What are the Best Tips for Diarrhea Relief?

B. Schreiber

Diarrhea occurs when food passes through the digestive tract too quickly. It may happen for any number of reasons, but most people can expect diarrhea a few times each year. It will usually resolve on its own with time. The best tips for diarrhea relief include ways to deal with the immediate problem of diarrhea, such as medication and diet changes. There are also easy tips to avoid problems that occur with diarrhea, like dehydration, and ways to avoid it in the first place.

Wash hands before eating to avoid transmitting potentially dangerous organisms.
Wash hands before eating to avoid transmitting potentially dangerous organisms.

Even though diarrhea can be distressing, it is usually acute diarrhea that is severe but short-lasting, and will pass within a day or two. The first, best step is probably to take a non-prescription anti-diarrhea medication that contains loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate. Afterwards, take some dietary steps for diarrhea relief. Avoid dairy products, high-fat foods, and foods with added sugar or artificial sweetener, all of which can make diarrhea worse. Follow the BRAT diet by eating bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, or another high-carbohydrate whole food like a baked potato.

Bananas can help bulk up stool in those with diarrhea.
Bananas can help bulk up stool in those with diarrhea.

A bout of diarrhea can dehydrate the body, so drink some fluids without overdoing it. Water is the best choice, but diluted fruit juice and broth will probably be tolerated too. Lie down if possible to avoid making extra demands on the body, and stay away from alcohol and caffeine.

Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.

Frequent diarrhea can also be caused by a sensitivity to certain foods. It can be difficult to try pick out which food or foods one might be sensitive to without keeping track of them regularly. Therefore, try keeping a food diary with thorough entries for each meal, while also noting bouts of diarrhea in the same diary. If a link appears between a certain food and diarrhea, eliminate it from the diet. This might not show conclusive results right away, but if a genuine food sensitivity is eventually found, diarrhea relief could be found too.

Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, which is often recommended for people with diarrhea.
Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, which is often recommended for people with diarrhea.

Diarrhea can be caused by a host of microorganisms. Regularly under-cooking meats, poultry, and eggs can cause diarrhea. For preventive diarrhea relief, cook meat and eggs thoroughly, and always wash fresh produce. Viruses can be contracted from sharing food or utensils with infected people, so use your own clean utensils. Wash hands before eating to avoid transferring unhealthy organisms to food.

Oak bark supplements can help with diarrhea.
Oak bark supplements can help with diarrhea.

There are times when it is important to ask a doctor about diarrhea relief. It is sometimes recommended that a doctor should be seen after three consecutive days of diarrhea. Fevers, bloody stools, and severe abdominal pain with diarrhea are also reasons to seek a doctor's advice. Mention any prescription or non-prescription drugs you're taking, some of which can cause diarrhea.

Keeping a food diary may help establish a connection between certain foods and bouts of diarrhea.
Keeping a food diary may help establish a connection between certain foods and bouts of diarrhea.
Increasing water intake is necessary to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Increasing water intake is necessary to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Diarrhea that lasts for more than two days may be a symptom of a serious condition.
Diarrhea that lasts for more than two days may be a symptom of a serious condition.
Diarrhea typically resolves on its own with time.
Diarrhea typically resolves on its own with time.
Eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids may help an elderly person avoid diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems.
Eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids may help an elderly person avoid diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems.

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Discussion Comments

bluedolphin

I know a great remedy for diarrhea that most people have never heard of. I learned this from my mother and it works every time, and quickly too.

The remedy is this. Take some finely ground coffee (such as Turkish coffee) and then squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon juice on top. Use your hands to make small balls, sort of like pills. Then slow these down with a glass of water. This remedy stops my diarrhea within just a few minutes every time. I've never seen it not work. Just make sure that the coffee is very finely ground. And don't use ready-made lemon juice, use the real thing.

stoneMason

@turquoise-- I think applesauce is fine. I had applesauce when I had diarrhea and I don't think it made things worse. Apples don't contain as much fiber as some other fruits like apricots or plums for example. I would avoid the latter.

What we ought to eat also depends on the cause of the diarrhea. For example, foods like oatmeal and bread are often suggested to those with a stomach upset and diarrhea. But if the cause of the diarrhea is gluten intolerance, then obviously these foods with gluten have to be avoided.

My favorite food during diarrhea is actually mashed potatoes. Most people have no problems with potatoes and it's great at settling the stomach and slowing down diarrhea.

turquoise

Won't things like applesauce worsen diarrhea since it contains fiber? Don't we need to avoid fiber when experiencing diarrhea?

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