The World Health Organization defines diarrhea as having three or more loose or liquid stools per day or having more stools than what is normal for a person. In medical terms, diarrhea is a condition that leads to an increase in the frequency of bowel movements with loose, watery, or soft stools. This condition may be with or without abdominal bloating, pressure, cramps, and vomiting. Mostly caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites; the condition usually lasts a few hours to couple of days. It is the second most common illness to affect all age groups, after common cold; and if not treated on time, the dehydration and lack of electrolytes caused by it may turn it into chronic diarrhea, with symptoms lasting for over two weeks. To prevent these complications, it is important to get rid of diarrhea on time. And for that to happen, home care is the best way to go about treating it. Continue reading to know about what are the causes and symptoms of diarrhea before moving on to the treatment.
How to Get Rid of Diarrhea
The most common causes of diarrhea include:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Intestinal disorder
- Lactose intolerance
- Reaction to certain medications
Signs & Symptoms
- Frequent loose, watery stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Lightheadedness or dizziness from dehydration
Resting comes mandatorily attached with the measures to get rid of diarrhea out of your system. Your body needs rest to fight out the cause of diarrhea. If proper rest is not taken, your body’s immune system will not be able to perform as well as it would do when the body’s in rest. As a consequence, the time taken to completely cure it will be prolonged unnecessarily.
Because of the frequent passage of stools, the body loses out on the fluids, a lot. And along with the fluids, out goes the vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that are needed to maintain a functioning system. At this time, it’s very important to refuel the body with as much liquid as possible and avoid the risk of falling into extreme dehydration, which, if happens, may worsen the condition. Replenish your body with water, fruit juices, and sports drinks to refill the electrolyte content in your body.
What to Eat
Don’t begin directly with eating to restore your energy. It’s important that for the first few hours you drink in as much fluids as possible and avoid taking any solid foods. As discussed in the above point that the body loses much of its vitamins and minerals, eating becomes all the more crucial to fill back what was lost from your body, even if you don’t feel like eating. However the trick is to follow an appropriate diet. Adults, children, toddlers, and infants; all should follow the BRAT (banana, rice, apple, and toast) diet, also known as the diarrhea diet. This diet, along with regular fluids intake, should be followed until the severity of the symptom dies down. You may begin your regular diet a day or two after the symptoms subside.
What Not to Eat
There’s no need to further aggravate the condition when it’s creating enough trouble already. Having fatty and greasy foods at this time will only worsen the condition, making it even more difficult to bear. You should also abstain from having dairy products; sweets, cakes, and candies; and spicy foods. Caffeine, any drinks containing alcohol, and drinks with artificial sweeteners are also to be avoided. Even after diarrhea subsides, these items should be avoided for the next two to three days as a precautionary measure.
When to Consult a Doctor
Usually, diarrhea dies down within 2-3 days, with effective treatment mentioned above, and does not require attention of a doctor. However, if one or more of the following symptoms appear, medical attention should be immediately sought. These are:
- High fever
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea (may be a case of intestinal inflammation)
- Diarrhea in people with severe medical illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases, intestinal diseases, and others
- Severe dehydration
- Prolonged vomiting
- Acute diarrhea in pregnant women
- If diarrhea occurs immediately after completing a course of antibiotics
- Chronic Diarrhea
To conclude: resting, hydrating, and eating right will cure you from the problem, more often than not. But if it doesn’t or any of the above symptoms appear, don’t delay in seeking help from a medical professional. In case of infants and toddlers, see a doctor immediately to know exactly how to go about the treating it. Lastly and most importantly: don’t take any medicine unless prescribed by the doctor. All this should serve you well in getting rid of diarrhea.