Recent Blog Articles
Nicotine addiction explained — and how medications can help
Is your vision impaired? Tips to cope
Misgendering: What it is and why it matters
Healthy brain, healthier heart?
Stories connect us
Wondering about a headline-grabbing drug? Read on
Respiratory virus cases tick upward: What parents should know
Hope: Why it matters
Will new guidelines for heart failure affect you?
Want probiotics but dislike yogurt? Try these foods
Diarrhea in Children and Teens
Diarrhea is loose, watery, or more frequent soft bowel movements. Common causes of diarrhea in children include infections of the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract), changes in diet or anxiety. Most cases of diarrhea are not serious, go away in a day or two and can be managed at home. However, diarrhea that happens along with persistent abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, or not urinating may require a doctor's attention. Diarrhea that seems to be getting worse or that lasts more than a week also should be discussed with a doctor.
Answering the questions in this tool will help you understand more about the possible causes of diarrhea in children, and will help you decide when to call your doctor.
For information on diarrhea in infants, visit our Diarrhea in Infants Decision Guide.
Children with diarrhea can become dehydrated when they do not take in enough fluids to replace those liquids that are lost with the diarrhea.
Signs that your child may be dehydrated include
making less urine than usual or has not made any urine in six to eight hours
increased sleepiness (lethargy)
decreased appetite or poor feeding
fast heart rate
dry mouth or tongue
pale, dry skin
lack of tears
Does your child show any signs of dehydration?
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.