First off, what you need to understand is that diarrhea is not a disease—it is a condition that is a side effect of a virus or bacterial reaction. In most cases, diarrhea goes away on its own after three or four days, without any treatment. However, those four days can be exhausting, irritating, painful and just unbearable. Some people like to reach for over-the-counter medicine, believing that is the best way to treat diarrhea.
However, there is always a way to stop diarrhea using natural and home remedies. But before we get there, let’s take a look at the symptoms and causes of diarrhea.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is not harmful, and you cannot die from it, but it can signal a more serious problem, such as allergic reaction. The typical symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Watery and frequent loose stools
In some cases, diarrhea can also manifest as blood or pus in the stool, a fever of 120ºF, and severe rectal pain. In those cases, a visit to the doctor is mandatory.
Causes of Diarrhea
Before we get to the “how to stop diarrhea” section, we must take a look at the causes of the condition. Finding the cause is the best way to treat any disease and condition, including diarrhea. There are two kinds of causes: infectious and osmotic. Infectious diarrhea is the side effect of a viral, bacterial or amoebic disease. Some of the bacterial infections include E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter. Viral infections can be triggered by the herpes simplex virus, viral hepatitis, rotavirus, Norwalk virus and cytomegalovirus.
Osmotic diarrhea, on the other hand, is caused by the inability of our gastrointestinal tract to break down and absorb food that we have ingested. Some of the causes for osmotic diarrhea include intolerance to foods like lactose and artificial sweeteners, intolerance to medications, digestive disorders, high-dose radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgical removal of the gallbladder.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how to stop diarrhea.
When you are suffering from diarrhea, your body is rapidly losing fluids, causing dehydration and even more problems. The only way to counter this is by drinking lots of fluids and making sure to stay hydrated.
There are two types of fluids you need when you have diarrhea. The first are clear liquids, such as plain old tap water. The second type of fluids and liquids you can get include sports drinks. They make sense because of their salt and sugar content, both of which allow for more water to be absorbed. A teaspoon of salt to apple juice is more than enough to prepare your own homemade sports drink. Sports drinks in general contain lots of electrolytes, all of which you need to stay hydrated. There is a reason why athletes drink sports drinks to recover and rejuvenate during games and after.
The BRAT Diet
Popularly called the BRAT diet because of the first letters of the foods you need to eat, BRAT is actually a diet that includes lots of bland food. What you need to eat during diarrhea is: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, or put together, BRAT. Make sure to include a portion of each in your meals.
Some points to follow when you are on a BRAT diet: mix small portions of each product in each meal, mix rice in soups for a better taste, avoid putting butter on your toast to avoid dairy products, and prepare deserts with apple sauce and bananas.
Foods to Eat
Aside from following the BRAT diet, you should also include foods that your digestive system can tolerate during diarrhea. Those include boiled potatoes, cooked carrots, and cooked chicken.
We are now at the point where some unconventional home remedies can be used. Not many people consider ginger as a remedy for diarrhea, but a ginger remedy can be an effective asset in the battle to stop diarrhea. And as bonus points, ginger alleviates cramps and abdominal pain.
For the home remedy, you need ginger, honey, and a grater to make it all work. Start by grating the ginger until you get a fine powder. Add a teaspoon of honey, mix the two ingredients together, and then eat it. Even if the remedy feels strong, avoid drinking water afterwards to reap the maximum effects and benefits of ginger. If you do not have a strong stomach and cannot withstand organic ginger, use powdered ginger.