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Teens and Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an uncomfortable part of life that most teens experience at some point. Food poisoning, viruses, and other illnesses can cause diarrhea and other health issues. If you experience this problem, you may be embarrassed to tell your parents, but it is important to let them know so you can get the right treatment.

Common Causes of Diarrhea in Teens

Some of the most common causes of diarrhea in teens are viral infections, bacterial infections and food sensitivities. Diarrhea also has other potential causes, such as:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Food poisoning and other intestinal infections are more common than you might think. In an interview with MSNBC, an official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as many as 25 percent of Americans get food poisoning each year.

Food Allergies

If you suffer from food allergies, you may experience diarrhea, upset stomach, abdominal pain and other symptoms. In serious cases, exposure to an allergen also causes wheezing, swollen tongue and difficulty breathing. The best way to avoid these reactions is to stay away from foods that are known to cause allergic reactions. If you have severe allergies, it is important to use caution when dining at friends’ houses and restaurants.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Some teens have a medical condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This disorder causes diarrhea, cramping, gas and bloating. These symptoms may go away after a bowel movement. Approximately 20 percent of Americans have IBS, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. This disorder has no cure, but there are treatments available to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. Following a special diet may help you avoid painful episodes of cramping and diarrhea. IBS sufferers may also have to avoid eating large meals and increase their fiber intake. These dietary changes may have an impact on the social life of a teen, but they are important for your health.

Health Problems Associated With Diarrhea

Occasional diarrhea may not cause any long-term effects, but some people develop other problems as a result of their frequent diarrhea. Some of these issues cause a lot of pain and embarrassment for teens. In some cases, it is possible to stop diarrhea by taking over-the-counter medications. If these medications do not work, it is important to see a doctor. An experienced doctor will know which medication to prescribe for your symptoms.


Dehydration is another possible consequence of severe diarrhea. This condition occurs when you lose too much fluid and electrolytes from your body. Electrolytes are substances that conduct electricity, so they are essential for proper heart, muscle and nerve function. Drinking plenty of fluids is one way to prevent dehydration. A doctor may also recommend drinking a hydration solution to replace lost electrolytes. Some of the electrolytes found in these drinks include sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Intestinal Damage

Severe diarrhea may cause damage to the rectum and lower part of the intestine. Some teens experience pain and bleeding caused by tears to the delicate tissue of the digestive system. If you have diarrhea on a medical basis, you should seek professional treatment so you can get expert advice about the problem. Diarrhea is a common problem that affects teens as well as people of all ages, but it is important to control it so you can avoid other possible health problems.

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