- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How to Get Rid of Diarrhea - 5 Simple Tips
Diarrhea is a condition where you experience loose and watery stools. You probably spend 2-3 days of your year feeling sick to your stomach, standing next to your bathroom, anticipating that familiar abdominal pain which signals your 5th bowel movement of the day. Oh, the troubles of having an upset stomach. You spend the whole day inside your house, knowing you can't leave because of the feeling that the slightest movement you make might cause stool to drip down your legs while you're walking along the aisles of the grocery store.
Fortunately, diarrhea usually lasts for only a couple of days and there are things you can do to feel better while you anxiously wait for it to be gone.
The most common cause of diarrhea is a viral infection which is usually referred to as intestinal flu or stomach flu. Other causes include food poisoning, allergies, certain medications, laxative abuse, and some health problems such as diabetes and some forms of cancer.
1. Keep yourself hydrated.
The first thing to keep in mind is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. When you pass stool, you lose water and electrolytes, which the body needs to function properly. This is why diarrhea comes with a high risk of dehydration, especially in children and the elderly. To ensure that you are replacing the lost fluids, drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also choose sports drinks. Steer clear of caffeinated beverages and milk.
2. Take over-the-counter medicines.
For fast relief, you can use over-the-counter medicines. The common brand names are Pepto-Bismol, Imodium A-D, and Kaopectate. They come in liquids or tablets. Remember to read the product label and follow the instructions carefully.
3. Let it run its course.
Most cases usually last for only 2-3 days. Although it might be the longest 2-3 days of your life, you can just wait it out and you will soon find yourself visiting the bathroom less frequently. Just remember that you need plenty of rest. Luckily, finding time to stay in bed and rest all day isn't hard. You almost have no choice, really. So hit the bed and give your body the energy it needs to fight off the viral infection.
4. Avoid certain foods and drinks.
The last thing you want to do is to make the condition worse and prolong it. Avoid eating foods that can upset the stomach such as dairy products, greasy foods and those with artificial sweeteners. Also avoid drinking beverages with caffeine and alcohol. But remember that you need to replace the vitamins and minerals you lose when you move your bowels. Eat cooked vegetables, boiled potatoes and eggs, and broiled chicken.
5. See your doctor.
It is rare that diarrhea becomes serious, but when your stool comes with blood and mucus and is accompanied by fever, consult your doctor immediately. Also see your doctor if you experience this condition frequently and if you get dehydrated. You might suffer from further complications if you neglect the signs of a more serious condition. Your doctor can assess your condition and give you medications accordingly.