Before we dig into diarrhea remedies we should probably understand what causes it.
It is very annoying to deal with diarrhea, for how it can affect our daily routine, and it is important to recover as soon as possible. And we are going to see how.
But it is also important to know that diarrhea is not a disease, but rather a symptom, therefore knowing what causes it is the best way to prevent it from happening next time.
In my opinion, this is as important as finding a home remedy for diarrhea.
The problem is that diarrhea can hit you when you don’t expect it, and when it does…well God bless you! Lucky you, if you have access to a toilet…immediately.
Prevention is key here, we can all agree, right?
What is Diarrhea and What Causes It?
If you’re wondering whether you have diarrhea or just an episode, here is the definition: it consists in an increase in looseness and in the number of stools per day.
There are different types of diarrhea:
- Recurring: it happens kind of randomly and the episodes are close together.
- Acute: it appears suddenly and lasts less than three days.
- Chronic: it lasts for more than three weeks, and when it happens it could be the symptom of more serious diseases.
It brings a lot of discomfort when it hits you, but after all, did you know that it is still a defense mechanism of the body to eliminate the toxins or the irritants that caused it?
For this reason it’s important to find out the real cause of diarrhea, before you take any medications and consider the problem solved.
So, what usually causes diarrhea?
- Infections: bacteria and viruses can often cause intestinal infections.
- Medications: laxatives (as a side effect), iron supplements and antibiotics, especially.
- Food poisoning: how many times have you had diarrhea and found out that you ate something bad? Especially people that go on vacation and visit other countries are exposed to food and water contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Locals are used to it, but foreigners often can have some issues. This is known as Traveler’s Diarrhea. It can also be caused by foods that your tummy doesn’t tolerate well.
- Excessive stress and anxiety
- Other diseases: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
How to Prevent Diarrhea
Preventing diarrhea is a very important step, also to prevent associated symptoms that are quite common:
- Pain: you know how it hurts!
- Tiredness: when it happens, it basically drains all your energy.
- Nausea and vomiting: not as common, but it may happen.
- Loss of appetite
It would be great if all these things didn’t affect us, ever, right?
Well I can’t promise anything, but if you are careful and correct some habits, maybe you can really prevent diarrhea and the related symptoms, so:
- Wash your hands: everyone in the family should wash their hands very well with soap, after using the bathroom, and every time before eating. I have a family with some small kids, and man, this is a difficult task!
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables
- Don’t eat raw meat or fish: have you ever heard of people having diarrhea after eating sushi?
- Don’t use tap water to brush your teeth when you travel to tropical areas, Africa and all the under developed countries.
- Don’t drink tap water in those areas
What Are the Best Diarrhea Remedies?
After learning what it is, what causes it and how to prevent it, now it’s time to talk about diarrhea remedies, because we really want to recover and be functional again, don’t we?
Do’s and Don’ts
Diarrhea remedies are mostly based on changes in your diet:
- Drink plenty of water, to replace the fluids lost with diarrhea.
- Avoid fruit and green vegetables for a day or two (they have laxative effect). Some are high fiber foods, which are instead natural remedies for constipation.
- Avoid soft drinks and drinks like ice cold drinks, strong teas, and foods high in fat that are hard to digest.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee, caffeine stimulates bowl movements.
- The effectiveness of milk enzymes is widely questioned, talk to your doctor first.
- Take diarrhea relief medications, but again do it under medical supervision as it may aggravate the problem.
- Take probiotics
- Avoid drinking milk
- Avoid sweets, chocolate, sugar
What to Eat
And here are some food suggestions to relieve the diarrhea symptoms:
- Carrots: they help make the stool firmer.
- Apples: similar to carrots.
- Artichokes: help eliminate toxins, due to their diuretic properties.
- Lemon: due to its bactericidal action.
- Boiled Rice: helps fight diarrhea, due to its properties. Plain white rice with no sauce or condiments is the best diarrhea remedy I know.
- Fish and chicken, or white meats in general.
- Yogurt with live and active cultures.
You may not consider it one a diarrhea remedy, but it is also recommended not eat any solid food during the first few hours after the symptoms have started.
Drinking, though, is very important from the beginning.
Of course we can’t expect diarrhea remedies to fix everything as fast as medications, but they are a great addition to them.
In fact, when you are suddenly hit by diarrhea you are not going to stop at the grocery store and buy carrots and apples and start snaking, right?
What you do is search for Peptobismol in your medicine cupboard, because that’s what can give you immediate relief.
Now, unfortunately this is a very common “disease”, that can happen suddenly and make our life miserable for a few hours, at least.
I am sure that there are more diarrhea remedies that I am not aware of, and it would be great and appreciated if you decided to share your thoughts and solutions!