Diarrhea can be defined absolutely or relatively. Absolute diarrhea is defined as more than five bowel movements a day or liquid stools. Relative diarrhea is defined as an increase in the number of bowel movements per day or an increase in the looseness of stools compared with an individual’s usual bowel habit.
Diarrhea is often your body’s way of dealing with disruptions in your gastrointestinal system. Acute diarrhea lasts less than 2 weeks and can come from many sources, such as:
- a viral infection
- a bacterial infection
- food poisoning
- recent antibiotic use
- water contaminated with an infectious agent
Infectious diarrhea is common in young children and is often caused by a virus. Traveler’s diarrhea can occur if you travel to underdeveloped areas with contaminated water. Bacteria from improperly stored or cooked food are typical causes of food poisoning.
No matter the fancy name you choose to call diarrhoea, be it a volcanic eruption, feacal tornado or purging, the simple truth is it sucks.
And while anything can tick off your tummy, from bacteria to PMS to food poisoning, it’s important to realize that most cases of diarrhoea eventually resolve themselves on their own, mostly when the offending food is out of your system.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help to accelerate things getting resolved. Here are a number of remedies when you find yourself visiting the toilet.
Drink a Glass of Rice Water
Rice water has a constipating effect on the digestive system. You can take advantage of this by drinking a glass of rice water solution. Simply cook one cup of rice in six cups of water for an hour then strain out the rice. A German study found that both carrot and rice waters were more effective at stopping diarrhoea than traditional rehydration drinks.
Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is a drug-store staple that can actually help reduce diarrhoea by targeting the lumen or the inside tube of your gastrointestinal tract. All you need do is to follow the dosing directions on the bottle and if you need it for more than a few days, call your doctor.
Eat Some Good Bacteria
If your diarrhoea is due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut, replacing it with good bacteria can help you get relieved. This often happens after taking a course of antibiotics which usually kills all the bacteria (both bad and good) in your system.
This gives bad germs an opportunity to take hold. Taking a probiotic supplement such as the bifidobacterium infantis strain and increasing your intake of foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, both of which are rich in probiotics can help get you off the toilet seat.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
For cases of chronic diarrhoea, increasing your fiber supplements like psyllium and methylcellulose can help slow or stop the liquid poops. You can also increase fiber in your diet by eating foods like beans and oats. Make sure to increase intake slowly, as adding too much too fast can further upset your stomach.
Let Go Of Junk Food
Regardless of the cause of your diarrhoea, eating a lot of sugary or fatty foods can make your symptoms worse. Sugar causes an “osmotic effect” in your colon, meaning that it draws in more water to your stool, which is what you are trying to avoid. Sugars like lactose and fructose are particularly problematic, and staying off them can be of immense help.
Try An Elimination Diet
Maldigestion or malabsorption of poorly absorbed carbohydrates and sugars is a common cause of chronic diarrhoea. It is easily recognizable as it often occurs soon after eating or drinking and comes with bloating, gas or abdominal pain.
To correct this, remove those foods—often dairy or grains—from your diet. If you have problems ascertaining which particular food, you can try an elimination diet to see if it helps your symptoms