe the yougurt is actually counterproductive. Those three things are the hardest to digest. Also, he needs to go on the BRAT diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and toast. Juices and gatorade.
The dr. will probably tell you the same thing...anitbiotics could cetainly have caused the onset, but it shouldn't be lasting for 5 weeks. He is probably dehydrated and very very tired.



answers from Sacramento on

Rotavirus? Our son had it when he was two and he had diarrhea for two weeks straight. I know it can last longer with rotavirus.

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