Having a child with diarrhoea is no fun for anyone in the household! Most of the time, runny tummy only causes discomfort for a day or two, however some kids have loose runny stools for longer or more often than they should, and this can be pretty messy, difficult and embarrassing for the child.
Chronic diarrhoea can be due to a number of different things ranging from simple reasons like teething or eating too much fruit, to more problematic issues like a hangover from a viral, parasitic or bacterial infection, food poisoning, coeliac disease (an autoimmune disease linked to eating gluten), gut inflammation linked to Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, and may even be a sign of fructose of lactose intolerance.
Toddler diarrhoea is also very common, and often brushed off by a GP as being part of being a toddler, but it could also be post-antibiotic diarrhoea signalling that the gut microbiome is depleted or it can even be linked to a low zinc status.
It is important to have a child with loose stools for more than a few days checked out by your doctor in case anything significant is going on. This is especially so in babies under 12 months or if your child seems dehydrated or has bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from the bottom.
If loose stools are mild or your doctor is not concerned, then here are some things to put in place to help firm things up:
- Hydration is key – water is ideal & plenty of it! Rehydration salts can be a game-changer & I particularly love Nuun as they have child-friendly fruity flavours – no icky fake sugars or colourings.
- Try soothing herbal teas such as Licorice, Ginger, Fennel, Peppermint or Turmeric. We find Pukka the sweetest & most child-friendly and some are even suitable for tiddly babies.
- Only eat super-bland food – don’t freak out if your child stops eating entirely for a few days, as that is their natural way of letting their gut recover without the food getting in the way.
Dry toast, rice, oatcakes & plain crackers are probably all they handle at first & then build in chicken stock, soups, steamed veggies, chicken, eggs or white fish. Something salty also helps the flavour & can settle the tum, so try salt, soya sauce or miso. Try honey or maple syrup if sweet food is their thing, mixed with oat milk and turmeric.
- Try Beneficial Yeast & Bacteria – Saccharomyces Boulardii is a yeast-based supplement that is similar to probiotics and has been specifically found to help with diarrhoea. In one study it was found to significantly reduce the duration of acute diarrhoea as well as the time spent in hospital. It is also found to be helpful at preventing antibiotic resistant diarrhoea in children and respiratory infection induced diarrhoea.
After the diarrhoea has cleared up, build in probiotic strains through food like yoghurt & kefir as well as probiotic supplements daily for at least 6 weeks afterwards.
- Use stool-binders such as Activated Charcoal combined with Apple (it doesn’t taste of much and it makes a mysterious black potion that kids love – it will make your child’s poo go black!) or Enterosgel (a transparent gel made from an organic mineral polymethylsiloxane polyhydrate). You can add one of these options to plain water or some warm milk or cordial. These both help to firm things up & absorb the toxins and uncomfortable nausea produced by the bug you have caught. Both are helpful if the loose stool is due to an infection, food poisoning or ingestion of a toxic element.
If these tips do not help, then please be in touch with one of our NatureDoc clinical team to assess your child and organise further laboratory testing to try and establish the root cause of the loose stools.
- Effects of Saccharomyces Boulardii in Children With Acute Diarrhoea
- Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhoea With Saccharomyces Boulardii in Children With Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infections
- Saccharomyces Boulardii CNCM I-745 Reduces the Duration of Diarrhoea, Length of Emergency Care and Hospital Stay in Children With Acute Diarrhoea
- Investigation of the Adsorption Capacity of the Enterosorbent Enterosgel for a Range of Bacterial Toxins, Bile Acids and Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Enterosgel for the Treatment of Adults With Acute Diarrhoea in a Primary Care Setting: A Randomised Controlled Trial
- The Use of Activated Charcoal to Treat Intoxications
- Activated Charcoal
- Treatment After Childhood Poisoning
- Activated Charcoal for Pediatric Poisonings: The Universal Antidote?