Diarrhea is one of those incredibly common problems that people seldom want to discuss. It’s not pleasant to think or talk about, and having to experience it firsthand is even less enjoyable. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful. In some cases, it can even leave you drained, lifeless, and unable to do anything but curl up under a blanket and wish it would pass.
According to various reports, almost everyone suffers from occasional bouts of diarrhea caused by the foods they eat or exposure to certain viruses and bacteria. Millions also suffer from medical conditions that cause frequent battles with this intestinal issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Though some may be surprised to hear this, it’s even one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Whether you’ve been exposed to a diarrhea-causing ailment or suffer from one of the conditions that come with ongoing bouts of intestinal distress, the following measures may help ease the pain and help you get back to your normal daily routine.
1) Try a Probiotic
In many instances, diarrhea is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the body. We naturally have thousands of bacteria living in our bodies, many of which thrive in the digestive tract. Some of those bacteria are healthy and essential to our well-being. Others aren’t so friendly. Those in the latter category are the ones that typically cause diarrhea and other issues. Though the good bacteria are usually capable of overcoming the enemy, things sometimes just get out of balance.
If this is the cause of your occasional, or even not-so-intermittent, diarrhea, probiotics may be the solution you need. They’re made up of the friendly bacteria we need to remain healthy and various types of yeast that naturally live in our bodies. Yeast is comprised of sugar that feeds the bacteria to keep them multiplying as they should to rise above the harmful bacteria. Browse store shelves and online if you need help finding a probiotic supplement. You can also find probiotics in many types of yogurt and other foods. They’ll help bring harmony back to your insides and may be effective at keeping the hurtful bacteria at bay.
2) Anti-Diarrheal Medications
Anti-diarrheal medications are readily available over the counter. They’re made just for combating this type of issue, and many of them can be helpful. Of course, their effectiveness depends largely on what caused your digestive distress in the first place. For the most part, they work best for diarrhea caused by foods and drinks that simply upset your stomach. While they can help with IBD, IBS, viruses, and other causes, people in those situations often have to take far more than the recommended dosage to find relief. Once your body processes those medications, they’ll ultimately take your digestive problems in the opposite direction, which can be equally miserable.
Dozens of anti-diarrheal medications are on the market. Some target the primary symptom of diarrhea whereas others help with its accompanying bloating and intestinal cramps. Some come in blister packs while others are available in bottles. When you’re already miserable, in pain, and having to make constant mad dashes for the restroom, blister packs are particularly problematic. If you’re trying to battle diarrhea with these types of medications, those that come in the free-flowing form are recommended. Try to avoid overdosing so you won’t end up dealing with constipation a few days later.
Antibiotics are effective for getting rid of diarrhea in cases where it’s caused by bacteria and certain types of parasites. Several types of antibiotics are in circulation these days, and different ones treat different issues. All of them target various types of microbes that can cause a long list of illnesses. People are often exposed to those microorganisms through contaminated food and water and contact with other people who have been exposed to those pathogens.
While antibiotics can help treat some types of diarrhea-causing infections, they may also cause diarrhea. Many people find that they have digestive upset when taking antibiotics. Though you can use anti-diarrheal medications to help balance the scales, it’s best to use those medications in moderation when taking antibiotics to eliminate an infection. It’s also important to remember that antibiotics won’t work for every type of parasite, and they’re completely ineffective for viral infections.
4) Drink Rice Water
Rice water is yet another effective remedy for diarrhea. Rice contains a great deal of starch that binds with materials in the digestive tract. That means it can help firm up your stools and reduce the frequency of your trips to the restroom. At the same time, this remedy helps with the dehydration diarrhea tends to cause. If you want to try this remedy, simply combine two cups of water with about one cup of rice and boil for ten minutes or so until the water turns cloudy. You’re not aiming to cook the rice thoroughly; you just want that helpful, starch-filled fluid it creates.
5) Try the B.R.A.T. Diet
You may have heard of the B.R.A.T. diet at some point. It consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Bananas, like rice, have a lot of starch, so they can bind with the loose material in your intestine and help fight diarrhea. These foods are also bland and easy to digest, so they won’t cause further stomach upset and digestive issues. If your digestive system has a low tolerance for applesauce or bananas, you can simply leave those off the list and stick with rice and dry toast.
Keeping Your Intestines in Good Shape
Whether you suffer from chronic conditions like IBD and IBS or simply ate something that didn’t sit well, these five approaches can help reduce the duration of diarrhea and get you feeling better. Some work more effectively than others based on the cause of your diarrhea, and not everyone responds the same way to all of these options. Though finding the perfect remedy or combination of solutions may take a little trial and error, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and gets you back to life as usual.