Health Topics

Congenital Diarrheal Disorders

Some infants can be born having very loose, large volume stools that occur multiple times in a day.  The diarrhea usually starts within the first two to four weeks of life. If this diarrhea persists, the child may become dehydrated and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.  

There are some very rare problems that may cause this severe diarrhea. Most of these problems are with the lining of the intestine (tufting enteropathy, microvillus inclusion disease), or the way the intestine works (transport defects).  

In these disorders, the lining of the intestine is different from the normal intestine.  The shape and structure of the intestine leads to poor absorption / uptake of food. Most of these problems will continue to cause bad diarrhea for many years and require a specialist to help manage them.  

Whenever a baby has such severe diarrhea in the first month of life that he or she needs to be hospitalized, a careful search for the cause is very important.

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Last Updated: 09/2013