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Children's Health

White Foam Diarrhea

10/26/2010

Question:

My 2 1/2 year old has been having diarrhea and vomiting for the past week. No fever except one night (low grade 100.8) and complaining of stomach pains. She also says she is tired all the time. I noticed a few days ago she was having light tan to white diarrhea and today it has been white foam. I took her to the doctors this morning and they told me nothing was wrong and wait a few more days. If it is still happening in a few days go back. I don`t think this is normal is it? Should I get another opinion?

Answer:

This illness sounds like it is an acute gastroenteritis caused by any number of viruses. If diarrhea persists beyond 2 weeks, the diarrhea may be caused by a parasite called giardia or perpetuated by transient intolerance to lactose present in cow's milk. Although stool color may change during diarrheal episodes, light color might suggest hepatitis A, and studies to assess this may be indicated such as liver chemistries and specific tests looking for viral hepatitis.

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Response by:

James E Heubi, MD James E Heubi, MD
Professor and Associate Chair of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati