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How Do I Treat Diarrhea?

Lainie Petersen
Updated Jan 22, 2024
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Diarrhea is typically both uncomfortable and annoying, and in some cases can be a sign of a serious health problem. Chronic diarrhea can also lead to dehydration, which can have serious health consequences. In many cases, it is possible to treat diarrhea using over-the-counter remedies and making simple changes in your diet until the condition goes away. If the condition persists, you begin to suffer extreme discomfort, or you develop signs of dehydration, a doctors visit is in order to determine its cause and to find an effective treatment.

If you begin to experience loose stools, you can treat diarrhea by taking one of several over-the-counter medications that are available at your local drug or grocery store. While in previous years doctors would sometimes advise you to begin the so-called BRAT diet, a bland diet that typically consists of low-fiber starchy foods, this diet has fallen out of favor among pediatricians and may not be suitable for your own needs. It is important that you remain hydrated and include liquids in your diet, including water, broth, and juice. The latter two liquids are important for maintaining your electrolyte balance, so don't restrict your liquid intake to just plain water while you are trying to treat diarrhea.

In some cases, diarrhea does not go away on its own or is accompanied by other symptoms that indicate a serious health problem. In such cases, it is important that you see a doctor and discover what is causing your diarrhea. Once the source of the problem is identified, your doctor can prescribe ways to treat diarrhea. These treatments may include prescription antibiotics, which can address the bacterial infection that may be causing your gastrointestinal distress. Your doctor may also want to conduct a variety of tests that can give him a better idea of what is contributing to your condition, such as dietary issues or a reaction to medications that you have been taking.

Depending on the cause of your condition, your doctor may suggest one of several treatments. For example, if your doctor determines that something that you have been eating, such as certain sugar-free candies and foods, is the cause of your condition, you can make dietary changes so as to reduce or eliminate this particular side effect. Your doctor may also want you to undergo testing for food allergies or sensitivities, as consuming some foods can bring on diarrhea in some people.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On May 23, 2013

@ysmina-- Just keep her hydrated with breast milk and water. You can give her apple sauce, yogurt and potato puree.

By bluedolphin — On May 22, 2013

I know a remedy that stops diarrhea in literally a few minutes but for it you need Turkish coffee. This is very thinly ground coffee, the coffee machines at the grocery store can make it as well.

The remedy is made by mixing Turkish coffee with lemon juice. I don't know the exact proportions but it doesn't require much lemon juice. The coffee should be wet enough so that it can be rolled into a little ball in your palm.

When I have diarrhea, I make several of these balls and swallow them with water like a pill. It stops diarrhea immediately. It's the most effective treatment for diarrhea that I know of. I learned it from my mother.

By ysmina — On May 22, 2013

My six month old baby has had upset stomach and diarrhea for the past two days, probably from teething. It's not very bad so I'm going to wait a few more days before I take her to the doctor. But is there anything I can do meanwhile to reduce the diarrhea and make her feel better?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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