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Why is my child passing such frequent bowels?

Q: My child is 8 months & 12 days old. We are in Goa and these days it is raining heavily in Goa. For the last 7-8 days my son is passing at least 7-8 motions daily. The first 2-3 days it was watery then it stopped for 2 days and then one day he passed hard bowel and again for last 3 days he is passing motion as soon as we feed him his meal like ragi porridge or rice/cereal/vegetable cooked and ground. We have checked the stool and found nothing. The doctor says that it is because of the weather and he has a cold. I am very much worried as at night also he passes 2-3 motions. He is feeling very uncomfortable. I would like to know what must be the reason and what treatment we should give? Is it because of teething?

A:Diarrhoea (an increase in the volume of stool with diminished stool consistency) is a very common disorder seen in children which is usually caused by infections but may be secondary to non-infectious conditions like improper diet, malabsorption, allergy etc. It has a variety of causes, may range from mild to severe and is usually self-limiting. If untreated or improperly treated, it can lead to dehydration. Individual stool patterns vary widely between children and those breast fed normally may have 5-6 stools per day. Viral gastroenteritis is the most common cause of infectious diarrhoea while Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter organisms are the 3 most common causes of bacterial diarrhoea in children. A stool pH level of 5.5 or less or presence of reducing substances indicates carbohydrate intolerance, which is usually secondary to viral illness and transient in nature. The presence of white blood cells in stools suggests an enteroinvasive infection of the large intestine and excludes the possibility of enterotoxigenic organisms like E coli, Vibrio species and viruses. Since most infectious diarrhoea is self-limiting, medical care is primarily supportive. Oral rehydration (OR) is the mainstay of treatment for all children affected by diarrhoea; never neglect OR, even in the absence of overt dehydration, because maintaining hydration is necessary. OR is the universally recommended form of treatment, proven to be successful even in children who vomit or have mild-to-moderate dehydration.

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