Take Medicine Once You Feel Sick
Myth. Diarrhea often goes away on its own, so treatment isn’t usually necessary. But over-the-counter diarrhea medications can offer some relief from symptoms. Avoid them if you have a fever or other symptoms, such as bloody stool. Don’t give babies or children any diarrhea medicine unless a pediatrician recommends it.
What Diet Changes May Help
If you have chronic diarrhea, it is a good idea to keep a food diary. This can help you identify problem foods, difficult times of the day, and symptoms. You should share your food symptom diary with your healthcare provider or dietitian. This will help them see if there are any foods causing your symptoms.
What Foods To Eat When You Have Diarrhea
If occasional bouts of diarrhea sound familiar, or if you have ongoing episodes of diarrhea, you should seriously consider the best diet for diarrhea. While some people fear this type of diet is too restrictive and boring, the reality is that there are many different foods to eat for diarrhea that can be healthy, nutritious, and delicious.
The following list outlines some of the foods that can be included in a diet for diarrhea:
People whore really struggling with severe diarrhea are often advised to use electrolyte replacement drinks. Gatorade is an example of a drink full of electrolytes.
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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
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.
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Food And Beverage Recommendations For Diarrhea Symptoms
The best diet to follow when you have diarrhea is one that goes easy on your digestive system and helps bind stools. Knowing what to eat when you have diarrhea cannot only help prevent your condition from getting worse, but ensure that you get the nutrition you need to support your recovering body.
The diarrhea diet has a lot in common with the well-known BRAT diet, which is used for a variety of digestive concerns. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, and youll find these items and others amongst the recommendations.
This article lists the specific foods you should reach for if you have diarrhea and how they can help you. It also offers cooking and other tips, and reviews some side effects you may experience.
Verywell / Zorica Lakonic
Signs That Patients Require Further Medical Attention
If patients are still suffering from diarrhea following the recommended changes to their diet, it is recommended that they seek medical attention promptly to exclude other causes. If diarrhea lasts longer than three days, results in dehydration or presents other serious symptoms, patients will need further treatment and medication.Other symptoms include black or bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, and high fever. In the scenario where a child is experiencing this condition, parents of the patient need to be mindful of the following signs:
- Hasnt had a wet diaper in a couple of hours
- High fever
- A dry mouth or tongue
- Sunken appearance
- Skin that doesnt flatten if pinched or squeezed
- Black or bloody stools
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The #1 Snack To Eat When You Have Diarrhea According To A Dietitian
While it might not be the most glamorous of topics, the frequency and appearance of our poop can tell us a lot about our health. Since going number two is the last step in digestion, we at EatingWell are pretty tuned in to what can helpor hurtyour cause. While there are several foods that can help you stay regular, it can be a little easier said than done. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are also foods and strategies that can help when you can’t stop going to the bathroom.
There are actually specific foods that can help treat diarrhea and settle an upset stomach, and they make up what’s called the BRAT diet. This acronym stands for four foods: bananas, rice , applesauce and toast. Typically when we are healthy, we want to focus on including high-fiber foods to help keep your gut healthy. But when we have a stomach bug or are experiencing diarrhea, eating ample fiber can actually exacerbate the issue. The BRAT diet foods are lower-fiber, simple carbohydrates that are easier to digest and can help make stools more firm.
To try out the BRAT diet when you’re experiencing symptoms, start small with a snack rather than a full meal as to not overload your already-distressed digestive system. This is why we have deemed our Peanut-Butter Banana Cinnamon Toast the best snack to eat when you have diarrhea.
Lean Chicken Or Turkey
Greasy foods with a high fat content can make your diarrhea worse, so opt for low-fat meat options like skinless chicken or turkey. Mundkur recommends baking the meat and eating it unseasoned, since spices and seasonings can irritate your system. You can use dry or fresh herbs, like basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, or cilantro to flavor the meat, says Mundkur.
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Ways To Treat Diarrhea
Look for liquids with sugar and salt Pedialyte or full-salt soups work well,” he says. “If your urine is not clear, or you are not making much urine, you are not drinking enough.”
In terms of diarrhea treatment, Higgins says, if you dont have an infection and are not seeing blood, you can take over-the-counter loperamide to slow your bowel movements. But this kind of medication should only be taken for a day or two.
If diet and simple remedies aren’t working, and if symptoms persist for more than a few days and include bleeding, gas, and bloating, you should see a doctor. Your doctor can determine whether the diarrhea is caused by a more serious condition, and can recommend treatment.
Additional reporting by María Villaseñor.
Sugary Foods And Artificial Sweeteners
Sugars that pass into the colon may disrupt the already sensitive bacteria there, making diarrhea worse. These sugars will be present in fruit juices and high sugar fruits, as well as candy and sweet baked goods.
People with diarrhea should also avoid artificial sweeteners, some of which can have a laxative effect.
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When To See A Doctor
If you have frequent or chronic diarrhea, if might help to see a doctor. They can help you figure out if its linked with a food intolerance or a digestive system disorder.
Frequent diarrhea can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or another gastrointestinal issue that could be treated.
See a doctor if you notice the following:
- frequent or chronic diarrhea
- severe abdominal pain or cramping
- serious symptoms of dehydration
- stool that contains blood or pus
If you arent sure what foods are causing diarrhea or other digestive symptoms, you might benefit from trying an elimination diet.
To do this, you eliminate certain foods to see if your symptoms improve. This helps you work out how different foods are affecting your body.
If you have chronic or severe diarrhea, or other worrying symptoms, see a doctor for advice about its causes and treatments.
Causes Of Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is sometimes caused by an underlying medical condition. See your doctor if diarrhea doesnt respond to at-home care. If youre concerned about your diarrhea and dont already have a primary care provider, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
During your appointment, your doctor may conduct a physical examination and ask about your symptoms. For example, how often do you have loose stools? Do you have any other symptoms? Is there a personal or family history of digestive problems? Based on your physical exam and your symptoms, your doctor may order a complete blood count or a stool sample to check for infections or inflammation.
A stool sample, which examines feces, may reveal elevated white blood cells. This can be a sign of inflammation in your body or bacteria or parasites in your stool. The latter can also cause loose stools. This sample may also reveal fat in your stool, which can indicate chronic pancreatitis or celiac disease.
Your diet can also play a role in chronic diarrhea. Certain ingredients speed up the rate of digestion, causing food to pass rapidly through the colon. Common culprits include milk and artificial sweeteners .
Other causes of chronic diarrhea may include:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Diarrhea
Diarrhea can cause a variety of distinct symptoms. Only one of these things might happen to you, or any combination of them might. The cause behind diarrhea determines the symptoms. Here are the common symptoms of diarrhea
- Loose watery frequent stools
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Renal failure in severe dehydration
Along with excrement, diarrhea causes the loss of electrolytes and water. To replenish the lost fluids, you must consume enough of liquids. If dehydration does not improve, worsens, or is not properly treated, it may become dangerous.
Path To Improved Health
The BRAT diet is a bland food diet recommended for adults and children. The benefits of using the BRAT diet to treat upset stomach and diarrhea include:
- The foods used in the diet make your stools firmer. Thats because the foods are considered binding foods. Theyre low-fiber, bland, starchy foods.
- The foods help replace nutrients your body needs and has lost due to vomiting and diarrhea. Bananas, for example, are high in the vitamin potassium.
Bland foods dont irritate your stomach. After you have diarrhea or vomiting, follow the BRAT diet to help your body ease back into normal eating. This diet also may help ease the nausea and vomiting some women experience during pregnancy.
You can add other bland foods to the BRAT diet. For example, you can try saltine crackers, plain potatoes, or clear soup broths. Dont start eating dairy products, sugary, or fatty foods right away. These foods may trigger nausea or lead to more diarrhea.
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Foods To Avoid When You Have Diarrhea
Now that you have a sense of what to include in a diarrhea diet, lets look at foods to avoid for diarrhea. Some of the following food items may seem like obvious digestive agitators while others may come as a surprise to you.
Other foods including onion, garlic, processed foods, raw vegetables, certain foods that cause gas , citrus fruits, and fatty meats can aggravate diarrhea. Additionally, caffeine in drinks, such as coffee, tea, and soda can make digestive problems worse. You should avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol when fighting diarrhea.
While it should go without saying, foods that may be spoiled should be avoided. When youre in doubt, its better to be cautious and throw the food item out.
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.
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Home Remedies And Natural Remedies
Chronic diarrhea may develop after taking a prescription medication such as an antibiotic. Talk to your doctor about alternative drugs. If one isnt available, incorporate probiotics into your diet to restore stool bulk. These are available in yogurt and capsule form.
Fiber supplements are associated with relieving constipation. But certain fiber supplements can also relieve chronic diarrhea because of its water-holding effect. Taking psyllium on a daily basis can produce bulkier stools and lessen or eliminate diarrhea caused by IBS or medication.
Chronic diarrhea caused by an underlying medical condition isnt always preventable. But you can prevent chronic diarrhea due to infection by taking steps to keep your food and water supply clean. For example:
- Drink from a clean water source or filter your water.
- Thoroughly clean meat before cooking.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Wash your hands after handling food.
- Clean kitchen surfaces to prevent contamination.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or attending to a sick person.
Low Fiber Diet For Diarrhea
The fiber in food gives you the roughage or bulk that helps your bowels move and push stool through. Most people should take in at least 25 grams of dietary fiber a day to make sure you have good bowel health. You can find the grams of fiber listed on the labels of the foods you eat. The biggest sources of fiber are:
- Whole grains
- Dried beans.
If you have had radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may have diarrhea as a side effect. Too much fiber in your diet will make diarrhea worse. If you have diarrhea, you should follow a low fiber diet. A low fiber diet means you only eat about 10 grams of fiber a day. A low fiber diet helps with diarrhea because it will not stimulate your bowels as much and it will be easier to digest.
Where do I find how much fiber is in the food I eat?
To find out how much fiber is in a serving of a food, use the food labels listed on the container. Look for “Dietary Fiber” in the list of nutrients. Choose foods that have 2 grams or less of dietary fiber per serving.
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber found in some foods. Soluble fiber absorbs fluid and can help lessen your diarrhea. Foods high in soluble fiber include:
- Fruits: Applesauce, bananas , canned fruit, orange, and grapefruit.
- Vegetables: Boiled potatoes.
- Breads and pastas: White rice and products made with white flour.
- Cereals: Oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat, and farina.
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Foods To Eat After Diarrhea
Diarrhea â a common condition often described as loose or watery and frequent stools â can be caused by a number of factors.
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Diarrhea is typically related to an infection, medication side effect, food intolerance, food-borne illness or associated with a medical condition, according to the National Institutes of Health .
Most cases of diarrhea last a couple of days and go away without treatment. After an attack of diarrhea, your diet should focus on replacing fluid and electrolyte losses, avoiding certain foods that can make diarrhea worse and including foods that are easy to digest.
Although certain foods may aggravate diarrhea, fluids and other foods can help support recovery.
If your symptoms persist more than a few days, or if you are dehydrated or not able to drink enough fluids, see a health care professional. Your doctor will be able to advise best practices when you’re recovering from severe diarrhea.
Keep these foods listed somewhere in the back of your brain in case of diarrhea if it happens to strike, you’ll know just what to eat.
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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 know 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.
The Easiest Way To Avoid Diarrhea
Diarrhea is probably easier to avoid in the first place than to get rid of once you already have it. The easiest way to do so is simply to eat a well-balanced diet that seems healthy Generally speaking you want to have lots of colors in your meals and avoid things that are overly spicy, sugary or acidic.
This way you get adequate amounts of nutrients and minerals, good fiber to aid in digestion, and you are eating foods that aren’t going to be too irritable. Doing this can keep the immune system strong and digestion running smoothly.
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