Foods To Eat To Stop Diarrhea In Its Tracks
Everyone would probably agree that having diarrhea is;the worst. An upset stomach greatly disrupts quality of life until symptoms are resolved. Whether you have got nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation, there are a variety of foods that can help ease and even cure diarrhea. No matter your symptoms, choosing the right foods to help ease instead of exacerbate your pain.
Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of things such as a virus, food poisoning, eating or drinking too much, or a food allergy. The main thing to remember any time you are having stomach problems is to stay thoroughly hydrated. This means drinking plenty of clear liquids, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
If you are experiencing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is best to stick to bland foods. Try to avoid fatty foods or dairy as these can make your symptoms worse. On the other hand, if you are experiencing constipation, try to stick to fibrous foods, while making sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Here are some foods you can stock up on, that address the unpleasant symptoms of diarrhea. Many of these are pantry staples, so they are easy to keep on hand for the next time you are not feeling well.
Hydration Is Major Key
The more water lost in your stool, the less you have in your body, and the greater your risk for dehydration. Dehydration will only make you feel worse, so drink up.
Stick to water, and/or small amounts of an electrolyte-containing beverages .
And although bubbles may sound soothing,;carbonation can actually make diarrhea worse, so stick avoid fizzy drinks until you’re back up to speed.
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.
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Fatty And Fried Foods
Fried foods don’t have any redeeming qualities when it comes to your health. In fact, in some cases, they can wreak havoc.
Sauceda advises to stay away from high-fat foods while you’re experiencing symptoms like cramping and loose stool. This is because foods high in fat, especially fried foods, can be hard on the gut even if you don’t have diarrhea.
Our bodies can have a tough time digesting a heavy dose of fat like what you may find in fried chicken wings or greasy pizza. If the fats aren’t absorbed properly, they continue through our guts to the colon where they’re broken down into fatty acids, as explained by Harvard Health Publishing. This causes our colon to secrete fluid, which can trigger or exacerbate diarrhea.
Foods To Avoid When You Have Diarrhea
It is important to know;what to eat for diarrhea. But it is just as important to know what;not;to eat when you have diarrhea. The last thing you would want to do is to make matters worse by eating foods that could;potentially aggravate your stomach or cause you to have even more intestinal spasms. Doing so could lead to more misery.
Milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream
Fatty, greasy foods
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The Best Foods To Eat When You Have Diarrhea And Which Foods You Should Definitely Avoid
- The best foods for diarrhea are clear broth and beverages with electrolytes like coconut water.
- You can also follow the BRAT diet when you have diarrhea, which includes foods like bananas, toast, applesauce, and other easily-digestible foods.
- When you have diarrhea, you should avoid milk and dairy products, raw vegetables, processed foods, and spicy foods.
- This article was;medically reviewed;by;Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
When you have diarrhea, you pass loose or watery stool more than three times a day. It’s a common problem and in most cases isn’t indicative of any underlying conditions. However, it can be uncomfortable.;
There are many foods you can eat to help you stop diarrhea. But on the other hand, consuming some foods may potentially worsen your diarrhea symptoms. Here’s a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid when you have diarrhea, and how they work.;
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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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.
What To Eat If You Have Diarrhea:
- Eat foods that are high in pectin, such as applesauce, bananas, and yogurt. Pectin, a water-soluble fiber, helps reduce diarrhea.
- Eat foods that have a lot of potassium, such as fruit juices, sports drinks, potatoes without the skin, and bananas. Potassium is often lost through diarrhea.
- Eat foods that are high in sodium, such as soups, broths, sports drinks, crackers, and pretzels. Salt helps you retain water so you don’t become dehydrated.
- Get enough protein. Try lean baked beef, pork, turkey, or chicken, or well-cooked eggs or tofu. This can help you avoid fatigue.
- If you like certain fruits and vegetables, eat them cooked, not raw. Some raw fruits and vegetables can make diarrhea worse. Try soups made with cooked asparagus tips, beets, carrots, peeled zucchini, mushrooms, or celery; tomato puree; or a baked potato without the skin.
- Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic, or carbonated beverages and very hot or cold foods. They may irritate your digestive tract.
- Avoid using tobacco products. They may irritate your digestive tract.
- Avoid high-fat, fried, greasy, and rich foods. They can promote diarrhea.
- Avoid foods that cause gas, such as chewing gum and carbonated beverages. They can irritate your digestive tract.
- Limit milk and milk products. They may be hard to digest and promote diarrhea.
- Avoid nuts, raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads, and bran products. They can be irritating to your digestive tract.
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Do Some Detective Work
Experiment with what you eat to find out what works for you, Bonci says. “People could be selective with what they have, saying, ‘OK, I’m no good with apples, but I’m alright with a pear. Or grapes don’t work for me, but I’m OK with having a little bit of a banana.'”
Keep a symptom journal to track which foods and which amounts seem to give you diarrhea. It’s the best way to figure out which eats might be causing you problems. Remember, different foods affect people differently.
You could also try an elimination diet — if you think certain foods might be triggering your symptoms, stop eating them one at a time, and see how that makes you feel.
Foods/fluids That May Improve Diarrhea
- Increase fluids to prevent dehydration. Try to drink these fluids between your meals. Liquids with a meal may speed up stomach emptying and possibly worsen diarrhea.
- Eat and/or drink foods and beverages with sodium and potassium. Diarrhea can lead to low levels of both sodium and potassium, so it is important to replace these electrolytes through your diet
- Sports drinks ; however, avoid sugar-free drinks which have artificial sweeteners
- Equalyte®, Pedialyte®
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When And How To Eat If You Have Diarrhea:
- Try a clear liquid diet water, weak tea, apple juice, clear broth, frozen pops, or plain gelatin as soon as diarrhea starts or you feel it’s going to start. Clear liquids keep the bowels from working too hard and help prevent irritation.
- Eat small, frequent meals. Your body may find smaller amounts easier to digest.
- After;2 days of diarrhea, start a liquid diet and add low-fiber foods as you can tolerate them. This will help lessen bowel irritation and will give you some nutrients.
- Drink at least a cup of liquid after each bout of diarrhea so you don’t become dehydrated.
How To Treat Diarrhea
In many cases, treatment will involve managing your symptoms while you wait for the diarrhea to pass. The primary treatment for severe diarrhea is to replace fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes are the minerals in your body fluid that conduct the electricity your body needs to function.
Drink more fluids, like water, and juice, or broths. Oral hydration solutions, such as Pedialyte, are formulated specifically for infants and children, and contain important electrolytes. These solutions are also available for adults. Find a great selection here.
You can use over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications if your stool isnt black or bloody, and you dont have a fever. These symptoms indicate you may have a bacterial infection or parasites, which can be made worse by antidiarrheal medications.
OTC medications should not be given to children under the age of two unless approved by a doctor. If your infection is bacterial, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
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Energy And General Health
Having diarrhea causes your body to lose a lot of water, and preventing dehydration is especially important to your wellbeing when you are following the diarrhea diet. Babies, young children, and the elderly are especially at risk.
While you may not feel up to guzzling down glass after glass, be sure to sip on water or another approved beverage as frequently as you can. If the balance of fluid and salts in your body is off, not only will you continue to feel rundown and generally unwell, but it can lead to potentially serious complications.
Controversy On What You Should Be Eating
If you’ve done a fair amount of research on foods that you should be eating when experiencing diarrhea, then you have probably come across contradicting information Such as some sources telling you to eat this food and that food, while others tell you to avoid such.
One of the big problems here is the simple fact that everyone’s body is different and may respond differently to different foods. One person’s body may have a problem with the amount of fiber provided in one food while another person’s may respond as if it is not getting enough.
If you no something on the list above is going to cause you a diarrhea, or worsen it, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat it.;
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Role Of The Brat Diet
If have experienced chronic diarrhea, you have probably been advised to try the BRAT diet. This stands for: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.
These foods slow down the intestines and decrease how often you have bowel movements.; The BRAT Diet is not very nutritious and should not be used for a long period of time.;;
As a starting point, here are some extreme diet changes that are not recommended:
- Do not avoid all fiber,
- Do not limit your diet to only liquids,
- Do not cut out all liquids , and
- Do not exclude foods with sodium and potassium. These are important electrolytes that can become low when you have diarrhea.;
Foods That May Not Help
1. Fatty or greasy foods
For some people, greasy foods worsen diarrhea, DAmbrosio says.
Avoid fried foods, or foods high in fat like bacon, sausage, pizza and pastries which may worsen symptoms.
Caffeine acts as a bowel stimulant and may aggravate diarrhea in some, she says.
If someone has underlying lactose intolerance, they will need to determine how much they are able to tolerate without symptoms, DAmbrosio says.
For many with lactose intolerance, yogurt and cheese are easier to tolerate because they have lower amount of lactose.
4. Sorbitol or sugar-free foods
If an individual has sugar-free candies or gums or certain diet products, the sorbitol or xylitol ingredients can act as laxatives and can worsen diarrhea, according to DAmbrosio.
If you have diarrhea, you will want to minimize the amount of insoluble fibre, which adds bulk to the stools and promotes movement, DAmbrosio says.
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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.
Crackers Pretzels And Toast
Dry foods such as crackers, pretzels, toast and cereals are often recommended to people experiencing nausea. In fact, one study found that almost 90% of gynecologists recommend soda crackers to women with morning sickness .
Its not clear why people tolerate dry, plain foods when theyre nauseous, and no scientific research on the topic exists.
However, its known that people feel more nauseous on an empty stomach and react poorly to strong-smelling foods .
Thats why its best to avoid preparing and cooking food when youre sick, as the sight and smell of food could trigger nausea.
Crackers, pretzels, toast and cereals are quick meal fixes that require little to no preparation, have no strong odor and may help settle your empty, upset stomach .
An empty stomach and strong-smelling foods can trigger or worsen nausea. Crackers and other plain, dry foods may help settle your stomach.
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When To Seek Medical Treatment For Diarrhea:
- Yellow urine
- Less urine than usual
If your diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection, Mundkur says you may experience severe diarrhea, fever, and bloody stools; however, antibiotics can help treat the infection if it’s bacterial.;
On the other hand, persistent blood in your stools could also be an indication of something more serious. “Sometimes colon cancer can cause diarrhea and blood in the stool, so it is important to talk to your primary care physician about whether you need a colonoscopy,” says Mundkur.
Foods To Eat If You Have Diarrhea
While its by no means a pleasant topic to discuss, weve all experienced it before. Diarrhea is defined as having more than three loose or watery stools a day and can occur for a number of different reasons such illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, a bacterial infection, food allergy, or simply just eating something that doesnt agree with you. Most of the time it isnt serious and can be managed at home.
Regardless, its no doubt an uncomfortable situation to be in and unfortunately theres not much a person can do to stop diarrhea once it starts. The best treatment is rest, a restricted diet, and drinking lots of water. Within this restricted diet, there are some foods that can help ease to ease the symptoms, or at least avoid making the situation any worse.
Heres a look at some foods to eat if youre experiencing diarrhea
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