Many infants experience teething and diarrhea at the same time. The question everyone wants to know is, “does teething cause diarrhea?” Teething is a normal physiological event in all infants. Many parents remember their baby’s first tooth eruption. Despite the fact that teething is a common occurrence, it has been associated with many myths and erroneous beliefs. Some infants go through the process of teething without any problems and yet other infants develop many symptoms. One symptom which has created controversy is diarrhea.
The question of diarrhea while teething is a point of disagreement because it is not seen in all babies and even the frequency is variable. When teething diarrhea is associated with a fever, abdominal pain or blood in the stools, then a visit to a physician is recommended. However, in most cases teething diarrhea is a short lived process and disappears within 24-48 hours. The diarrhea is usually mild and only consists of a few loose bowel motions.
Parents have to remember that diarrhea during teething is not seen in all babies. Moreover, despite many studies it is not even known if the diarrhea is related to teething. How does teething cause diarrhea is also not well understood. Some experts believe that perhaps the excess saliva may stimulate the bowels to move more frequently. In any case, the treatment of diarrhea is supportive. The baby should be observed to ensure that the abdomen is not getting distended and that he/she is taking in adequate fluids. Most babies who have diarrhea during teething generally show no discomfort except for a few loose bowel movements. Most doctors recommend that if persistent diarrhea occurs which lasts more than 2-3 days, then parents should seek medical assistance.
Another common feature of babies who teeth and have diarrhea is the appearance of a common cold like flu. The infant may appear congested, be irritable and have a flushed face. Some physicians believe that perhaps the diarrhea in such cases may be related to the flu virus and nothing to do with teething.
Other more common symptoms associated with teething include drooling, a mild wet cough, pain, low grade fever, poor sleep and loss of appetite. All these symptoms are transient and usually worse after eruption of the first teeth. Once the first two teeth have appeared, the rest of teething process goes without incident.
Teething patterns are inherited. If one parent had delayed teeth eruption and a whole host of symptoms, you can rest assured that the baby will go through a similar scenario. Teething is not a magical process but a well known physiological event in the life of all infants. The problem is that this process is associated with numerous wives tales and folk lore stories. The best way to treat teething and diarrhea is to know understand the process- the more knowledgeable you become the less worries you will have later on.