What are common causes of dehydration?

Updated: Dec 07, 2018
  • Author: Lennox H Huang, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Timothy E Corden, MD  more...
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Common causes of dehydration include the following:

  • Gastroenteritis: This is the most common cause of dehydration. If both vomiting and diarrhea are present, dehydration may rapidly progress. [5, 6] Rotaviruses are the most common global causes for dehydration and severe diarrheal disease in infants and young children. [7]

  • Stomatitis: Pain may severely limit oral intake.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): Dehydration is caused by osmotic diuresis. Weight loss is caused by both excessive fluid losses and tissue catabolism. Rapid rehydration, especially rapid initial volume resuscitation, may be associated with a poor neurologic outcome. DKA requires very specific and controlled treatment (see Diabetic Ketoacidosis).

  • Febrile illness: Fever causes increased insensible fluid losses and may affect appetite.

  • Pharyngitis: This may decrease oral intake.

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