Diarrhea is one of the most common digestive issues. Chances are, you’ve had it. Diarrhea involves loose or watery stools or bowel movements. Though it may be uncomfortable, it doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to your health.
Diarrhea may last anywhere from one day to several days. If you require treatment, over-the-counter medication for diarrhea is available without a prescription. Most people suffer from diarrhea at least once a year. Certain health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, can make diarrhea happen more often.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
Several symptoms may accompany diarrhea. You might experience an urgent need to have a bowel movement. When you do have a bowel movement, it may feel watery, thin, or loose. In some cases, diarrhea is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bloating and gas, or stomach cramps.
Other symptoms can hint at an underlying problem. These include blood, mucus, or undigested food visible in your stool. Fever, dehydration, and weight loss are other signs that your diarrhea is a symptom of a more serious underlying problem.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea, also known as stomach flu, is caused when a virus attacks the intestines or gut. Diarrhea can have other causes, which may include:
- Alcohol abuse
- Food allergies
- Intestinal diseases, including Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis
- Bacterial infections, commonly known as food poisoning
- Certain types of medication
- Laxative overuse
- Radiation therapy
- Some cancers
- Surgeries related to the digestive system
- Difficulty absorbing certain nutrients
- Certain foods
For people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea may follow bouts of constipation.
When To Call A Doctor
You should call a health care professional immediately if you have blood in your feces. If your stool looks black or tarry, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. Diarrhea accompanied by a high fever—over 101 degrees Fahrenheit—or diarrhea that lasts for more than two days straight also requires immediate attention. If you experience severe pain in your stomach or rectum, contact a health professional. Finally, if your diarrhea is accompanied by nausea or vomiting that prevents you from getting enough water and puts you at risk of dehydration, you should also contact a doctor.
Treatment For Diarrhea
Mild cases of diarrhea may not require treatment. Over-the-counter medication is available at drug stores and does not require a prescription. These medications come in the form of liquids and tablets. You should follow the dosage instructions on the package.
Diarrhea that is accompanied by an itching or burning feeling in the rectal area can be uncomfortable. In order to remedy it, try taking a warm bath after you defecate. Pat the area try with a soft, clean towel. Rubbing can aggravate the area around your anus. Applying hemorrhoid cream or petroleum jelly can also provide relief.
If you are experiencing diarrhea, you need to make an effort to stay hydrated since your body is losing water. Try to drink a minimum of six eight-ounce glasses of fluids—including water, fruit juice, broth, or non-caffeinated soda—per day. Tea with honey and sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are also good choices.
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Diarrhea occurs when your large intestine doesn’t soak up water as food passes through your digestive tract. As a result, the water gets removed through your stool—also known as diarrhea.
Did you know that you can use natural home remedies to alleviate symptoms of diarrhea? The following are some things you might have around the house.
1. Homemade Electrolyte Drink
Measure a half teaspoon of salt and four teaspoons of sugar. Dissolve them in one liter of water and add a squirt of lemon or orange juice for flavor. Drink slowly over the day to stay hydrated.
2. The “BRAT” Diet
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These food items are ideal when you’re suffering from diarrhea because they’re bland and they slow down the passage of food in your intestines. In addition, bananas and applesauce both contain pectin, which soaks up excess fluids in your intestines.
Yogurt contains bacteria which is useful to your digestive system. Eating yogurt can help to restore the balance of bacteria in your intestines.
Tannins are substances that can help to reduce inflammation in your digestive system. Substances rich in tannins include blackberries, black tea, and raspberry tea.
Finally, psyllium is a type of fiber. It can soak up excess fluid in your intestine. Grind up psyllium seems and take between one and three tablespoons in a glass of water. Psyllium fiber is available in quite a few over the counter or shelved substances.