Jump to the Menu Plan for Diarrhea Problems
You may blame it on a 24-hour bug or something you ate, but if you’re like the average American, you’ll suffer once or twice this year from diarrhea: frequent, watery bowel movements that may be accompanied by painful cramps or nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea is uncomfortable and unpleasant, but generally no big deal in otherwise healthy adults. However, if diarrhea becomes a chronic condition, the situation changes. Or if it affects the very young, the elderly, or the chronically ill, it can be dangerous. And if you’re not careful to drink enough fluids, you could find yourself complicating what should have been a simple enough situation.
There are essentially two types of diarrhea: acute and chronic. Thankfully, the vast majority of diarrhea is acute, or short term. This type of diarrhea keeps you on the toilet for a couple of days but doesn’t stick around long. Acute diarrhea is also known as non-inflammatory diarrhea. Its symptoms are what most people associate with the condition: watery, frequent stools accompanied by stomach cramps, gas and nausea.
Acute diarrhea usually has a bacterial or viral culprit. Gastroenteritis, mistakenly called the “stomach flu,” is one of the most common infections that cause diarrhea. Gastroenteritis can be caused by many different viruses. Eating or drinking foods contaminated with bacteria can also cause diarrhea. Other causes of acute diarrhea are lactose intolerance, sweeteners such as sorbitol, over-the-counter antacids that contain magnesium, too much vitamin C, and some antibiotics.
In this article, you will find the home remedies you can follow to keep yourself healthy while you are battling diarrhea. You will also find out what to do in more extreme cases of diarrhea.
You can lose a lot of liquid in diarrhea, but you also lose electrolytes, minerals such as sodium and potassium that are critical in the running of your body. Here’s how to replace what you’re losing:
Drink plenty of fluids. Consume two quarts (eight cups) of fluids a day, three quarts (12 cups) if you’re running a fever. Plain water lacks electrolytes, but it’s a good, gentle-on-the-tummy option that can help you replace some of the fluid that you’ve lost. Other choices include weak tea with a little sugar, sports drinks such as Gatorade, flat soda pop (decaffeinated flavors such as ginger ale are best), and fruit juices other than apple and prune, which have a laxative effect.
Buy an over-the-counter electrolyte replacement formula. Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, and Ricelyte are available without a prescription from your local drugstore. These formulas contain fluids and minerals in the proper proportion.
Homemade Rehydration Drink
Plain water doesn’t provide necessary nutrients or electrolytes and may not be absorbed with diarrhea.
You can make an inexpensive rehydration drink at home. But do not give this homemade drink to children younger than 12. Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the following:
• 1 quart (950 mL) water
• ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
• 6 teaspoons (30 g) sugar
TIP:Do not drink apple juice this will make diarrhea worse.
Whatever you choose to drink, keep it cool; it will be less irritating that way. Sip, don’t guzzle; it will be easier on your insides if you take frequent sips of liquid instead of guzzling down a glass at a time.
Look for yogurt with live cultures. These “cultures” are friendly bacteria that can go in and line your intestines, providing you with protection from the bad guys. If you’ve already got diarrhea, yogurt can help produce lactic acid in your intestines, which can kill off the nasty bacteria and get you feeling better, faster.
Live-culture yogurt (kefir) is also the best way to treat diarrhea caused by oral antibiotics. The antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria in the intestines, but live-culture products replenish those bacteria. Better still, use these from the time you begin the medication, and you may avoid the diarrhea altogether.
If you’re not very young or old or suffering from any chronic illness, it may be safe just to put up with it for a couple of days. After all, it’s often your body’s natural way of getting rid of something that shouldn’t be there to begin with.
Try resting in bed and sipping any broth, but have it lukewarm instead of hot, and add a little salt to it if it’s not already salty. A heating pad on your belly may also help relieve abdominal cramps.
Stopping the diarrhea with an over-the-counter (OTC) medication may not be the best thing for your body, since the diarrhea probably reflects your body’s attempt to get rid of a troublesome bug. If you do feel it’s necessary, however, Pepto-Bismol is probably the safest OTC antidiarrheal medicine. It also appears to have a mild antibacterial effect, useful against traveler’s diarrhea, which is usually bacteria-related.
Again, you’re probably better off going without antidiarrheal medication. If you absolutely need some relief, however, you can try one of these OTC medications. Imodium A-D slows down the motility, or movement, of the gut; Kaopectate absorbs fluid. Elderly patients should use these medications only with their doctor’s approval, because decreased motility can be dangerous in an infection and can lead to bigger problems.
If you feel weak and have a burning pain in mid-section take cuprum arsenicosum .
Take 4 charcoal tablets every hour this will absorb the toxins from the body.
For decades charcoal has been used for absorbing and expelling intestinal gas. Charcoal may also be used for relieving a variety of ailments, such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high cholesterol and intestinal bloating. Charcoal’s ability to absorb and prevent substances from dislodging or reabsorbing into the body make it a popular choice for detoxifying the liver and kidneys.
Avoid Certain Foods
Avoid milk, cheese, and other dairy products (except yogurt, unless you don’t usually tolerate it well) while you have diarrhea as well as for one to three weeks after it stops. The small intestine, where milk is digested, is affected by diarrhea and simply won’t work as well for a while.
Just as it stimulates your nervous system, caffeine jump-starts your intestines. And that’s the last thing you need when you have diarrhea. High concentrations of sugar can also increase diarrhea. The sugar in fruit can do the same.
Lastly, steer clear of greasy or high-fiber foods. These are harder for your gut to handle right now. It needs foods that are kinder and gentler such as soup, gelatin, rice, noodles, bananas, potatoes, toast, cooked carrots, soda crackers, and skinless white-meat chicken.
Drink Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is good for treating intestinal inflammation, and it has antispasmodic properties as well. You can brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea from packaged tea bags, or you can buy chamomile flowers and steep 1 teaspoon of them and 1 teaspoon of peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Drink 3 cups a day. Also the tannins in ordinary black tea have an anti-diarrheal effect.
Eat Starchy Foods
Starchy foods, such as precooked rice or tapioca cereals, can help ease your tummy. Prepare the cereal according to the directions on the box, making it as thick as you can stomach it. Just avoid adding too much sugar or salt, as these can aggravate diarrhea. It’s probably a good idea to avoid oatmeal, since it’s high in fiber, and your intestines can’t tolerate the added bulk during a bout with diarrhea.
Potatoes are another starchy food that can help restore nutrients and comfort your stomach. But eating French fries won’t help. Fried foods tend to aggravate an aching tummy. Other root vegetables, such as carrots (cooked, of course) are also easy on an upset stomach, and they are loaded with nutrients.
Cooked white rice is another starchy food that can be handled by someone recovering from diarrhea.
Ginger used in the treatment of food poisoning and can also help get rid of cramps and abdominal pain.
Grate a small piece of ginger and add one teaspoon of honey. Eat the mixture to improve your digestive process. Avoid drinking water immediately after eating it.
You can also drink ginger tea two to three times a day to cure diarrhea. Add one small piece of ginger to one cup of water. Boil the water for a few minutes, strain it and add some honey before drinking it. If fresh ginger is not available, you can use powdered ginger from your spice rack.
Carrots are good source of pectin and can help alleviate diarrhea.
Drink fresh carrot juice several times a day to replenish vitamins and minerals lost due to diarrhea. You can add a few drops of lemon juice and some sugar or honey to sweeten the carrot juice to your taste.
You can also cook and puree carrots and then eat it. To make the puree, blend soft cooked carrots in a blender with a little water. Eat half a cup of the puree several times a day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another effective home cure for diarrhea is apple cider vinegar. It acts as an effective agent against bacteria that cause diarrhea. It is also a rich source of pectin, which helps soothe an irritated stomach.
Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
Drink the solution with each meal until your diarrhea symptoms subside.
Black Seed Oil
Black seed is a kind of herbal plant that can be used in the treatment of various health problems such as gas, colic, asthma, constipation and diarrhea. For treating diarrhea, you must use black seed oil.
Mix a teaspoon of black seed oil in a cup of plain or flavored yogurt.
Eat this mixture twice a day until the diarrhea symptoms are completely gone.
Blueberry root is a long-time folk remedy for diarrhea. In Sweden, doctors prescribe a soup made with dried blueberries for tummy problems. Blueberries are rich in anthocyanosides, which have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as tannins, which combat diarrhea.
Make Orange Peel Tea
Orange peel tea is a folk remedy that is believed to aid in digestion. Place a chopped orange peel (preferably from an organic orange, as peels otherwise may contain pesticides and dyes) into a pot and cover with 1 pint boiling water. Let it stand until the water is cooled. You can sweeten it with sugar or honey.
Digest Fenugreek Seeds
Science has given the nod to this folk remedy–but this one is for adults only (safety for children has not been established). Mix 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds with water and drink up.
With these time-honored home remedies under your belt, you should be able to significantly reduce the severity and discomfort of diarrhea. If you have chronic, or long-term, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and stays for weeks, you may have a more serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or a severe food allergy. Be sure to see a doctor.
Learn how to clean up diarrhea safely. Protect your hands with gloves while cleaning up. Wash your hands after you are done cleaning up.
Call your doctor
If any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Signs of dehydration develop.
- Severe diarrhea (10 or more loose watery stools in 24 hours) develops.
- Black or bloody stools develop.
- A fever develops.
- Your symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
Menu Plan for Diarrhea Problems
A bland breakfast that can help you maintain a proper nutrient intake while recovering from diarrhea involves making careful choice. The relatively high potassium content in bananas can help balance and replace the electrolytes in your body that you may lose through frequent diarrhea. A 1 cup serving of mashed banana has 806 milligrams of potassium and 5.8 milligrams of fiber. Avoid eating whole wheat toast in the midst of a diarrhea episode, as your stomach has a harder time digesting the large amount of fiber in whole grains. Instead, choose a slice of lightly toasted white bread to accompany a banana.
Lunch and Dinner
Continue with primarily bland, low-fiber foods for lunch and dinner. Applesauce, which has a lower fiber content than raw apples, makes a soothing choice when suffering from diarrhea. A baked white potato sprinkled with a no-salt seasoning or a bowl of white rice will fill you up and be easy for your stomach to digest. Baked or poached chicken or clear soup makes a healthy, easily digestible addition to either lunch or dinner. Serve with a plain white roll with no butter. While the doctors at the National Institutes of Health recommend avoiding most dairy products, yogurt with live bacteria cultures such as Lactobacillus acidophilus may help lessen your diarrhea, while replenishing your digestive system with healthy bacteria.
Eat small amounts of food throughout the day rather than three large meals. A smaller meal may digest more easily, and not trigger further bouts of diarrhea. In addition to applesauce, blueberries make a sweet, diarrhea-friendly food, according to Theresa Cheung, author of “The IBS Healing Plan.” Choose dried blueberries over fresh because of the higher concentration of tannins and antibacterial properties in the dried berries. Soothing drinks include peppermint or chamomile tea. If your doctor recommends sports drinks or fluid replacement drinks, use them to replenish electrolytes you lose through excessive diarrhea.