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