When To Seek Medical Help
You should never ignore diarrhea. If you have tried the above-listed home remedies and still have loose stools, call your doctor or your pharmacist. They might recommend over-the-counter medicine that can help.
On the other hand, you should see a doctor right away if you or your child have persistent or severe diarrhea or show signs of dehydration, such as:
Sunken cheeks or eyes
Skin that doesn’t retract when pinched
Babies under 3 months old with diarrhea should be taken to a doctor or emergency room right away. Don’t wait or try to treat the condition at home.
How Can I Best Treat My Diarrhea And Help My Recovery
Heres what to do if you get diarrhea:
- Take IMODIUM straight after your first bout it can relieve diarrhea in just one hour so your body can start to recover sooner
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and/or taking a rehydration treatment
- Avoid fizzy drinks and rich or spicy foods
- As your appetite increases, eat regular meals of simple baked foods
When To Call A Doctor
Most cases of acute diarrhea are self-resolving, and symptoms will improve within a few days.
However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, if symptoms persist for longer than 2 days , you should seek medical attention, as you may be getting dehydrated and need IV fluids or other treatment and evaluation.
Diarrhea is also a symptom of some serious medical emergencies. If you experience loose, watery stools alongside any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency help. A combination of these symptoms may be a sign of a severe underlying illness.
- a fever
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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, loperamide may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking loperamide:
- Blistering, peeling, loosening of skin
- chest pain or discomfort
- difficulty in passing urine
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, sex organs
- no blood pressure or pulse
- painful urination
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
1. Brown JW “Toxic megacolon associated with loperamide therapy.” JAMA 241 : 501-2
2. “Product Information. Loperamide Hydrochloride .” Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, North Wales, PA.
3. Walley T, Milson D “Loperamide related toxic megacolon in Clostridium difficile colitis.” Postgrad Med J 66 : 582
4. “Product Information. Imodium .” Janssen Pharmaceutica, Titusville, NJ.
5. Ericsson CD, Johnson PC “Safety and efficacy of loperamide.” Am J Med 88 : s10-4
6. Olm M, Gonzalez FJ, Garcia-Valdecasas JC, Fuster J, Bertran A, Milla J “Necrotising colitis with perforation in diarrhoic patients treated with loperamide.” Eur J Clin Pharmacol 40 : 415-6
7. Katz JP, Sturmann KM “Appendicitis associated with loperamide hydrochloride abuse.” Ann Pharmacother 27 : 369-70
8. Hill MA, Greason FC “Loperamide dependence.” J Clin Psychiatry 53 : 450
Mashed Carrots Sweet Potatoes & Potatoes
Carrots, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes are all good choices for a dog with diarrhea. Theyre starchy carbs that will help firm up loose or watery poop quickly. You can give your pup plain cooked vegetables on their own as an easy-to-digest treat or mix them into their regular food to increase the fiber content of their diet.
Can I Manage Diarrhea Without Taking Any Medication
When you have an acute case of diarrhea, you can often take care of it without needing any medication. Several things you can do to care for diarrhea include:
- Drinking plenty of water and other electrolyte balanced fluids and caffeine-free sodas). Make sure to hydrate throughout day. Your body loses water each time you have diarrhea. By drinking plenty of extra fluids, you are protecting your body from dehydration.
- Changing your diet. Instead of picking greasy, fatty or fried foods, go for the BRAT diet:
- B: Bananas.
- A: Applesauce.
- T: Toast .
Sometimes, diarrhea can also make you lactose intolerant. This is usually temporary and it means that you need to avoid items with lactose until your diarrhea is gone.
How Is Diarrhea Diagnosed
To see if you have diarrhea, your healthcare provider will give you a physical exam and ask about your past health. You may also have lab tests to check your blood and urine.
Other tests may include:
- Stool studies including culture and other tests. This test checks for any abnormal bacteria in your digestive tract that may cause diarrhea and other problems. To do this, a small stool sample is taken and sent to a lab.
- Sigmoidoscopy. This test lets your healthcare provider check the inside of part of your large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea. A short, flexible, lighted tube is put into your intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into your intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside. A biopsy can be taken if needed.
- Colonoscopy. This test looks at the full length of your large intestine. It can help check for any abnormal growths, tissue that is red or swollen, sores , or bleeding. A long, flexible, lighted tube is put into your rectum up into the colon. This tube lets your healthcare provider see the lining of your colon and take out a tissue sample to test it. He or she can also treat some problems that may be found.
- Imaging tests. These tests can see if there are any problems with the way your organs are formed .
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Can Diarrhea Be Prevented
There are a few ways you can decrease your chances of having diarrhea, including:
- Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits: Washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, as well as cooking, handling, and eating, is an important way to prevent diarrhea. Washing your hands thoroughly can really help keep you and those around you stay healthy.
- Getting your vaccinations: Rotavirus, one of the causes of diarrhea, can be prevented with the rotavirus vaccine. This is given to infants in several stages during the first year of life.
- Storing food properly: By keeping your food stored at the right temperatures, not eating things that have gone bad, cooking food to the recommended temperature and handling all foods safely, you can prevent diarrhea.
- Watching what you drink when you travel: Travelers diarrhea can happen when you drink water or other drinks that havent been treated correctly. This is most likely to happen in developing countries. To avoid getting diarrhea there are a few tips to follow. Watch what you drink. Dont drink tap water, use ice cubes, brush your teeth with tap water, or consume unpasteurized milk, milk products or unpasteurized juices. You should also be careful when trying local foods from street vendors, eating raw or undercooked meats , as well as raw fruits and vegetables. When in doubt, drink bottled water or something thats been boiled first .
Foods To Eat When You Have Diarrhea And 5 To Avoid
- When you have diarrhea, avoid greasy, sugary, and spicy foods.
- Eat foods that are easy on the stomach like soup, boiled vegetables, crackers, and lots of liquids.
- The BRAT diet can help over short periods of time as well.
If you have diarrhea, food may be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and get adequate nutrition during a bout of diarrhea, says Deepti Mundkur, MD, a primary care physician with her own practice in San Diego. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dehydration is one of the biggest dangers of diarrhea.
Some foods can make an upset stomach worse, so it is important to eat foods that are easy on the tummy. Boiled vegetables, low-fiber starches, lean poultry, crackers, soup, and eggs are some of the foods that are recommended for patients with diarrhea, says Mundkur.
On the other hand, foods to avoid include spicy foods, sugary foods, dairy products, foods with a high fat content. You should also avoid foods that give you gas.
You may have heard of the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, which is a traditional remedy for diarrhea. It isn’t a diet that you should go on long term, but can be helpful over short periods of time.
Here are some foods you should eat when you have diarrhea, to help ease your symptoms and speed up your recovery.
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What To Eat When You Have Diarrhea
Whether your diarrhea is caused by allergies, food poisoning, a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome, or something else, diet and diarrhea are intricately linked.
Even if you have long-term conditions that affect the digestive system, the diet you eat can greatly affect your comfort levels.
When youre experiencing an episode of diarrhea, there are certain foods that you can eat to help your digestive system get back on track. There are also certain foods that you should avoid.
Citrus Fruit And Diarrhea
Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and tangerines, which are also known as mandarin oranges. These fruits are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamin C, which are nutrients that may protect against heart disease and cancer.
Though these fruits offer many health benefits, you shouldn’t eat them if you have an allergy to citrus fruits. Food allergies can cause an array of symptoms, including digestive issues like diarrhea.
However, according to a January 2013 study published in âPLOS Oneâ, citrus fruit allergies are most often caused by pollen and more likely to cause the type of symptoms you’d expect with hay fever, such as runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat or sneezing.
Though abdominal symptoms such as pain, nausea or vomiting are possible. The authors of the âPLOS Oneâ study noted that participants with abdominal pain and diarrhea were more likely to have a systemic food allergy, which is a more serious allergy that increases risk of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening conditions that requires immediate medical attention.
Citrus allergies aren’t common. If you suspect an allergy, you should consult with a medical professional who can provide the right diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
âRead more:âFoods to Eat to Stop Diarrhea
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What Symptoms Relate To Diarrhoea
As well as the loose and watery stools of diarrhoea, you may sometimes have other symptoms, including:
You may feel an urgent need to go to the toilet.
Foods To Eat When You Have Diarrhea
When you have diarrhea, the foods that you eat and the foods that you avoid can be critical to helping you recover quicker. This is where BRAT foods come in.
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, apples, toast. These foods are bland, so they wont aggravate the digestive system. Theyre also binding, so they help firm up stool.
Other foods that are included in the BRAT diet include:
- cooked cereal, like Cream of Wheat or farina
- soda crackers
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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.
Return To A Normal Diet
Provided you’re able to consume oatmeal without any adverse effects, you can continue to eat this type of food as you begin to transition back toward your usual diet. A standard approach is to add foods such as chicken or turkey, cooked vegetables and eggs to your diet while avoiding foods that are excessively spicy or high in fat until you’re completely over your symptoms. Limit your intake of high-fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, as they can keep your stools loose.
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How Is Diarrhoea Diagnosed
Diarrhoea can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and a medical history, taken by your doctor. If the diarrhoea goes away after a few days you may not find the cause.
Sometimes, tests will be needed to diagnose an underlying condition. These include:
If you have ongoing diarrhoea, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist or other specialist to work out the underlying cause.
What Other Symptoms Might I Have With Diarrhea
Other possible symptoms of diarrhea include:
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen
- An urgent need to use the bathroom
- Loss of bowel control
If a virus or bacteria is the cause of your diarrhea, you may also have a fever, chills, and bloody stools.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means that your body does not have enough fluid to work properly. Dehydration can be serious, especially for children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
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What Are The Treatments For Diarrhea
Diarrhea is treated by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may need medicines to stop the diarrhea or treat an infection.
Adults with diarrhea should drink water, fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas without caffeine, and salty broths. As your symptoms improve, you can eat soft, bland food.
Children with diarrhea should be given oral rehydration solutions to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
What Is Bloody Diarrhea
Spotting blood in the toilet or on the toilet paper can be upsetting. And blood is always cause for concern. That said, a trace of blood in your stool can be caused by a relatively minor condition, such as mild constipation or hemorrhoids.
But if youre noticing more than a trace, or if the blood is accompanied by other stomach issues, you may need to see a doctor. Possible culprits include a bacterial or parasite infection, inflammatory bowel diseases , and colorectal cancer.
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Where Does Diarrhea Come From
There are a number of reasons that people could have recurring or chronic diarrhea, including certain digestive disorders like Crohns disease, celiac, IBS, or colitis. For those who experience more infrequent diarrhea, the cause may be diet related or a result of a virus, bacteria, or parasite.
Although diarrhea, in adults, is common and typically pretty harmless, there are instances when you should contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates to make sure theres nothing serious going on. If you find yourself experiencing diarrhea for more than two days, if its accompanied by severe pain, youre dehydrated, have a fever, or detect blood in the stool, come in for a check up. Please note, this information is generally based on adults, if your child is experiencing these symptoms you should seek medical attention if it lasts 24 hours. Carolina Digestive Health Associates will be able to conduct an exam to determine a root cause and potential treatment.
Diarrhea Actually Could Help Your Body Heal Faster
Weve all been there. A bad feeling in your stomach and digestive tract starts to sneak up on you and youre hoping theres a bathroom nearby. Diarrhea is something that happens pretty frequently, even to healthy individuals, and usually includes an urgent need to go to the restroom, loose watery stool, nausea, and bloating. Its hard to think that having diarrhea might actually be a good thing, but science is actually pointing in that direction.
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When To See A Doctor
Blood or mucus may appear in the stool in more serious cases of diarrhea. This is often accompanied by a fever and requires a visit to the doctor as soon as possible.
Untreated diarrhea can also lead to serious complications, including dehydration. A person with severe diarrhea may require hospitalization and intravenous electrolytes.
Anyone experiencing a fever of higher than 102°F or severe abdominal pains should visit a doctor.
Parents or guardians should carefully monitor any children with diarrhea. If symptoms do not clear up with 24 hours, they should call the doctor for guidance.
If a child shows any signs of dehydration, seek immediate medical care. Signs include:
- dry diaper for longer than 3 hours
- weight loss
- crying without tears
Any additional symptoms should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.