Diarrhea pp 341-356 | Cite as

Functional Diarrhea (Non-specific Chronic Diarrhea, Toddler Diarrhea)

  • Roberto Gomez
  • Marc A. Benninga
Part of the Clinical Gastroenterology book series (CG)


Functional diarrhea (FD) or non-specific chronic diarrhea (NSCD) is considered as the most frequent cause of chronic diarrhea without failure to thrive in toddlers. According to the Rome III classification, this clinical entity is defined as a daily painless, recurrent passage of three or more, large, unformed stools during a period of at least 4 weeks, with an absence of alarm signs such as failure to thrive if caloric intake is adequate, abdominal pain, or blood in the stool and emesis. The clinical history is the key point to identify patients with FD. Minimal blood and stool tests may help to differentiate between the causes of diarrhea such as infection, celiac disease, and inflammatory conditions. The pathophysiology of FD is not well understood. Starch, fructose, and sorbitol malabsorption have been implicated as important nutritional substances in the development of FD. In the same hand, parental factors are important in the perpetuation of functional diarrhea and induction of complications such as malnutrition. Functional diarrhea in childhood is a self-limiting disease and therefore no treatment is necessary. The recognition that dietary factors play a key role in the majority of these children has focused awareness upon the dietary intervention of this FGID.

Key Words

Functional diarrhea Toddler’s diarrhea Unspecific diarrhea Chronic diarrhea 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Gomez
    • 1
  • Marc A. Benninga
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric GastroenterologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and NutritionEmma Children’s Hospital/Academic Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands

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