Are you dealing with severe bouts of diarrhea? You don’t have to suffer in silence; try these five easy tips to relieve your symptoms and get back to feeling better fast.
Quick facts: Treating Diarrhea At Home
Diarrhea is a common health issue that affects many people around the world. It can be uncomfortable and can sometimes be difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take at home to help alleviate diarrhea and feel better faster.
This article will provide you with five tips on how to treat diarrhea at home, including:
- Dietary changes
- Over-the-counter medications
- Natural remedies
- Self-care practices
By following these suggestions, you can hopefully get relief from your symptoms and experience a quicker recovery.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common digestive disorder, and there are numerous potential causes. These range from food allergies, food intolerance, bacterial or virus infections, and even certain medications. In some cases, the cause of diarrhea may be difficult to pinpoint. To properly treat the condition, it is important to understand the underlying cause.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential causes of diarrhea:
- Food allergies
- Food intolerance
- Bacterial or virus infections
- Certain medications
Diarrhea is often caused by bacterial infections. This type of diarrhea is usually a result of an infection in the intestines, and it can be accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping.
Bacterial infections that can cause diarrhea include Salmonella, E.coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium difficile, and Shigella. In most cases, these types of bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor to help clear up the infection quickly and effectively.
However, in some cases symptoms may still persist even after taking antibiotics and other treatments may need to be considered to reduce the severity of the symptoms such as:
- Dietary changes.
- Probiotic supplements for additional relief.
Viral infections are one of the most common causes of diarrhea. A viral infection occurs when a virus enters the body and replicates, causing symptoms such as fever, chills, and stomach upset. Viral infections are highly contagious and easily spread from person to person through contact with surfaces or airborne droplets released when someone sneezes or coughs.
Viral diarrhea is typically caused by viruses like norovirus (also called the stomach flu), rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, bloating, fever and watery stools that occur several times a day.
Treatment includes rest and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration as well as over-the-counter medications such as loperamide to reduce symptoms like diarrhea.
Parasitic infections are caused by a type of small organism that lives inside or on the surface of your body. Examples include protozoan parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and helminth parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms.
Parasitic infections can cause diarrhea because these organisms can damage the cells in your intestines, leading to fluid loss. Infections can be spread through contaminated food and water, or through contact with animals or people who have a parasitic infection. If you’ve been exposed to contaminated sources, seek medical advice right away as parasitic infections can get worse over time.
Food intolerances can cause diarrhea, because your body is unable to properly digest or absorb certain foods. The most common food intolerances are lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity. People with lactose intolerance are unable to digest milk sugar, and those with gluten sensitivity cannot process the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. These reactions can cause mild to severe symptoms including bloating, stomach pain, cramping, vomiting, nausea and of course, diarrhea.
If you suspect you might have a food intolerance or allergy causing your diarrhea, try eliminating that type of food from your diet for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If they do not improve after this period of elimination then you may need further testing by a medical professional in order to determine if there is a more serious condition causing your digestive distress.
Medication Side Effects
Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors, including medication side effects. Medication side effects can occur when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as dietary supplements and herbal remedies. Common medications that have been reported to cause diarrhea include antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), laxatives, antacids, chemotherapy drugs, immunosuppressants, and antidepressants. Taking more than one medication/herbal remedy at a time increases the risk of side effects, including diarrhea.
It’s important to always tell your doctor about all the medications/supplements you are currently taking or recently taken in order to prevent possible interactions or adverse reactions. If you experience unexpected or persistent diarrhea after taking any new medicine or supplement, be sure to contact your health care provider right away for guidance on how to manage it appropriately.
There are several treatments you can try to help ease your symptoms of diarrhea and get better faster. One of the most widely-used treatments is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes with oral rehydration solutions. In addition, probiotics, antidiarrheal medications, and over-the-counter (OTC) meds can also help reduce diarrhea symptoms.
Let’s look at each of these treatments in more detail:
Increasing fluids is one of the most important things you can do when treating diarrhea at home. Diarrhea causes your body to lose excessive amounts of water and electrolytes, so replenishing it is essential.
The best way to re-hydrate your body is by drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as sports drinks, juice, and clear soups. Keep in mind that alcohol and caffeine will cause your body to become even more dehydrated so those beverages should be avoided. Keeping a bottle of water near you throughout the day can help remind you to drink fluids regularly and keep yourself hydrated.
Replacing lost electrolytes with flavored electrolyte drinks can also help replace lost salts and minerals from dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Eat Bland Foods
When recovering from diarrhea it’s important to nourish the body while eating easy-to-digest foods. Bland foods, like boiled potatoes, cooked cereals, toast, rice and bananas are all good choices. Avoid spicy foods as they can make stomach irritation worse. Eating smaller meals more often is also beneficial because it allows for easier digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is also important to help rehydrate and replenish lost electrolytes. Good sources of fluids include:
- sports drinks
- clear broths
- juices (apple or cranberry juice diluted with water)
Carbonated beverages should be avoided as well as caffeine containing drinks such as coffee, tea and soda that can make diarrhea worse.
Avoid Certain Foods
One of the most important things to do when you are dealing with diarrhea is to avoid certain foods. Frequent loose bowel movements can cause dehydration, so it’s important to consume foods that will help your body stay hydrated.
Avoid fatty and greasy foods, spicy foods, alcohol, dairy products, caffeine and high sugar snacks and beverages. These types of foods can all trigger or worsen diarrhea symptoms. Stick to light, low fat meals and snacks such as bananas, applesauce, dry toast or crackers. If you are feeling up to it try a chicken broth or vegetable soup which will help replace electrolytes lost from dehydration.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day can also be beneficial instead of eating three large meals as this may increase your chances for an upset stomach:
- Dry toast or crackers
- Chicken broth
- Vegetable soup
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut. Taking probiotics can help restore balance in the gut and reduce symptoms of diarrhea. When the balance of healthy bacteria is disrupted, diarrhea can worsen, so adding probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt or kefir to your diet can help your body recover.
Many over-the-counter probiotics are also available in pill form, which contain helpful bacteria that may also reduce diarrheic symptoms. If you choose an over-the-counter product, be sure to read the label carefully so that you know exactly what type of strain you’re taking and how much to take. Additionally, probiotics should never replace a doctor’s recommendation or medical treatment for any medical condition.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be helpful in treating symptoms of diarrhea. Anti-diarrheal medications, such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium), can reduce the number of stools and ease cramping. Additionally, antacids may help to protect the stomach from acidity that can irritate an already inflamed digestive tract.
It is important to note that these medications do not reduce the severity or duration of a bout of diarrhea, but rather alleviate some of the symptoms. Additionally, these medications should never replace prescribed antibiotics for infection-related diarrhea. Consult your healthcare provider for more information about appropriate treatments for your condition.
When it comes to treating diarrhea at home, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids and electrolytes can help replace lost fluid and make sure you don’t become dehydrated.
Additionally, eating simple foods like toast, bananas, and applesauce can help ease your digestive system while it heals. Avoiding fatty or greasy foods, dairy products, caffeine and alcohol can also help relieve symptoms.
If your symptoms persist or become worse after trying these tips to treat diarrhea at home, see a doctor right away as this may indicate something more serious happening in your digestive system. With the right treatment plan for your specific situation, you can easily get back on track to feeling better fast!
FAQs about: Treating Diarrhea At Home
Q: What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
A: Symptoms of diarrhea can include frequent, watery bowel movements, abdominal cramps, and an urgent need to use the bathroom.
Q: How can I treat diarrhea at home?
A: Treatment of diarrhea at home can include drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding dairy products, eating bland foods such as rice and bananas, and taking over-the-counter medications such as loperamide.
Q: When should I see a doctor for diarrhea?
A: You should see a doctor if your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, if you have severe abdominal pain or a fever, or if you have bloody stools.