Diathesis, Exudative-Catarrhal

Diathesis, Exudative-Catarrhal


an anomaly of the human constitution that is caused by altered allergic reactivity of the organism to the action of ordinary physiological stimulants. Exudative-catarrhal diathesis manifests itself most clearly in the first two to three years of life and weakens after three to five years, but its phenomena may be observed in both the first months of the infant’s life and in all the subsequent periods of growth and development.

The causes of the occurrence of exudative-catarrhal diathesis and its mechanism of development have not been finally clarified. The infant organism becomes sensitized by different allergens such as food and bacterial, domestic, and medicinal substances. In the origin of exudative-catarrhal diathesis, however, functional characteristics of the central and autonomic nervous systems which are frequently hereditary play the basic role. In this the mechanism of neurohumoral regulation is impaired, which leads to change in the metabolic activity and sensitization of the organism.

Children with exudative-catarrhal diathesis are externally flabby, “loose” or not very fat, and irritable; they are predisposed to skin diseases (intertrigo, seborrhea, pruritus, eczema, and urticaria). Exudative inflammatory processes also develop in the mucous membranes: desquamation on the tongue, conjunctivitises, rhinitises, and bronchitises. Pyelitises and unstable stools, sometimes with a tendency toward constipation, are often observed. A decrease of immunity is typical of exudative-catarrhal diathesis, and this leads to a protracted course for many diseases and to various complications. Eczema, neurodermatitis, asthmatic bronchitis, and bronchial asthma may develop in children of all ages.

Therapy consists in good care of the child, a correct schedule, a complete diet with the exception of products (chocolate, strawberries, citrus fruits, fish, eggs, and so on) that cause skin changes in the child, vitamin therapy, and antihistamines.


Belousov, V. A. Uchebnik detskikh boleznei. Moscow, 1963.
Maslov, M. S. Lektsii po fakul’ tetskoi pediatrii …. Moscow, 1960.