Diarrhea is a general condition related to the digestion process. Having three or more unusual loose, watery stools (bowel movements), pressure and cramps are an indication of diarrhea. It can be extremely uncomfortable and you may lose a lot of water on every trip to the bathroom.
Diarrhea can last for a few days or more weeks. If you lose too much, your body can get dehydrated or you may fall more sick. Thus, it is important to practice certain natural treatments for Diarrhea along with any form of medication prescribed by your doctor.
In this blog, we have listed some of the common causes, symptoms, prevention and home remedies for Diarrhea.
Types of Diarrhea
Clinically, Diarrhea can be categorized as:
- Acute Watery Diarrhea – lasts several hours or days, and covers cholera
- Acute Bloody Diarrhea – lasts less than 14 days, also known as dysentery
- Persistent Diarrhea – lasts for 14 days or much longer.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses and can happen from many sources, such as
- A viral infection: Virus gets into the gut causing intestinal flu/stomach flu.
- Bacterial infection- Bacteria from contaminated food/water causes food poisoning.
- Food allergies- Intolerance to certain foods especially milk/dairy products (lactose intolerance).
- Intestinal diseases (Chron’s disease or Ulcerative colitis)
- Medication- Medicinal allergy may vary from person to person but Antibiotics, Cancer drugs & Antacids containing Magnesium are alarming
- Gall bladder/Stomach surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Malabsorption- Trouble absorbing certain nutrients
- Laxative abuse- Repeated frequent use of laxatives (substances that loosen stools and increase bowel movements)
If virus infection is the cause of your condition, it can be prevented by following rules for proper hygiene. Rotavirus diarrhea (common in very small children) can be prevented by timely vaccinations. Traveler’s diarrhea (due to traveling to developing countries) can be taken care of by following the tips mentioned below:
- Wash your hands frequently. Make use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) to clean your hands before eating.
- Wash, Clean and dry your dishes and utensils before using.
- Never consume food from street vendors.
- Elude unpasteurized milk and dairy products, including ice cream.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish and shellfish.
- Keep away from moist food at room temperatures, such as sauces and buffet offerings.
- Have foods that are well cooked and served hot.
- Adhere to fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges & avocados. Keep away from salads and fruits you can’t peel, such as grapes and berries.
- Be conscious that an alcoholic drink won’t keep you safe from contaminated water or ice.
- Use only bottled/purified water for drinking, making ice cubes, and brushing your teeth. If you need to consume local water, boil it or use iodine tablets to disinfect them.
- Avoid fruit juices made with tap water.
- Keep away from sliced fruits (might have been washed in contaminated water).
- Avoid swimming in water that may be contaminated.
- Canned/bottled drinks (water, carbonated beverages, beer/wine) in their original containers & as long as the seals are intact can be consumed doubtlessly but always wipe it before drinking/pouring.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
By following the above listed rules one can prevent himself/herself from getting diagnosed with Diarrhea. To know if a person is suffering from Diarrhea no tests are required. The appearance of the listed symptoms can easily help diagnose this condition.
- Urgent need to have a bowel movement
- Feeling of nausea & throwing up
- Abdominal cramps
- Loose/watery stools
- Blood/Mucus in stool
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Read on for some of the most effective at-home natural ways to ease symptoms, manage and treat diarrhea.
Drinking water is very essential for your body during this condition. An Oral Hydration Solution (ORS) prepared by mixing 6 tsp of sugar &1/2 tsp of salt to 1litre of boiled & cooled water is highly beneficial. Sports drinks or medicated powder pouches available in the market help rehydrate the body and restore potassium & sodium. Fruit juices are a great help too.
2. Recovery Diet
Small frequent meals work better. Fruits (but only to some extent) as they are rich in pectin, potatoes/sweet potatoes (rich in potassium), cooked vegetables and khichdi (made from rice and lentils) to provide an adequate amount of proteins can be rotationally served. Brat diet that includes bananas, rice, apple sauce & toast is recommended as these bland, low fiber foods help to firm up the stool.
Note- BRAT is an acronym for a banana, rice, apple sauce & proposal.
3. Psyllium Husk
It is a multitasking dietary fiber effective for both constipation as well as diarrhea. This gentle bulk-forming laxative helps in case of diarrhea as it soaks the excess fluid in the intestine.
It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help to get rid of the problem of gas, indigestion & diarrhea. Moreover, it helps settle the stomach related issues.
5. Fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds with water, works magic for stomach issues & is soothing in diarrhea cases.
- Blueberries rich in anthocyanosides, having antibacterial & antioxidant properties plus tannins, that fight diarrhea. Leaves of blueberry, blackberry & raspberry contain tannins that are considered beneficial for treating this condition. Thus can be taken in the form of tea to provide relief.
- Chamomile tea– It has anti-inflammatory as well as antispasmodic properties. Thus prevents intestinal inflammation & helps keep the stomach healthy. Drinking chamomile tea helps to get rid of diarrhea.
- Green tea– The tannins in Green tea work as an astringent for the intestine mucous membrane providing relief.
Probiotics are tiny microorganisms that create a healthy gut environment and improve nutrient absorption. Probiotics occur naturally in food items such as yogurt, pickles, green olives, dark chocolate, cottage cheese and more. They are good for constipation as well as relieve antibiotic-related diarrhea.
- Dairy products (if you are lactose intolerant)
- Caffeinated drinks
- Oily & spicy foods
- Carbonated beverages
Diarrhea can cause dehydration as the body loses a lot of water content as well as salts. If not taken care of timely, it can be life-threatening particularly in case of children, older adults and those with weak immunity. Thus, seek medical help immediately. Also, dehydration can lead to headache.