Diet and Nutrition

Treatments for Diarrhea

Treatments for Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a very uncomfortable disease that weakens the body as well causes inconvenience as people go about their work or socialising. It is very bothersome, and many would do anything to garner relief from this illness. There are several ways to treat diarrhea. A few of them are listed below.


1. Stay Hydrated

The body loses a great amount of water and salt when someone has diarrhea causing dehydration. A frequent watery or loose stool is responsible for the fluid loss and one must drink enough water to settle that problem. 3 major ways to stay hydrated are:

  • Sports drinks: These contain a good ratio of salt and sugar that allow water to be absorbed quickly. One can make his own sport juice by adding one teaspoon of sugar and a little bit of salt to apple juice. The salt is responsible for quick digestion of apple juice. 
  • Clear liquids: Clear broth and water are some good choices for treating diarrhea.
  • Avoid caffeine and carbonation: These beverages cause dehydration and sometimes lead to an increase in diarrhea. Sweeteners and dairy products should also be avoided as they can worsen the situation. 

One of the most effective measures to prevent dehydration is Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). All pharmacists and general medical practitioners suggest a regular intake of ORS to treat already incurred dehydration. These are available in sachets and can directly be purchased from the local pharmacist shop without any prescription. They meet the salt, glucose and the minerals requirement of the body efficiently and help the patient to recover from dehydration.

2. Follow a Gentle Diet Plan

A person suffering from diarrhea should maintain a gentle diet plan. It's best to consume only liquids in the first 24 hours. Adding bland foods like bananas, soft rice, toast, or applesauce to the diet chart is both safe and beneficial to one's health.

If diarrhea lasts more than 3 days, contacting a good doctor is needed to find out the reason behind the disease. Investigating the foods and then classify them into ‘eat' and ‘don't eat' is a good step of conscientiousness. Foods containing sweeteners like sorbitol may worsen the situation.

A person should make a habit of taking small and light meals, and must not consume in bulk. Also, spicy, fried, and fatty foods should be completely avoided. Potatoes, soup and boiled vegetables can prove a good option. Salty foods also help the most during this period.

One need not eat if he/she has lost their appetite and doesn't feel like consuming any kind of food, but rather drinking plenty of fluids would definitely help him/her resolve the issue.

3. Avoid Certain Foods

One must eat nutritious foods to stay strong but he should also be aware of the foods that will worsen the situation. As diarrhea causes dehydration, one must drink sufficient water, fruits and vegetables that contain a large amounts of water. Vegetables that should be avoided during diarrhea are:

  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas

4. Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medication is helpful in stopping the causes of diarrhea, especially traveler's diarrhea. They contain ingredients like loperamide, and bismuth sub-salicylate that are responsible for recovery from diarrhea. The good news is that they do not require a doctor's prescription. However, one should remember that pharmaceutical remedies are temporary and can initially make someone feel better before symptoms return. It can also cause some harmful bacteria or viruses to stay in the stomach for too long. So basically diarrhea will go away on itself within few days and if it doesn't, there must be a serious cause behind it.

5. Feed the Beneficial Bacteria

A healthy person with a healthy intestinal tract has more than 400 different micro-organisms living in his gut since birth. The beneficial bacteria residing in the intestines control the bowel movement and fights with harmful germs and disease-causing bacteria on a daily basis. When the beneficial bacteria are overwhelmed by the bad bacteria, the digestive systems start malfunctioning. So, to get the bowel movements into its normal condition and stop diarrhea, one need to take nutritious foods to feed the beneficial bacteria to make them strong enough to fight those bad ones. Adding more cultured and fermented foods to the diet chart is enough to serve that purpose.

6. Probiotics

Probiotics are the living bacteria present in foods like yogurt. It is completely safe to eat yogurt and it also works to recover diarrhea.

It can be found in both powder or pill form. As antibiotics flush away the good bacteria living in the intestines, they can also cause diarrhea. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus GG, acidophilus, bifidobacterium help to restore them in the gut.

7. Homeopathy

When remedies or medications stop having any positive effect on the health and well-being of the victim, then traditional homeopathic supplements may be offered to offer relief. These include:

  • Arsenicum album
  • Psyllium seed or Isabgol Husk
  • Podophyllum (Common Name: Mayapple)
  • Calcareacarbonica (Common Name: Calcium Carbonate)
  • Sulphur
  • Chamomile or Matricariachamomilla
  • Mercurius
  • Veratrum album

8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture probably is not the first therapy or treatment one may consider while making a decision to select a remedy for diarrhea. Chinese scientists, however, have drawn a conclusion that acupuncture points may effectively treat cases of acute diarrhea in children suffering from cerebral palsy. Other researches and analyses, also suggest and report that acupuncture can change the movement of the intestinal tract and thus help offer relief to patients suffering from diarrhea or constipation.

The Bottom Line

There are several types of treatments or remedies to get rid of diarrhea which mostly depends on the symptoms. If someone doubts about any food, he must throw it away. One should have a clear idea of the foods that will help him recover fast as well as the foods to be avoided. Having a healthy diet will quicken the recovery process. Getting in touch with a doctor can also be beneficial if diarrhea gets out of hand and unmanageable.