Diarrhoea is characterized by loose, watery stools or a frequent need to have a bowel movement. It usually lasts a few days and often disappears without any treatment.
Diarrhoea can be acute or chronic. Acute diarrhoea occurs when the condition lasts for one to two days.
However, frequent passing of stools of ‘normal consistency’ is not diarrhoea.
In this article, we are going to tell the causes, symptoms, home remedies, food to eat/avoid and prevention tips for diarrhoea.
What Causes Diarrhea
Know what causes diarrhoea? A virus which infects the gut. Diarrhoea is also called “stomach flu” or “intestinal flu”.
- Excess of Alcohol: Also called Alcohol abuse, careless consumption of alcohol can lead to loose motions and vomiting.
- Allergies to certain food items: It can either be spicy food or food eaten from roadside vendors.
- Intestinal disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Hyperthyroidism meaning overactive thyroid
- Mal-absorption of nutrients. In other words, when there is trouble in the absorption of nutrients by the body
- Adverse reaction to a drug or medication
- Infection (Viral, Bacterial or Parasitic)
- Surgery of the gall bladder or stomach
- Food intolerance or lactose intolerance
- The fallout of Radiation therapy
Symptoms Of Diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting (when you feel like “Throwing up”)
- Abdominal Pain
- Stomach cramps
- The feeling of ‘Bloating” in your belly
- Over-tendency to empty our bowels
- A large volume of stools. In some cases, blood or mucous in stools
- Thin (or watery) stools
- In severe cases, the patient can encounter less or nil urination
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Yogurt is not only good as an after-meal diet but also effective in treating diarrhea. Particularly, yogurt which has “live” bacterial cultures (which helps restore the good bacteria in your intestine and destroy the bad bacteria which causes diarrhea).
According to research, PROBIOTICS can help reduce the bad bacteria that cause diarrhea.
2. Chamomile Tea
Known for its relaxation powers, chamomile tea also helps in calming down bouts of diarrhoea – by easing spasms in the intestines and combating inflammation.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is an effective agent against bacteria that become the root cause of diarrhea.
4. White Rice
Plain version of white rice is one of the bland foods recommended during diarrhea because it is easy to digest. It also decreases the amount of stools as it adds bulk to them.
Ginger is a very promising remedy in treating food poisoning. It also gets the cramps and abdominal pain out of the way.
6. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have high mucilage content and it is the mucilage which gives strong anti-diarrheal effect.
7. Fresh orange peel tea
Being rich in pectin, orange peel is a type of carbohydrate that increases the beneficial bacteria in your large intestine. In doing so, it maintains a healthy intestinal system.
Bananas are pectin-high. Since pectin is a water-soluble fiber, it helps reduce diarrhea.
9. Black Seed Oil
Black Seed is effective in treating health problems like gas, colic, asthma, constipation and diarrhea. For diarrhea in particular, use black seed oil.
10. Black teas
The hot water used for making of black tea helps with rehydration. And the tea has astringent tannins which help reduce inflammation in intestines.
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins (which have anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties). Further, their killer strategy on germs that cause diarrhea. B’berries also have ‘pectin’ which eases out the diarrhea symptoms.
Just like chamomile tea, peppermint tea is also effective in healing diarrhoea.
The honey remedy is not only sweet but an effective way to tackle diarrhoea symptoms.
14. Vinegar Water
Vinegar water in the form of ACV has antibiotic properties which helps treat bacterial infection which are the root cause of diarrhea. ACV also has pectin, which helps soothe the spasms of the intestines.
15. Coconut Water
Dehydration is a natural thing to happen as a result of diarrhea. Coconut water is of great help and benefit in such a situation. It has plenty of minerals, and electrolytes that help replenish the body fluids.
Buttermilk is an Ayurvedic healing approach to treating diarrhoea.
While turmeric checks out on indigestion, yoghurt fights out the bad bacteria.
18. Cinnamon and Ginger
While ginger gets your relief from gas, honey soothes the digestive tract.
19. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal in the form of charcoal tablets can be of major help in getting rid of diseases related to stomach – like gas, diarrhea, indigestion, etc. Charcoal works as an absorbent and absorbs the toxins, thereby getting you relief from diarrhea.
Oatmeal is a fairly good amount of solid food to start with when your body is recovering from diarrhea. It helps in holding down liquids. And yes, oatmeal is rich in soluble fibre which prevents water loss from the body.
Pumpkin has soluble fibers which help harden the stool. It also has higher levels of potassium, so eating it recharges the body fluids with sufficient electrolytes.
BROMELAIN in pineapple fight diarrhoea-causing infection. Plus, pineapple has Vit C which guards the immune system.
23. Soy Milk
Whenever you are down with diarrhea, the body finds it hard to digest milk and milk related products. Take soy milk as it is light and less taxing on the digestive system. And, its good for bone health too.
Whatever be the cause of the diarrhea, yogurt (Kefir yogurt, to be precise) is sure to restore your health. In fact, this yogurt has gut-friendly bacteria which help flush out the toxins from the body. And so, improve your digestive system health.
25. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in anti-oxidants. This helps in keeping the body healthy. It also soothes upset stomach and brings relief from diarrhea.
26. Olive Oil
Oleic acid in olive oil has been proved to slow down the process of digestion, hence reducing diarrhea. Plus olive oil activates certain mechanisms in the small intestine which curb and stop the diarrhea symptoms.
27. Jello Water
Jello has gelatin which helps bind your stools and stops diarrhea. In the process, it rehydrates your body.
28. Peanut Butter
Toast your breads with peanut butter and eat it when you are suffering from diarrhea.
‘Allicin’ is a key ingredient in garlic which has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. When you eat raw garlic, it helps you kill microbes in your gut which are causing diarrhea.
Garlic also helps bring relief from symptoms of diarrhea – such as abdominal cramps and intestinal inflammation.
30. Stay Hydrated
Diarrhea causes dehydration. Meaning, loss of fluids in the body happens. Drinking water and other “fluids” (such as teas, broth, carrot juice, celery juice, sports drinks, etc.) is one of the best home remedies for diarrhea. Keeping your body hydrated throughout the day is very important to get rid of diarrhea – both naturally and effectively.
Diet for Diarrhea (Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid):
- BRAT Diet: Comprising of Banana, Plain Rice, Applesauce, Dry Toast, and Tea, BRAT diet foods are a safer option to eat when you are fighting diarrhea. BRAT diet also keeps you feeling nourished.
- Probiotics: Increase your consumption of Probiotics in the form of yogurt containing LIVE cultures.
- Drink Water, and Liquid Food Products such as broths, organic fruit and vegetable juices, and sports drinks.
- Clear Liquids in the form of water containing electrolytes or coconut water (avoid ones high in sugar).
- Include Carrot Soup. It is 100% natural, easy to make, cheap and effective in tackling diarrhoea
- Say no to or cut down the intake of sweet, spicy and fatty foods.
- In young children, diarrhoea can be caused by fruit juice. So, try your most to limit the intake of fruit juice.
- Avoid Anything Dairy except yogurt and buttermilk
- Avoid artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol
- Avoid taking coffee, soda, and other caffeinated or carbonated drinks
When to Seek for Medical Help?
If you have diarrhoea-related symptoms, which do not subside within a week, consult a doctor immediately.
Prevention and Tips
Here are some more tricks to follow when you are down with diarrhoea.
- Take Plenty of REST
- Put a heating pad on belly to get relief from stomach cramps.
- For the first 12 hours, drink liquids only. After 23 hours, follow BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce and toast)
- Before cooking or eating or after using bathroom, wash your hands
- Instead of eating frozen, packaged or highly processed foods, go for FRESH FOODS.
- Keep your cooking areas clean, sanitized and Bacteria-free.
- Doing Yoga and Meditation is a good way of avoiding stress
- Go for exercise (being a “couch” potato will only aggravate the situation)
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