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Children's Health

My son has bright green diarrhea

11/15/2007

Question:

My son had a stomach ache 3 days ago he vomited once and he hasnt been able to stop going to washroom now his stool is very runny smells extremely bad and almost a neon green color and very mucusy what should i do

Answer:

The green color of the stool most likely reflects the very fast passage time of stool through your son's intestines. The passage of food is so fast that there is no time for iron absorption and thus it remains in the stool and colors it green. Another source of green color is often food dyes such as in sports drinks and lime jello. If your child has not had these products, then iron loss in the stool is the likely cause of the green color.

The mucous in the stool indicates a severe diarrhea and the greater likelihood of a significant health problem at the root of the diarrhea. After three days of these stools, it is very much time for him to see his doctor for evaluation. The younger he is, the more urgent it is that he see his doctor soon.

Make sure that he is drinking fluids often. If the vomiting returns, offer only 1/4 cup of fluid at a time. If he is under 4 years of age, it is best to give him Pedialyte or a similar product, as you work to have him seen by a doctor.

You did not mention your son's age. Young children become dehydrated very quickly. In young children this can be deadly; so if he is under 3 years of age, take him to pediatric Urgent Care or his doctor as soon as you can do so. Regardless of his age, if he is having any trouble breathing, is sleeping a lot and poorly responsive to you, has sunken eyes, is not urinating, and/or has no tears, it is important for him to go to a pediatric hospital emergency room as soon as possible. diarriha

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University