When your body is keeping your busy by making you have frequent trips to the bathroom, you got to keep two things in mind. One is, keep yourself hydrated and two is, do not consume anything that will make the condition from bad to worse. If you can get off from work for a few days then do it, and let diarrhea run its course. You can try to keep it under control by taking in foods that contain soluble fiber or try a traditional and time-tested cure.
Why do you have diarrhea
The food you eat travels makes its journey from the stomach where the real digestion process starts and in the end, it reaches the large intestines (colon). Normally, your colon sucks up a lot of water, which will dry up your stools. However, due to some reasons, it might stop absorbing water, these reasons include viral and bacterial infections, flu, food poisoning, and food allergies. This condition usually goes away within a couple of days time. But, if it lasts long for several days to weeks then it could be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Diarrhea can sometimes cause severe dehydration, and this condition can be really threatening for kids and elderly people.
Bring in some Tannins
Black tea: Drink a cup of black tea with some sugar added, and drink it warm. Warm water present in the tea will encourage rehydration, and the tea itself is rich in astringent tannins that will reduce inflammation in both small and large intestines. Additionally, it prevents intestines from absorbing toxins. The sugar encourages sodium absorption.
Blackberry tea: Blackberries have a long history of being used for treating diarrhea domestically. Similar to tea leaves, it is also rich in tannins, which is very effective against the condition. You can prepare a blackberry tea by using dried blackberry leaves or use a store bought blackberry tea bags. But, be sure the tea bags contain the blackberry leaves, and it is not using some artificial flavors to taste like blackberry. Drink it three to five times a day.
Try combating bacterias
Goldenseal: the Golden seal is popularly considered as a herbal antibiotic. Its bright yellow roots contain a compound called berberine, which is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. So it is very effective against killing bacterias like E-coli which could be the main reason behind your diarrhea. Try to source capsules that contain dried goldenseal root. You can try taking 125-milligram capsules two to three times a day.
Rehydrate with enough fluids
- When your diarrhea is active, your body could be rapidly losing essential minerals and fluids. This includes sodium, potassium, and chloride. You need these minerals for the proper functioning of the heart and many other vital organs. You can prepare your own homemade electrolyte drink. Take a liter of water and to it add half a teaspoon of salt, 4 teaspoons of sugar, and a little bit of lemon or orange extract. Use this drink during the daytime, to ensure you are not running short of vital minerals. Stick to the mentioned levels of sugar and salt, as excessive salt and sugar usage can have an opposite effect and can accelerate the dehydration further.
- Gatorade which is a popular sports drink can also replace the lost minerals in your body. If you can get a bottle of Gatorade it should serve you with enough minerals for the day.
- Pedialyte is a special electrolyte solution that is specifically designed for children. If you have a kid at your home who is going through diarrhea then Pedialyte is an excellent source of electrolytes for the kid.
- Flat sodas are excellent for you if you have mild diarrhea and not experiencing severe dehydration. Remove the cap from a soda bottle and leave it open until all the gas in it is released, you can keep it in a refrigerator if you wish. Start by taking few sips every hour, gradually increasing your intake levels. Continue this until you can comfortably intake 500 ml of the drink every single hour.
Take care of your diet
- You need to stay very focused on your diet while you have diarrhea. As some foods can worsen your condition.
- Chicken broth is an excellent food option to restore your electrolytes and fluid levels. Stick to clear foods at least for a couple of days time. At any cost, avoid fruit juices. Fruit juices contain fructose, which is a type of sugar which your body struggles to digest even on days when you feel perfectly healthy.
- BRAT diet: If you are not familiar with the term BRAT, it means Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. It is an excellent diet for people suffering from diarrhea. Both banana and applause contain soluble fiber (pectin), a type of fiber that absorbs the water in the intestines and slows down your stool movement. Apple juices can make your diarrhea worse, so stay away from it.
- Carrot Puree: Carrots are another rich source of pectin or soluble fiber. However, do not eat the carrots in its raw form while you are on diarrhea. Cook some chopped carrots in water until they become soft. Add the cooked carrots to a blender, add some water and blend it to puree consistency. Have some of this carrot puree every hour.
- Some of the foods you need to avoid at all costs are fruit juices, beans, cabbage, sprouts, deep-fried foods, oily foods, fat-rich foods and other hard to digest food items.
- Yogurt: One of the best and rich sources of probiotics is yogurt. Opt for a kind that has live cultures, meaning they contain a couple of types of good bacterias namely acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Both these bacterias will strengthen up your intestines by keeping the bad bacterial growth at bay. Additionally, it increases the numbers of good bacterias which your intestines need. Don’t opt for yogurt that contains added flavors and sugar. If you hate the taste of yogurt then try taking acidophilus pills. For dosage information, check the label.
How to keep Traveler’s diarrhea under check
- A condition of lose motion when you are on a trip can get really hard on you. This type of diarrhea is called Traveler’s diarrhea or Montezuma’s Revenge. The usual causative agent for this condition is bacterias that are found in your food and drink. If you are a frequent traveler and need tips to keep this embarrassing situation under control then follow the tips mentioned below.
- When you have a long trip ahead then prevention is always better than cure. Take Pepto-Bismol before starting your journey, while you are on a journey and after the journey. This method is proved to be more effective in preventing traveler’s diarrhea. It is even effective in controlling unexpected diarrhea while you are on a trip. Can chew on to a couple of pills three to four times a day. If you are taking it in liquid form then try taking 1 tablespoon four times a day.
- One of the best ways to avoid diarrhea is by increasing the number of good bacterias in your intestines. This can be done by consuming fresh yogurt (unflavoured ones) or by taking acidophilus capsules (both with live cultures). If you are opting for the capsules follow the dosage instructions on the label. Start taking it two or three days prior to your trip. You can also continue taking the pills while you are on the trip.
- Opt for bottled water from a reliable brand, never drink water from a public source. Whenever you consume fluids to make sure it is from a sealed bottle or can. Do not drink fresh fruit juices from street shops or restaurants. Never have ice cubes in your drink because you will never know the real source of water in it. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth and for cooking. If you cannot find bottled water, used boiled water (boiled for at least 3 to 4 minutes).
- Citrus juice like orange and lemon juices are good for fighting the bad bacterias like E-coli that leads to diarrhea. So drink these juices (homemade) to prevent diarrhea
- Always eat cooked foods while you are on a trip and eat easily peal-able fruits like orange, and bananas.
When to seek Doctor’s help
Normal cases of Diarrhoea will subside by itself within two to three days. However, if you have a frequent occurrence of diarrhea accompanied by mild fever, muscle cramps, blood in stools, and intense stomach pain then you need a Doctor’s care immediately.
Psyllium seeds are rich in soluble fiber. A type of fiber that soaks up water in the intestines and adds bulk to the stools and make it relatively dry. It slows down the passage of stools in the colon easing down diarrhea. Take one to three tablespoons of psyllium seeds with water.
Chinese cure for diarrhea
This is a really old but really effective remedy for diarrhea available from China. Add 2 or 3 crushed ginger and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar to a cup of water, mix well and drink it two to three times a day. The active ingredient in this drink is garlic which is believed to fight against harmful bacterias in the intestines.
How to prevent?
- If you find out certain foods that are triggering diarrhea in you then avoid these foods completely. Some people get diarrhea by consuming milk and milk products. This could be due to a condition called lactose intolerance where your body’s digestive system has a hard time breaking down the lactose present in milk products. You try replacing lactose-rich milk with lactose-free milk to check if that’s working well. You can also try milk products that are low on lactose content such as yogurt, aged cheddar, etc…
- Try to avoid sweets and sweetened products that contain xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. These products are hard to digest and pathogens in your intestines can gain strength from them leading to stomach problems. In general, try to take sweets in moderation.
- Always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with a hand wash or a soap before and after taking foods. Also, wash your hands before and after cooking and handling raw meats. Whenever you handle raw meats take that extra care and wash off all the utensils, plates, and vessels that come in direct contact with the meat.
- Excessive intake of Vitamin-C can lead to diarrhea. If you are taking this supplement then follow the Doctor’s advice on dosage.
- Antacids that contain magnesium hydroxide is found to trigger diarrhea in some people. If you take in antacids regularly, then look for the brand that doesn’t have magnesium hydroxide.
Most people get panicked as soon as they are hit by diarrhea and consume over the counter medications to arrest it immediately. This is a bad practice. Diarrhea is a natural way of your body to get rid of harmful bacterias and other pathogens. So at least for the first few hours let your body detox itself.