Diarrhea ComplicationsThe most concerning complication of diarrhea from a healthcare provider's perspective is dehydration. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means your body does not have enough fluid to work properly. Every time you breathe out, sweat, urinate, or have a bowel movement, you lose fluid. Diarrhea increases the amount of fluid lost in bowel movements. Along with the fluid, you lose salts -- chemicals that your body needs to work properly. The loss of fluids and salts can be serious, especially for babies, young children, and older people.
General signs of dehydration include:
- Urinating less often than usual
- Dry skin
- Dark colored urine.
Signs of dehydration in children and babies include:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for three hours or more
- Sunken abdomen, eyes, or cheeks
- High fever
- Listlessness or irritability
- Skin that does not flatten when pinched and released.
If you suspect that you or your child is dehydrated, call your healthcare provider immediately. Severe dehydration may require hospitalization.