There are very, very few things more miserable than dealing with a bad case of diarrhea. However, the vast majority of parents would argue that this misery is increased 10 fold when it’s your child suffering with it and you’re left dealing with the aftermath –ick! These natural diarrhea remedies for kids will help you keep sane and help your child feel better fast.
What is Diarrhea?
If you’ve had it, you know. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, however, diarrhea is defined as having loose or watery stools more than three times a day.
If your child has an urgent need to use the restroom, coupled with stomach cramps and even nausea, it’s definitely diarrhea. There are two main types of diarrhea kids can have:
Acute diarrhea (there’s nothing cute about it, but oh well) is defined as having diarrhea for a short period of time, generally no longer than a few days. This is when the natural diarrhea remedies for kids will be most effective.
Chronic diarrhea, on the other hand, is when you have diarrhea for at least four weeks at a time. If this occurs, it is typically a sign of a chronic illness that is causing diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea?
If you’re reading this article and looking for natural diarrhea remedies for kids, you may be wondering how your child even got sick in the first place.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact origin of the sickness, as a wide variety of things can cause diarrhea. A few of the most common causes include:
1) Bacteria/parasites. If your child has traveled to a new country or been in close contact with someone else who has, their gut may be exposed to new bacteria that can cause changes to your intestinal microbiome. This process means that some organisms in your intestinal lining may die, which ultimately leaves your child feeling unwell.
2) Food poisoning. If your family has accidentally consumed spoiled or infected food or water, food poisoning may have been contracted. Food poisoning can do some pretty terrible things to your kids’ bodies, leading you to the internet to frantically search natural diarrhea remedies for kids!
3) Antibiotics. The same line of reasoning and same biological processes causes diarrhea when you take antibiotics because the bacteria in the gut are dying, which causes water to flood into the large intestine, causing watery stools.
4) Viruses. There are several strains of viruses that can cause diarrhea. In adults, rotavirus is often the cause, but that can vary regionally. Kids tend to pick up viruses much more simply because they aren’t cognizant of good hygiene practices yet.
5) Medications. As mentioned earlier, antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Other medications such as chemotherapy drugs and antacids containing magnesium may also upset your child’s stomach.
6) Lactose intolerance. If your child gets diarrhea after every grilled cheese, ice cream, or glass of milk, they may have lactose intolerance. The inability to process lactose can cause water to flood the large intestine, leading to diarrhea.
7) Artificial sweeteners. Fake sugars are not good for your child for many reasons. As children have sensitive digestive tracts, it is important to avoid artificial sweeteners since they can lead to bloating and diarrhea
8) Digestive disorders. While unlikely, it is important to know that there are a variety of disorders of the digestive system. Common ones are Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease. If your child is having chronic diarrhea, it is time to consult a doctor.
When to Worry About Diarrhea in Kids
As a parent, it can be tempting to worry about every little issue going on with your child. Thankfully, the majority of the time diarrhea will pass within a few days without any lasting issue for your child. It is important to know when the issue requires a doctor’s care, however.
Dehydration is the biggest concern in children with diarrhea. If your child has had several days of it, you need to watch very carefully for these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention if they occur. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Crying without tears
- Drowsiness, unresponsiveness or irritability
- Sunken appearance to the abdomen, eyes or cheeks
- Not having a wet diaper in three or more hours
- Dry mouth and tongue
Outside of dehydration, there are several other warning signs children need medical care when experiencing diarrhea. If you notice any of the following, call your doctor immediately:
- Your child has had diarrhea for more than three days
- Your child is younger than 6 months old and has had any diarrhea
- They are vomiting bloody, green, or yellow fluid
- Inability to hold down fluids with vomiting that has occurred more than two times
- A high fever in children six months or older, or any fever whatsoever in infants younger than six months old
- Bloody stool
5 Natural Diarrhea Remedies for Kids
It’s important to know that pretty much everyone has or will have diarrhea at some point in their lives. For adults, it’s easy to pop an Imodium or two and call it a day, but kids need a softer hand and more natural remedies in many delicate situations such as this. Here are some of the best natural diarrhea remedies for kids.
1) Drink more liquids. Your child is losing quite a bit of fluid through their rectum. Make sure to replace it so they stay hydrated. In older children, try to avoid milk. Nursing infants or those on formula should still drink milk, but older children may do better avoiding dairy until they feel better.
Never give fruit juice to a child with diarrhea as it can have a laxative effect. Pedialyte should be reserved for when the child is dehydrated or if they have had several bouts.
2) Try the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet is made for situations like this. In fact, it’s one of the best natural diarrhea remedies for kids out there. BRAT stands for banana, rice, applesauce, and toast—the four “safe” foods, if you will.
3) Supplement with probiotics. To help load your child’s gut back up with the good, healthy bacteria, give them a probiotic. There are so many different types to choose from, but I prefer the packets of probiotic that you can sprinkle onto your child’s food without them noticing a difference in taste or texture.
4) Raw ginger can help soothe a child’s tummy. Raw ginger is extremely strong-flavored and a little goes a long way. Instead of dicing up raw ginger root, purchase a ginger tea and make it for your child instead.
5) Peppermint oil will help soothe the stomach. However, it is a very, very potent oil that can actually cause skin burns or rash if not diluted properly. Dilute 5 drops of peppermint oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive oil and mix well. Then rub a little on your child’s tummy as needed.
With a little patience and love, these natural diarrhea remedies for kids will help your little one feel better faster–safely.