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Children's Health

Vinegar smelling stool

08/24/1998

Question:

My 14 month old has had a stomach virus his stool has gone from foul smelling to smelling like vinegar is this the normal progression of a enterovirus?

Answer:

What you describe as vinegar smelling stool implies that there is an acid like smell to the stool since vinegar is acetic acid. This increased acidity can be more irritating to the stomach and intestinal lining. To say it is a normal progression with an enterovirus is not possible without the child being seen by his primary health care provider and a stool specimen being examined.

When infants and young toddlers have a stomach virus, the stomach contents can change quickly. Many times parents will say that the bowel movement appears just like the red cherry jello the child just ate. The peristalsis action of the GI system is working very hard and fast.

The greatest concern for the young child is becoming dehydrated. Some symptoms of dehydration to watch for include decreased urine output, very concentrated smelling urine, lack of crying tears, dry lips, rapid breathing, depressed soft spot on the top of the head and listlessness. These symptoms should be reported immediately to your doctor.

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Response by:

Marcia   Hern, RN, EdD Marcia Hern, RN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati