Probiotics For Treatment Of Diarrhea
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can improve digestive health.
Some studies show they can help treat certain types of acute diarrhea, but their use for chronic diarrhea is not so clear .
The best evidence so far is on those with IBS, but the most beneficial strains of probiotic bacteria is in the early stages of research .
In a study of 362 IBS participants, overall symptoms and self-reported bowel habit satisfaction improved by more than 20% after 4 weeks, compared to a control group taking a placebo.
The effective strain was Bifidobacterium infantis at a dosage level of 1 x 10 cfu per day .
Image source. Click to enlarge
The above image illustrates average reduction of IBS symptoms with Bifidobacterium infantis capsule administered once daily vs placebo.
If you choose to try a probiotic it should be taken for a minimum of 4 weeks to assess effectiveness.
Additionally, some products may contain ingredients high in FODMAPS which needs to be considered first .
Summary: Early research indicates certain probiotic strains can be beneficial for managing chronic diarrhea. A probiotic supplement is worth consideration, but make sure it does not contain high FODMAP ingredients.
Limit Foods Known To Cause Digestive Stress
Certain foods and drinks can irritate the digestive system and make symptoms worse.
Its beneficial to strictly limit these when experiencing diarrhea.
- Coffee: Caffeine can have a stimulative effect on the intestinal tract. This speeds up the transit time of food during digestion and can make symptoms worse .
- Spicy foods: Capsaicin is the compound in chillies and peppers that causes the spicy flavour. It can irritate the intestinal tract and worsen symptoms .
- Alcohol: Alcohol can irritate the digestive system and speed up the passage of stools .
- High-fructose foods: Fructose is a type of sugar common in fruit, and is also a FODMAP. Excessive fructose intake, even in those who arent sensitive, can cause diarrhea because it pulls water into the digestive tract .
- High fat foods: High fat, fried and oily foods may not digest properly, causing discomfort and diarrhea in some people. It is best to minimise these types of foods when experiencing an episode .
Summary: Certain foods and compounds are known to make diarrhea symptoms worse. Avoid these foods if you are symptomatic.
Treat Ibs Or Fodmaps Sensitivities
Irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerance are one of the most common causes of chronic diarrhea in Western countries.
IBS presents in several forms including constipation predominate , diarrhea predominant and mixed .
Fortunately, its possible to manage IBS-D through diet modifications, such as following a low FODMAP diet.
FODMAPs are naturally occurring carbohydrates found in foods such as fruits, grains and legumes that can cause diarrhea and related digestive issues in sensitive people.
Systematically removing FODMAPs from the diet is the only scientifically proven way to manage IBS. This is known as the Low FODMAP diet, which you can learn more about here.
Image source. Click to enlarge.
The same systematic process is required to identify other food intolerances. That is, keeping a food and symptom diary and seeking supervision and advice from a specialist dietitian .
Summary: A primary cause of diarrhea is unmanaged IBS or food intolerance. The low FODMAP diet is the only proven method for treating this condition.
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How Can I Feel Better
Your rectal area may become sore because of all the bowel movements that diarrhea brings. You may have itching, burning, or pain when you go to the bathroom.
For relief, take a warm bath or sitz bath. Afterward, pat the area dry with a clean, soft towel. You may also try using a hemorrhoid cream or petroleum jelly on the affected area. If this continues for several days, you should contact your doctor.
Will I Become Reliant On Imodium
In over 40 years of IMODIUM use, theres no evidence at all to suggest that people who use IMODIUM regularly become reliant on it or resistant to its effects over time. In fact, you can use IMODIUM to treat all types of infectious and non-infectious diarrhea, no matter how frequently you get them.
Remember, you should see your doctor if:
- Your symptoms last longer than 48 hours
- You develop a fever over 38°C
- You have blood or mucus in your stools
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Things You Should Avoid Eating Or Drinking
You should avoid certain kinds of foods when you have diarrhea, including fried foods and greasy foods.
Avoid fruits and vegetables that can cause gas, such as broccoli, peppers, beans, peas, berries, prunes, chickpeas, green leafy vegetables, and corn.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks.
Limit or cut out milk and other dairy products if they are making your diarrhea worse or causing gas and bloating.
Whats The Difference Between Normal Diarrhea And Severe Diarrhea
There are actually several different ways to classify diarrhea. These types of diarrhea include:
- Acute diarrhea: The most common, acute diarrhea is loose watery diarrhea that lasts one to two days. This type doesnt need treatment and it usually goes away after a few days.
- Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea generally persists for several weeks two to four weeks
- Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks or comes and goes regularly over a long period of time is called chronic diarrhea.
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What Can I Give My Child To Stop Diarrhea
Usually, medicine is not necessary to treat diarrhea in kids. In most cases, acute infectious diarrhea will stop when the body clears out the infection.
“Diarrhea is like a cough when you have a cold. Your gut is trying to get the bad stuff out, explains Dr. Lazar. “If you slow down the gut with an anti-diarrheal medicine during infectious diarrhea, you’re keeping the infection inside.
If your child’s diarrhea lasts more than a few days, check with your pediatrician to determine the cause and best treatment. For chronic diarrhea, your doctor might suggest a change of diet, medication or other ongoing treatment.
List Of Natural And Home Remedies For Adults And Children For Diarrhea
Treatments for Adults
- Adults should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Replenishing water loss is important. Avoid milk as it can make diarrhea worse. Sports beverages can be beneficial because they replenish electrolytes in addition to providing hydration.
- If the patient is able to eat, avoid greasy or fatty foods. Adults, infants, toddlers, and children should be encouraged to follow the “BRAT” diet . The BRAT diet is a combination of foods to eat to treat diarrhea. If diarrhea is accompanied by nausea, have the person suck on ice chips until the nausea stops. After the diarrhea subsides, avoid alcoholic beverages and spicy foods for two additional days.
- Individuals may be able to continue their usual activities if they are mildly ill with diarrhea however, strenuous exercise should be avoided because exercise increases the risk of dehydration.
- If you are pregnant women and have diarrhea make sure to rehydrate to avoid dehydration, and consult your doctor.
Treatments for Toddlers and Children
Are herbs safe to take for diarrhea?
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How Is Diarrhea Diagnosed
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may have lab tests to check blood and urine.
Other tests may include:
A stool culture to check for abnormal bacteria or parasites in your childs digestive tract. A small stool sample is taken and sent to a lab.
A stool evaluation to check the stool for blood or fat
Blood tests to rule out certain diseases
Imaging tests to rule out structural problems
Tests to check for food intolerance or allergies
A sigmoidoscopy. This test lets the healthcare provider check the inside of part of your childs large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. It uses a short, flexible, lighted tube . The tube is put into your childs intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside.
When To See Your Doctor
While many cases of diarrhea can be treated at home with OTC remedies, rest, and a temporarily restricted diet, if it lasts long enough you should consult your doctor. Call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts more than 2 days without improvement or if you get dehydrated.
If you get dehydrated or have other symptoms, you may need to go to the emergency room to get prompt treatment.
Other symptoms to watch for include black or bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, or a fever of 102°F or higher. You can call your doctor and ask what you should do if you experience any of these symptoms.
If your child has diarrhea, call their pediatrician and ask whether you should take them to the emergency room if they:
- dont improve after 24 hours
- havent had a wet diaper in three or more hours
- have a fever of 102°F or higher
- have a dry mouth or tongue
- cry without tears
- have skin that doesnt flatten if pinched and released
- have a sunken appearance to the abdomen, cheeks, or eyes
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How Can I Treat My Acute Diarrhea
In most cases, you can treat your acute diarrhea with over-the-counter medicines such as loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate . Doctors generally do not recommend using over-the-counter medicines for people who have bloody stools or feversigns of infection with bacteria or parasites. If your diarrhea lasts more than 2 days, see a doctor right away.
When you have acute diarrhea, you may lose your appetite for a short time. When your appetite returns, you can go back to eating your normal diet. Learn more about eating when you have diarrhea.
When Should I See My Doctor
An isolated episode of diarrhoea will generally clear up without any treatment.
Seek medical advice if you have any of the following:
- ongoing or severe diarrhoea
- fever as well as diarrhoea
- unexplained weight loss
- diarrhoea at night
- signs of dehydration
Ongoing diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance, making it dangerous especially to the very young or older people, who can be affected very quickly.
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Why Does Anxiety Cause Diarrhea
Many of the exact causes of anxiety and its symptoms are still being determined. However, the main reason that anxiety-induced diarrhea occurs is because of the way the body is reacting to the “fight or flight” system. The fight or flight system occurs whenever your body perceives danger, whether real or not.
During anxiety, your body makes the decision to either stay and fight the potential threat or to flee from the situation. While this innate mechanism was helpful for keeping human beings alive and out of unnecessary harm, the system may be triggered for no clear reason at all.
Anxiety is the activation of the fight or flight system when no dangers are present. When your body is in overdrive, it causes a surge of adrenaline to redistribute your blood flow to make sure that your key organs are taken care of. This means that blood flows more to your brain, heart, lungs, and muscles. During this time, your gut does not receive as much blood flow as it normally would, leading to poor stool health and intestines that are not processing food properly.
This decreased blood flow to your gut causes it to slow down. At this point, you might be asking, Well if my gut is slowing down, then why do I have to go? It turns out that some of these stress hormones can cause your large intestine to just evacuate . This is what can lead to the symptom of diarrhea whenever you are extremely anxious.
What To Do About Nutrition When You Have Diarrhea
Do stick with bland foods. One tried and true diet for diarrhea is the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Low in fiber, bland and starchy, these foods can help replace lost nutrients and firm your stools. According to the National Institute of Healths National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , you can also try boiled potatoes, crackers, or cooked carrots.
Do eat small meals. Too much food will stimulate your gastrointestinal tract to move even more, says Ganjhu, and possibly worsen the diarrhea. Eating five to six small meals, rather than three large ones, can give your intestines a chance to digest the food more easily.
Dont eat fried food. Prepare foods like beef, pork, chicken, fish, or turkey by baking or broiling, not frying, which can worsen diarrhea. Cooked eggs are okay, too, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Do eat when hunger strikes. Listen to your body and dont force yourself to eat, which can worsen symptoms. Trust your body to tell you when and how much it can tolerate, notes Ganjhu.
Dont eat fruits and vegetables that cause gas. Eating gassy food when you have diarrhea can increase intestinal gas and should be avoided. This includes fruits and vegetables, like prunes, berries, beans, peas, broccoli, corn, and green leafy vegetables, and sweet foods like cookies or cakes.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Diarrhea
Proper handwashing can reduce the spread of bacteria that may cause diarrhea.
A rotavirus vaccine can prevent diarrhea caused by rotaviruses. Ask your child’s healthcare provider which vaccines are right for your child.
When you travel, make sure anything your child eats and drinks is safe. This is even more important if you travel to developing countries.
Travel safety tips for drinking and eating include:
Not drinking tap water or using it to brush teeth
Not using ice made from tap water
Not drinking unpasteurized milk
Not eating raw fruits and vegetables unless you wash and peel them yourself
Not eating raw or undercooked meat or fish
Not eating food from street vendors or food trucks
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider before traveling.
Isnt It Better To Treat The Root Cause Of The Problem
Its true that its better to avoid trigger foods or stresses, if these are the factors that bring on diarrhea for you. But often you cant control the cause of your diarrhea, especially if you have a sensitive system. So the best you can do is treat the effects in order to limit the extra strain on your system caused by loss of fluids and salts. Treatment will stop your diarrhea and help your body to get back to recovery more quickly than if you dont treat at all.
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Diet Strategies For Managing Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic or recurring diarrhea can occur in many different digestive disorders. If you have more than mild, short-term diarrhea, you should consult a physician to obtain a diagnosis and receive specific treatment.
In some people, chronic diarrhea may be controlled to some extent through changes in diet and lifestyle. The good news is that making some changes to what, when, and how much a person eats and drinks, along with medications, if indicated can improve the quality of life for some.
All of the suggestions listed in this article may not work for everyone. It is important to consult with your doctor or dietitian before making decisions about your treatment.
Can Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea
Most antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics can change the balance of bacteria normally found in the intestines, allowing certain types of bacteria like C. difficile to thrive. When this happens, your colon can become overrun by bad bacteria that causes colitis .
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can begin any time while youre taking the antibiotic or shortly thereafter. If you experience this side effect, call your healthcare provider to talk about the diarrhea and discuss the best option to relieve this side effect.
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How Often Can Diarrhea Occur
Those that suffer from persistent, regular anxiety may experience diarrhea at any time. During periods of anxiety, the brain tells the gut to slow or stop digestion, and the effects of that may be felt at any time. A person may experience diarrhea once a day, or they may experience it several times over a period of a few hours.
An exception is for those with panic attacks from anxiety. Panic attacks tend to trigger a more profound response in the gut. The intensity of these panic/anxiety attacks tends to have an immediate impact, and most of those with panic attacks will experience diarrhea either during or soon after an episode.
However, because those with panic attacks often also experience persistent or chronic anxiety, diarrhea can still occur at any time. Severe, frequent diarrhea should still be reviewed by a doctor to be safe.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diarrhea
The symptoms you can experience when you have diarrhea can vary depending on if its mild or severe and what the cause of the diarrhea happens to be. Theres a link between severe cases of diarrhea and a medical condition that needs to be treated.
When you have diarrhea, you may experience all of these symptoms or only a few. The main symptom of diarrhea is loose or watery stool.
Other symptoms of mild diarrhea can include:
- Bloating or cramps in the abdomen.
- A strong and urgent need to have a bowel movement.
- Nausea .
If you have severe diarrhea, you may experience symptoms like:
Severe diarrhea can lead to significant complications. If you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider and seek medical attention.
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