Most uncomplicated cases go away on their own without treatment, except extra fluids to prevent dehydration, and testing for the specific cause of diarrhea is usually not necessary. Antidiarrheal medications should usually be avoided in children.
Common causes of acute diarrhea, lasting less than 14 days, include:
Persistent or chronic diarrhea is defined as diarrhea that lasts for more than two weeks. A referral to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist is sometimes necessary to evaluate children with chronic diarrhea, especially if the initial screening examinations are normal. In addition to infections, common causes of chronic diarrhea can include conditions that interfere with digestion or absorption, and include:
Testing for chronic diarrhea can sometimes include a barium enema or other imaging studies, ileocolonoscopy, and biopsies, especially if the child has failure to thrive.