Chronic Diarrhoea in Infants and Children: Approaching and Managing the Problem

  • Andrew S. DayEmail author
Pediatric Gastroenterology (SA Saeed and K Sandberg, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pediatric Gastroenterology
  2. Topical Collection on Pediatric Gastroenterology


Purpose of review

Chronic diarrhoea, defined as loose and more frequent motions continuing for longer than 4 weeks, is a common presenting symptom in infants and children. While this can be the presentation of a significant underlying disease process, it can also be benign or self-resolving. This review serves to highlight the range of conditions that can manifest with chronic diarrhoea, while emphasising approaches to assessment and management.

Recent findings

Increasing recognition of chronic diarrhoea in the context of immunodeficiency, especially those that feature gut inflammation, has changed the approach and management of these conditions. Similarly, the understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of various types of congenital diarrhoea (typically presenting in infancy with severe course) have advanced in recent years along with new genetic discoveries, leading to new approaches. New management options are also being considered for conditions such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and lymphangiectasia.


Increasing recognition of the role of critical factors such as diet, genetic risks, and disruptions to the intestinal microbiota has resulted in exciting new approaches to some of the conditions that can present with chronic diarrhoea in childhood.


Infants Children Diarrhoea Management 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Day reports personal fees from Janssen, personal fees from Sanofi and personal fees from AbbVie.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of Otago, ChristchurchChristchurchNew Zealand

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