When you have diarrhea, your bowel movements occur as watery, loose feces. You will notice a variety of runniness, along with varying degrees of intensity. Diarrhea brings on an insistent “urge to go.” Some people cannot control this kind of pressure. This condition happens for many reasons, including things as simple as stomach flu or a virus. Diarrhea also can point to something more serious happening in your body. In some cases, it is an early warning sign for a serious digestive condition. Of course, there are many treatments for diarrhea, ranging from medication to holistic therapies. Let’s take a look at the ten most common ways to deal with this condition.
When you have loose, watery stools at least two or three times a day, your body is losing vital water. Think about this happening over a period of two or three days. Although diarrhea may stop on its own, you likely will become dehydrated. The dehydration factor is especially dangerous for the elderly and children. Some signs of dehydration include frequent thirst, urine that is a dark color, dry skin, tiredness, and light-headedness. In children, you should also watch for a dry mouth and tongue, fever, no tears when crying, sunken eyes or stomach area and skin that will not go flat when you pinch and release it. The goal of any treatment is to replace body fluids and electrolytes. Sports drinks and water are the best remedies. You should avoid sugary drinks, milk or dairy product, and alcoholic beverages. If the cause of your diarrhea is a parasite or bacterial infection, you will need antibiotics.
Watch Your Diet
No matter what is the cause of your diarrhea, your healing connects to your diet. If you eat foods that encourage diarrhea to continue, it will be tough for you to get well. Some foods tend to soothe your system, including crackers, bananas, rice, cooked cereal like Cream of Wheat, applesauce, bread, and unbuttered toast. If you prefer to stick to liquids, you should try broths, weak, decaffeinated tea, products with electrolytes, coconut water. Some people also enjoy Jello. You should avoid certain foods when you have diarrhea. There include anything spicy, fried, greasy or processed. It is also best to stay away from artificial sweeteners, raw vegetables, carbonated drinks, all citrus fruits, milk and dairy products, onions, corn, and alcohol. Your food choices should be bland with few spices. If you suspect that a particular food is causing your diarrhea, try to avoid it in the future whenever possible.
Several over-the-counter medications can be helpful in stopping a bout of diarrhea. Such medicines coat the stomach and relieve diarrhea, bloating gas, pressure, and cramps. You should remember, though, that these drugstore cures often bring only temporary relief from your symptoms. Pharmacists and doctors generally advise patients not to use this kind of medicine for more than two consecutive days. If your diarrhea continues longer than that, you should make an appointment with a physician or specialist. You need to be sure that it is not an early warning sign of a much more serious condition or disease. In some extreme cases, patients need antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria in their gut. Doctors diagnose others with Crohn’s disease and start them on a routine steroid to control diarrhea and other symptoms.
Sometimes, you may want something natural to help alleviate symptoms of diarrhea. Ginger is an ideal place to start exploring alternatives to the usual medicines. Ginger is gentle and calming for the digestive system. However, there are good reasons that you should consult a doctor before including ginger in your diet. For example, ginger is effective in lowering high blood pressure because it helps to thin your blood. If you take medications that thin your blood, you risk making your blood too thin with ginger. Ginger treats many stomach problems. These conditions include motion sickness, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, morning sickness, colic, and diarrhea. You can mix dried ginger powder into drinks or smoothies or take a ginger supplement in pill form. You can also try an herbal tea that contains ginger as the main ingredient.
Although most doctors advise you to avoid dairy products when you have diarrhea, they recommend yogurt. The probiotics, or live cultures, in yogurt replace the beneficial bacteria that your body tends to flush out with diarrhea. Yogurt, then, protects the intestines by coating them with good bacteria. One warning that doctors give is to make sure the yogurt you choose is low in sugar. If you eat sugar while you have diarrhea, your condition can get worse. You can eat yogurt alone or mix it into a blender with fruit for a smoothie. To make the effect of yogurt last, you should consider not using it as a temporary fix for diarrhea. You should try to incorporate yogurt into your daily diet to help promote a healthy gut.
We mentioned earlier on this list that bananas are on the “safe list” of foods that you can eat when experiencing diarrhea. However, eating bananas also can help treat diarrhea, as well. Bananas include pectin, a fiber that helps absorb the liquids that collect in the intestines. Bananas assist in decreasing the amount of liquid that exits the body through the stool, helping to make your bowels firmer. Many doctors and nutritionists consider bananas an ideal food. They contain no cholesterol, fat or salt. They are also full of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6, and complex carbohydrates. All of these qualities make bananas easy to digest for any age group. It is soothing to a weakened digestive tract. One of the best qualities of bananas is that they have plenty of electrolytes that come from potassium. During diarrhea, you lose vital body fluids, and bananas can help you re-hydrate.
Drink Chamomile Tea
Health practitioners recommend chamomile to treat problems with the intestines. Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, chamomile relieves temporary bouts of diarrhea, nausea, gas, and stomach ulcers. People who battle with stomach issues take chamomile as a supplement. The chamomile flower contains large amounts of tannin, which eases digestive problems. However, if you brew a pot of chamomile tea, you will feel just as much relief as any other form. You can find chamomile tea at just about any retail store that sells packaged or loose teas. You also can mix chamomile with a pinch of peppermint, which helps to settle your stomach during diarrhea.
Eat a Handful of Blueberries
There are two ingredients in blueberries that help ease the symptoms of diarrhea. Antioxidants in this fruit can increase a person’s overall health. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, which have some antibacterial properties. The third ingredient in blueberries, pectin, acts similar to that in bananas. It soaks up some of the liquid in the intestines and reduces the amount of fluid in the stool. When you eat blueberries, you are helping to kill the bacteria that is causing your diarrhea. You can eat blueberries washed and raw or mixed in with other foods like hot cereal. Tea lovers enjoy blueberry tea. This is helpful if you are trying to stick to liquids until your diarrhea passes.
Most adults experience diarrhea at least two to three times a year. However, for some this condition as a repeated problem. If you deal with chronic diarrhea, acupuncture may give you a better ongoing treatment. This alternative treatment may not come to mind when you think about ways to alleviate diarrhea. Nonetheless, many people have sworn by this method for years. Studies show that acupuncture can change the movement of the intestinal tract. As a therapy, this helps with both constipation and diarrhea. Those who have had success with acupuncture as a treatment for diarrhea say that the relief comes very quickly. Swift comfort is significant when you have been having diarrhea for two or three days.
Probiotics are live bacteria. These small organisms are like the live cultures that you find in yogurt. People take them into their bodies by eating fermented foods or taking supplements. When you purchase probiotics from a pharmacy or health store, you usually take it in a powder or a pill form. Most of the time when stomach flu or virus causes a patient’s illness, medication removes much of the bacteria from the gut. Medicine also gets rid of the bacteria that the human body needs to stave off symptoms like diarrhea. Probiotics put these “good bacteria” back into your system. The presence of these healthy organisms eases your diarrhea. It is important to buy the right probiotic for your condition. For example, the best live culture for diarrhea is different than the one for healthy skin. You should also remember to check expiration dates on your packaging. The label should tell you that the colony forming units, or CFUs, are in the billions. A final thing to check on the label is the shelf life. The bacteria should have a best by date and list the exact strains used in the formula.