Diarrhea is one of the most unpleasant things to deal with in life. It’s just messy and uncomfortable at the same time. This is why it’s understandable that we want to try just about anything that could bring us relief. The best answer when faced with diarrhea, though, isn’t a quick fix. Most of the commonly prescribed antibiotics or drugs might give you a temporary solution, but such medications also have the potential to impair your intestinal tract. The good news is that there are quite a number of natural remedies that you can try at home when you’re dealing with such a dilemma. But first, let’s take a look at some of the things that usually cause diarrhea.
What Is Diarrhea And What Causes It?
The World Health Organization defines diarrhea as having at least three loose and watery stools per day that lasts 2 to 3 days. It’s a very common occurrence and is usually not a serious health problem. According to statistics, a person may get diarrhea at least once or twice a year. Individuals who suffer from IBS or irritable bowel syndrome or other related conditions might get it more often. Moreover, when a person has acute diarrhea, he or she may have a more frequent discharge of fluid fecal or semi-solid bowel matter that would last for two weeks.
Common symptoms of diarrhea may include bloating, cramps, thin and loose stools, water stools, nausea, and an urgent feeling of needing to have a bowel movement. More serious symptoms, on the other hand, may include fever, blood or mucus in the stool, and weight loss.
There are several factors that could cause diarrhea, including intestinal infection due to either parasites, virus, or bacteria. Infections are often a result of ingesting food or water contaminated by stool. Sometimes, infections are acquired directly from a person who’s infected. Diarrhea may also be a result of lactose intolerance, or of taking certain types of medication. Alcohol abuse, laxative abuse, food allergies, diseases of the intestines, malabsorption, and other underlying medical conditions may also result to diarrhea.
Tested And Proven Ways To Treat Diarrhea Naturally
It’s normal to be tempted to look for a quick fix for diarrhea, but while most anti-diarrhea medications may help reduce how often you need to rush to the toilet, they usually don’t address the problem. Fortunately, over-the-counter drugs are not the only option for diarrhea. There are several natural remedies you can try at home, with the main focus being electrolyte and fluid replacement.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing house, the only remedy you can actually have for diarrhea is replacing lost fluid and electrolytes. One of the best ways you can do this is by drinking coconut water. Coconut water is considered by many as nature’s sports drinks because it helps replenish fluids and electrolytes that the body has lost, but minus the high quantity of sugar and artificial sweeteners mostly found in commercial sports drinks. For centuries, coconut water has been used for treating diarrhea. It’s rich not only in electrolytes but other important minerals as well. Aside from rehydrating your body, coconut water also helps flush out harmful toxins, thereby promoting quick recovery. When you have diarrhea, consume a glass of coconut water every two hours or so. It will help soothe your intestinal lining and lower your acidity level, making sure you don’t acquire other stomach complications. Keep in mind, though, that coconut water has some sugar content as well, so only drink when you really need to.
Mom’s Advice: Egg Drop Soup
Mothers really know best, so when you are suffering from bouts of diarrhea, try your mom’s recipe of egg drop soup. Egg is rich in albumin, the clear liquid part also known as “egg white”. This helps maintain the balance of body tissues and water in your bloodstream. The chicken broth base of the soup is also an excellent source of sodium, an important electrolyte that also helps in fluid balance. Since both sodium and albumin usually gets depleted, especially in cases of chronic diarrhea, it’s vital that they are quickly replaced, and consuming at least two bowls of egg drop soup per day when you have diarrhea is what will take care of the problem.
Foods rich in probiotics can help your digestive system fight off diarrhea-causing germ or bacteria. According to research done by Cochrane Collaboration, probiotic-rich foods like kefir, yogurt, and even pickles can reduce the symptoms of diarrhea faster. Probiotics help stimulate natural enzymes in the gut and make sure digestive organs function properly. You have to keep in mind, though, that probiotics only help with some types of diarrhea and not all. However, you can expect them to work well when you’re dealing with kids’ diarrhea, diarrhea from antibiotics, traveler’s diarrhea, and diarrhea caused by the C. difficile bacteria.
Ginger & Turmeric
Ginger & Turmeric are two related botanicals and are both natural remedies for diarrhea. If you’re looking to stop diarrhea naturally, these two will certainly get the job done. Ginger for one provides enzymes that promote the release of gastric juices needed for proper digestion. It also strengthens the digestive system and reduces food stagnation. Moreover, it detoxifies the gut, protecting it against germs that usually cause diarrhea. It’s also anti-inflammatory and may help reduce pain inflammation. To treat diarrhea, consume one tablespoon of ginger juice once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Just like ginger, turmeric also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and has been used to treat digestive problems for a very long time now. For quicker relief from diarrhea, mix a teaspoon of turmeric power with cold or hot water and drink twice a day.
We’ve already talked about how peppermint could treat indigestion, and research shows that it could actually tame other digestive woes including diarrhea. In a study done by the University of Maryland Medical Center, it was found that using peppermint oil could reduce the symptoms of diarrhea, as well as of pain, gas, and bloating. Peppermint helps promote the production of fluid as well as increase circulation, making it effective in treating diarrhea. To use this herb, simply add 1 tablespoon of dried peppermint leaves to a cup of boiling water and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool and consume every after meals.
Just like peppermint, chamomile has been used for hundreds of years to treat digestive problems, including diarrhea. Chamomile tea, in particular, was considered a universal remedy in ancient Egypt. Today, experts have found fresh evidence that it may actually relieve an upset stomach. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help ease the gut and allow for easier passage of gas, as well as bowel movement. Drink three cups of chamomile tea each day to help your body replenish lost fluids and reduce discomfort.
Try The BRAT Diet
The BRAT Diet won’t actually cure diarrhea, but it’s an excellent way to recover from the effects of diarrhea. BRAT stands for banana, rice, applesauce, and toast. For years, most pediatricians prescribed this diet because it consists of foods that are low in fiber, which helps make stools firmer. It also has bananas that are high in potassium content and is very good in replacing lost nutrients. Moreover, it’s a recommended diet because it helps the digestive system get back to its normal functioning gradually and with little or not side effects. Nowadays, though, most experts suggest that people with diarrhea consider this diet only for a short period because it lacks enough nutrients. This is especially true when dealing with children. As much as possible, you should get back to your regular diet after 24 hours of having only a BRAT diet.
Get Lots Of Rest
Bonus: Grandma’s Natural Home Remedy
We’ve discussed what types of food to eat when you have diarrhea, but you also have to know which foods to stay away from to prevent your symptoms from worsening. When you have diarrhea, it’s important to stay away from fatty foods, as well as foods that contain milk, butter, and cheese. Stay away from alcoholic drinks and caffeine drinks, too, as they act as diuretics and may cause dehydration. Avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners, as well, because they may have a laxative effect on your digestive system. Most importantly, never touch food that may have been mishandled. When in doubt, simply throw it out.
Diarrhea usually lasts only for a few days. If your condition takes longer than 3 or 4 days, it’s definitely time to see the doctor. It would also be good to list down all the possible reasons you think might have cause you to have diarrhea. This will make it easier for your doctor to get to the root of the problem and prescribe the right medication for your particular case.
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