Health Decision Guides

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.

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