Diarrhea how to stop


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What is antibiotic-associated diarrhea?

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is a side effect of taking antibiotic medicine. Symptoms usually start between 4 and 9 days after you start to take the medicine. Most often the loose bowel movements are mild and go away when you stop taking the antibiotic. Sometimes the diarrhea can be very severe.

What is the cause?

Antibiotics can upset the natural balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the bowel. Different antibiotics treat different kinds of bacteria. When an antibiotic kills one type of bacteria, you then have more of other types of bacteria in the gut. Having too much of some kinds of bacteria in the gut can cause diarrhea.

Bacteria called Clostridium difficile (or C. difficile) are a common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They can cause severe diarrhea and an infection called pseudomembranous colitis. Many people get this infection after a stay in a hospital or nursing facility.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of mild diarrhea is loose bowel movements or more bowel movements than normal.

Symptoms of pseudomembranous colitis are more severe and may include:

  • A lot of watery diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Nausea
  • Fever

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and the medicines you are taking. If your symptoms are mild, you may not need any lab tests. If you have more severe symptoms, your provider may check a sample of bowel movement for harmful bacteria.

How is it treated?

If you have mild diarrhea, the symptoms will usually stop within a few days to 2 weeks after you are done taking the antibiotic. For more severe diarrhea, treatment may include bed rest, intravenous (IV) fluid, and stopping your antibiotic until the diarrhea is gone. If your symptoms come back when you start taking the antibiotic again, your provider may recommend another antibiotic to treat the bacteria causing the severe symptoms. You may need to have an exam of the lining of your colon and rectum to make sure there is no other medical condition causing your diarrhea.

How long do the effects last?

In mild cases, diarrhea may last up to 14 days after you stop taking the antibiotic.

In more severe cases, the symptoms may not go away until several weeks after you start treatment. The symptoms may also come back after treatment. This is because some antibiotics have an effect on the balance of bacteria in your gut for a long time.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for rest, activity, medicine, and diet. Your provider will probably suggest that you:

  • Drink clear liquids, such as water, weak tea, broth, apple or grape juice, flat ginger ale, or sports drinks.
  • Eat only bland foods in small amounts, such as soda crackers, toast, plain pasta, noodles, bananas, and baked or boiled potatoes.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that can cause diarrhea. These foods include caffeine, alcohol, milk products, large amounts of fruit or fruit juices (except bananas), and spicy foods.

After a few days, you may return to normal eating. This means that you can carefully add back the foods that sometimes cause diarrhea.

Eating organic probiotic yogurt while you are taking your antibiotic may decrease your chance of getting diarrhea. It’s not yet known how much yogurt you should eat. One 6 or 8-ounce carton per day may be helpful.

If you have cramps or stomach pain, it may help to put a hot water bottle or heating pad on your stomach. Cover the hot water bottle with a towel or set an electric heating pad on low so you don’t burn your skin.

If your healthcare provider prescribes a new antibiotic, take all of the medicine as prescribed.

Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea?

  • Take antibiotics only when you and your healthcare provider feel they are needed.
  • Take antibiotics exactly as they are prescribed. Unless you are instructed otherwise by your provider, don’t increase the dosage and don’t change the time between your doses. Also don’t stop the antibiotic just because you feel better. You may not yet have killed all of the bacteria causing your infection.
  • When possible, avoid taking antibiotics that usually cause you to have diarrhea.

10 Natural Remedies To Stop Diarrhea + Causes, Symptoms, And Diet Tips Shaheen Naser Hyderabd040-395603080 May 13, 2019

Norovirus, one of the causes of infectious diarrhea, is responsible for causing over 200,000 deaths in developing countries (1). A disease that can be easily prevented by following basic hygiene habits is claiming a lot of lives. Isn’t that shocking?

All of us have experienced bouts of diarrhea at some point in our lives. And you probably know how distressing the stomach cramps and bloating associated with it can be. Don’t worry, we have come up with this post to address your miseries to a certain extent with the help of home remedies. We have also included tips that can help prevent diarrhea altogether in the future. Read on.

Table Of Contents

What Is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a medical condition that is characterized by frequent bowel movements with abnormally loose and watery stools.

Mild cases of diarrhea usually last only for a couple of days. However, in some cases, diarrhea can also be an indication of a potentially life-threatening condition.

There are mainly three types of clinical diarrhea.

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Types Of Diarrhea

  • Acute Watery Diarrhea – It can last for several hours or even days. This type can also be caused due to cholera infection.
  • Acute Bloody Diarrhea – Blood is also noticed in the watery stool. This type is also referred to as dysentery.
  • Persistent Diarrhea – It lasts for 14 days or more.

Other than the characteristic watery stool, diarrhea may be accompanied by the following symptoms.

Signs And Symptoms

The common signs and symptoms associated with diarrhea include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Fever

Other symptoms may include:

  • Presence of blood in the stool
  • Pus in the stool
  • Dehydration
  • Persistent vomiting

If you notice such symptoms along with chronic diarrhea, it could be an indication of a more severe illness.

What causes diarrhea? Who is at risk of contracting this disease? Find out in the next section.

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Causes And Risk Factors

Most cases of diarrhea are triggered by an infection in your gastrointestinal tract.

Some common microbes that could be held responsible for triggering diarrhea are:

  • Viruses like Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis, and rotavirus.
  • Bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, and Escherichia coli.
  • Other parasitic organisms like Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Entamoeba histolytica.

In some cases, especially in chronic diarrhea, the clear cause may not be found. Such cases of chronic diarrhea are referred to as “functional.”

Other factors that can increase your risk of developing chronic diarrhea include:

  • Intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), microscopic colitis, or Celiac disease
  • Sensitivity to dairy products and/or artificial sweeteners
  • Stomach or gallbladder surgery
  • Hereditary or genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis or enzyme deficiencies
  • Diseases of the pancreas or thyroid
  • Radiation therapy treatment of the abdominal or pelvic region
  • Consumption of uncooked meats
  • Swallowing water or swimming in contaminated water bodies
  • Traveling to countries with poor hygiene
  • Eating contaminated or unrefrigerated food
  • Close contact with an individual suffering from gastroenteritis
  • Medications like laxatives and certain antibiotics can also trigger diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea may ease on their own without treatment. However, in some cases, it is important to seek medical intervention.

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When To See A Doctor

If your infant has had 6 bouts of watery bowel movements and 3 or more bouts of vomiting in 24 hours, do not waste any time in consulting a doctor.

Children above 1 year should also be taken to a doctor if they have experienced 6 or more bouts of diarrhea in 24 hours.

You must also see a doctor immediately if you notice certain symptoms like:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Significant loss of weight
  • Pus or blood in stool that may also turn the stool black
  • Dehydration

Once you visit a doctor, they may do the following to diagnose diarrhea.

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Most often, doctors can diagnose diarrhea without having to carry out any additional tests as two or more watery stools a day indicates the condition without the need for any further diagnosis (1).

But, in severe cases, your doctor may suggest you take a stool test. This is done especially if the patient is very young or old.

For chronic and persistent cases of diarrhea, your doctor may ask you to take any of the following tests depending on the suspected cause:

  • Full blood count – a low or raised blood count may indicate inflammation
  • Liver function test to test your albumin levels
  • Malabsorption tests to check the absorption of vitamin B12, calcium, and folate. Your iron status and thyroid functions may also be assessed.
  • Testing for antibodies – as it can indicate Celiac disease
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein levels – Raised levels are usually an indication of inflammatory bowel disease.

If an underlying cause is responsible for causing diarrhea, the doctor may suggest further treatments accordingly.

However, if you are suffering from mild to moderate bouts of diarrhea, the home remedies listed below can help calm your symptoms while speeding up your recovery from the condition.

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Home Remedies To Treat Diarrhea

  1. Lemon Water
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Almond Milk
  4. Coconut Water
  5. Essential Oils
  6. Ginger
  7. Green Tea
  8. Electrolyte Drinks (ORS)
  9. Vitamins
  10. Rice Water

How To Treat Diarrhea Naturally

1. Lemon Water

You Will Need
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 glass of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
What You Have To Do
  1. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of water.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and two teaspoons of sugar to it.
  3. Mix well and drink up.
How Often You Should Do This

Sip on this mixture every few minutes.

Why This Works

The mixture of lemon juice, sugar, salt, and water is a popular remedy used by many to treat symptoms of diarrhea, like dehydration (2).

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of water
  • Honey (optional)
  1. Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
  2. Mix well and add some honey to it.
  3. Drink the mixture.

You can drink this mixture 2-3 times a day until the symptoms subside.

Apple cider vinegar is another popular remedy for diarrhea. Its antimicrobial properties may help fight the microbes responsible for causing diarrhea, and its anti-inflammatory nature can soothe the inflamed intestines (3), (4).

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3. Almond Milk

Almond milk (as required)

Replace cow’s milk with almond milk in your cereals, smoothies, and other dishes.

You can make this a daily habit if you are lactose-intolerant.

Adults and infants who are lactose-intolerant tend to develop diarrhea on consuming dairy products (5). Almond milk is a healthy and safety substitute (6).

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4. Coconut Water

1 glass of fresh young coconut water

Drink a glass of young coconut water daily.

You must preferably drink this concoction after every bout of diarrhea.

Coconut water can be used as a rehydration solution for people suffering from mild cases of diarrhea. However, it should be used together with early refeeding (7).


This remedy should not be used to treat symptoms of dehydration. It should also not be used for those suffering from cholera or renal impairment.

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5. Peppermint Essential Oil

  • 1 drop of food-grade peppermint oil
  • 1 glass of warm water
  1. Add a drop of food-grade peppermint oil to a glass of warm water.
  2. Drink the solution.

You can drink this mixture 1-2 times daily.

The active constituent of peppermint oil is menthol. Menthol can help relieve abdominal pain that accompanies diarrhea and other IBS symptoms. Two studies published in Digestive Diseases And Sciences and Mymensingh Medical Journal also confirmed the same post sustained release of encapsulated peppermint oil in the small intestine (8), (9).

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6. Ginger

  • 1-2 inches of sliced ginger
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Add an inch or two of sliced ginger to a cup of water.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer and strain.
  4. Drink the warm ginger tea.

You can drink this mixture 2-3 times daily.

According to a study published in Yakugaku Zasshi, Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, the acetone extract of ginger can help curb serotonin-induced diarrhea (10).

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7. Green Tea

  • 1 teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  1. Steep a teaspoon of green tea in a cup of hot water for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Strain and drink the tea.

You can drink green tea 1-2 times daily.

Among the many benefits of green tea, one is its ability to treat diarrhea in the affected individuals (11).

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8. Electrolyte Drinks (ORS)

  • 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 liter of boiled water
  1. Add six teaspoons of sugar to a liter of water.
  2. Mix well until it dissolves.
  3. Add a teaspoon of salt to the solution and mix well.
  4. Drink a cup of the solution.

You may do this after every watery bowel movement you have.

Why This Works

Consumption of electrolyte drinks, such as sports drinks as well as the ever-popular oral rehydration solution (ORS), can help alleviate the symptoms of dehydration that often accompany diarrhea (12).

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9. Vitamin A

Vitamin A-rich foods or supplements

  1. Increase your intake of vitamin A-rich foods, like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, winter squash, cantaloupe, and spinach.
  2. You can also take additional supplements for this vitamin after talking to your doctor about the required dosage for you.

You can include small amounts of vitamin A-rich foods in your daily diet.

Vitamin A deficiency is often associated with an increased risk of diarrhea. Hence, restoring this deficiency can reduce the severity of the symptoms (13).

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10. Rice Water

½ glass of rice water

  1. Strain the water from cooked rice.
  2. Consume half a glass of rice water after every bout of diarrhea.
  3. This remedy can also be used for children.

You can do this 2 to 3 times or more daily.

Rice water can cut down the number of stools without having any adverse effects on your health. It is especially great for treating diarrhea in infants that occurs as a result of infantile gastroenteritis in developing countries (14).

While these remedies work their magic, you can also make some changes to your diet for a speedy recovery.

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What Foods Help Stop Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be quite harsh on your insides. Hence, you must be a little careful about what you eat. This is where the BRAT diet come into play.

The full form of BRAT is “bananas, rice, apple, and toast.” These bland foods will be quite easy on your stomach and will not aggravate your condition any further (1).

It is also necessary that you drink lots of fluids to keep yourself well-hydrated.

Foods To Eat

The foods that can help ease symptoms of diarrhea include:

  • Clear broths
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Toast
  • White rice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt

Foods To Avoid

Avoid these foods if you are suffering from diarrhea:

  • Dairy products
  • Fried or greasy foods
  • Spices
  • Raw vegetables
  • Caffeine
  • Citrus fruits
  • Raw vegetables
  • Pork
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners

These foods may either be too heavy for your recovering tummy or may further aggravate your condition if they are already contaminated, like in the case of raw vegetables. Hence, exercise caution.

Here are a few additional tips to prevent the recurrence of diarrhea.

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How To Prevent Diarrhea

  • Always wash your hands every time after using the washroom and also before you eat.
  • Wash your hands if you come in contact with any contaminants or pets/animals.
  • If you can’t get hold of water to wash your hands, use a sanitizer.
  • Be careful when you are traveling to a new place. Do not eat or drink until you are sure the food and drinks are safe to be consumed.
  • Wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly before cooking them.
  • Cook all meats well.
  • Avoid eating uncooked or undercooked eggs.
  • Avoid using dairy that is not pasteurized. If you are lactose-intolerant, avoid dairy altogether.
  • Avoid handling food if you are suffering from diarrhea.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and other foods that have a laxative potential.

If you can think of any other possible hygiene tips that can help avoid diarrhea, add them to the above list and make sure you follow them religiously.

Diarrhea is a condition that is rather easy to manage by paying a little bit of attention to your day-to-day hygiene habits. However, if there is an underlying cause of your symptoms, it is best to seek medical intervention.

Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to tell us in the comments below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Why do I get diarrhea after eating?

Experiencing symptoms of diarrhea every time after you eat something is known as postprandial diarrhea. The underlying causes of this kind of diarrhea may include infection, food poisoning, IBS, lactose intolerance, or certain medications.

What is the best thing to drink when you have diarrhea?

You should drink 8 glasses of fluids like fruit juices without pulp, broth, soda (without caffeine), and sports drinks to alleviate dehydration that often results from diarrhea.

How long does diarrhea usually last?

Diarrhea caused by an infection often lasts for no more than 3-5 days. If your symptoms last for more than 4-6 weeks, you most probably are suffering from an underlying gastrointestinal condition.

How do you know if your baby has diarrhea?

If your baby has 6 or more bouts of watery bowel movements in 24 hours, he/she has diarrhea and must be taken to a doctor immediately to prevent further health complications.

Can you have diarrhea in early pregnancy?

The shifting hormones, diet changes, and stress are all factors that contribute to many changes in your body during pregnancy, including diarrhea and constipation.

How to prevent traveler’s diarrhea?

Here are some tips that can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea:

  • Drink only bottled water.
  • Use bottled water even for brushing your teeth.
  • Avoid consuming ice that may be made with tap water.
  • Eat vegetables that are cooked. Avoid eating them raw.
  • Make sure that all foods that you eat, including dairy, seafood, and meat, are properly boiled and/or cooked.
  • If the area you are traveling to has had a recent outbreak of hepatitis, take the vaccination for the same before commencing your trip.
  1. “Diarrhea” StatPearls, US National Library of Medicine
  2. “The use of ORS (Nimkol) in management of childhood diarrhoea by mothers in the suburbs of Rawalpindi-Islamabad” Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, US National Library of Medicine
  3. “Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine
  5. “Problems Digesting Dairy Products?” U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  6. “The almond milk: a new approach to the management of cow-milk allergy/intolerance in infants.” Minerva Pediatrica, US National Library of Medicine
  7. “Young coconut water for home rehydration in children with mild gastroenteritis.” Tropical and Geographical Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  8. “A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil Is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms” Digestive Diseases and Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  9. “Efficacy of Peppermint oil in diarrhea predominant IBS – a double blind randomized placebo – controlled study.” Mymensingh Medical Journal, US National Library of Medicine
  10. “.” Yakugaku Zasshi, US National Library of Medicine
  11. “Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review” Chinese Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  12. “THERAPY FOR DIARRHEA” National Academy of Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  13. “Vitamin A and diarrhoea. Reducing the risk?” Dialogue Diarrhoea, US National Library of Medicine
  14. “Rice water in treatment of infantile gastroenteritis.” Lancet, US National Library of Medicine

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  • 13 Best Home Remedies To Cure Constipation(Causes,Symptoms & Side Effects)

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Shaheen Naser

Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology. She is a Geneticist with proficiency in Biotechnology, Immunology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Genetic Counseling. Her passion for writing and her educational background have assisted her substantially in writing quality content on topics related to health and wellness. In her free time, Shaheen loves to explore the world and the different flavors/cuisines it has to offer. Photography is another hobby she has developed of late.

Recognizing the Principles

A frequent malady, diarrhea describes loose, runny bowel motions. Diarrhea can result from a range of conditions varying in severity. If the underlying cause is not chronic, diarrhea usually clears up in a couple of days.

Diarrhea may lead to stomach cramping, bloating, and skin irritation around the anus. In addition, it can lead to dehydration. Replacing lost fluids might help stave off dehydration. Sipping fluids such as water, sports drinks with electrolytestea or java is vital.

Along with staying hydrated, at-home remedies like drinking apple cider vinegar might help. But apple cider vinegar may also have the reverse impact. If taken in excess, it might actually induce diarrhea.

How does this function?

Apple cider vinegar is made of fermented apples. Fermented apples include pectin. Pectin can help support the development of good bacteria in the intestine, which is crucial for digestion. It might also bulk up stool and decrease intestinal inflammation.

Because apple cider vinegar is a natural antibiotic, it could be effective for diarrhea caused by bacterial infections. These kinds of infections are frequently due to spoiled or contaminated foods, which may comprise E. coli or salmonella.

It could help to elect for raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar rather than the pasteurized version. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is muddy and contains glossy threads running through it. These threads are known as the mother.

The mother may comprise added amounts of:

nutritional supplements
great bacteria

The best way to use apple cider vinegar to nausea

Much like numerous at-home treatments, there is not much scientific evidence supporting or rejecting apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, therefore it is crucial that you dilute it with another liquid before consuming. Otherwise, the vinegar can wear down the enamel on your teeth.

A general guideline is to combine one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a huge glass of liquid. Consider mixing it into warm water or juice. Or make a tea by pairing the vinegar with warm honey and water. Drink this mixture 2 to three times every day until your symptoms subside.

Hazards and warnings

Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic. Should you drink it directly without dilution, it may burn the tissues of your mouth, mouth, and stomach. It might also damage your tooth enamel. To minimize these possible effects, rinse out your mouth after ingesting your diluted apple cider vinegar concoction.

Should you drink too much at any time, apple cider vinegar might actually trigger diarrhea. This can occur for a number of reasons:

The sugars from the apple may stimulate peristalsis.

If taken undiluted, the apple cider vinegar can pull water from the body to the gut, which makes the feces more watery.

The cider may also kill the good bacteria in your intestines.

Other dangers to consider include:

Drinking apple cider vinegar excess over an elongated time period may lead to bone density reduction. In case you have osteoporosis or brittle bone disorder, ask your physician prior to use.

An excessive amount of apple cider vinegar might result in an unhealthy drop in your potassium levels. Low potassium can cause irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), very low blood pressure, and muscular fatigue.

Apple cider vinegar might not be the ideal pick for individuals with type 1 diabetes. It can lessen the amount of time that it takes for food to leave the stomach, which might impact insulin and sugar levels.

Apple cider vinegar can also interfere with prescription drugs, such as those employed for diabetes and antibiotics like tetracycline.

What else could I do to take care of diarrhea?

Making dietary changes is frequently the initial step in treating nausea. It is very important to watch what you drink and eat while still experiencing symptoms. Your diet may have an immediate effect on the frequency and severity of these signs.

Apple cider vinegar for diarrhea.

Things to Grow your diet

Drinking clear fluids, such as chicken broth, can be beneficial. Clear fluids are able to allow you to stay hydrated without damaging your ailment. It could also help pour yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea, like chamomile. Herbal teas can help lessen stomach migraines.

Eating foods which are binding, like plain white rice and carrots, may also help bulk up stool. Toast with jam is just another easy-to-digest option. Most jams contain pectin, which might be an extra benefit.

Things to eliminate from the diet

Certain foods can make the condition worse and needs to be prevented while still experiencing symptoms of nausea.

These include foods which:

Are full of fiber
are full of fat
are hot
include dairy

You should also prevent:

anything which can make you gassy, like carbonated drinks or specific vegetables

Selections for medicine

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs may also assist. Popular choices include bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium A-D). These non-prescription medications may be effective, but should only be used with your physician’s approval.

If your nausea is caused by a bacterial or parasitic disease, OTC products can do more damage than good. They can stop your body from purging from the disease source. You should not use OTC drugs for diarrhea brought on by a chronic condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

You may also want to have an OTC probiotic. These may help alleviate nausea by increasing the quantity of good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Know more: Organic remedies for nausea Whilst breast-feeding”

The Most Important Thing

It is common to encounter diarrhea every now and then. If your nausea is not chronic or accompanied by other symptoms, then you might want to try apple cider vinegar or a different at-home remedy.

In case you have nausea for at least three or four times, or if it is accompanied by symptoms like fever, a physician’s visit might be a fantastic idea. Your health care provider can determine the cause of your diarrhea and urge medications which could help you feel much better. Diarrhea in babies and kids always takes a physician’s care.

6 Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects You Need To Know About

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has, for a long time, been a health store staple and highly regarded remedy in the wellness world.

This juice, which is fermented from crushed apples, can purportedly help everything from balancing weight, to preventing diabetes, to improving the health of your skin.

I personally use it as a toner from time to time, despite the somewhat pungent aroma, and can give a one-woman testimonial that it appears to help my adult cheek acne.

But, like anything, there is a B-side you should know about.

While it can be very difficult to keep track of all the health claims out there, it really is good to know the potential side effects, both good and bad, when you’re using any kind of product.

Like humans, nothing in this world is perfect.

And yes, that includes the most beloved vinegar this side of balsamic.

1. It Can Be Rather Harsh On Your Precious Bodily Linings

ACV is quite high in citric acid, so overusing it can cause erosion of your teeth and stomach lining.

Some people react poorly to the liquid when it’s applied directly to the skin, and some may experience burning or even a rash.

To avoid this, try diluting your ACV with water.

In fact, you should probably never drink it totally straight, like, at all.

2. It Can Mix Badly With Prescription Medicines


There are certain heart medications and diabetes medications that don’t take too kindly to this stuff (when combined with ACV, they can make your blood sugar drop too low).

So if you’re on meds, always, always, always double-check what substances have the potential to cause a less-than-ideal mix.

3. It Can Deplete Your Body Of Potassium

Large amounts of apple cider vinegar are also known to decrease potassium levels in the blood.

So if you’re a regular consumer, you might want to consider including more potassium-rich foods in your diet, like bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, and black beans.

4. It May Be Harmful To Your Bones

Some research shows that women with osteoporosis should be wary of consuming too much apple cider vinegar, as it can reduce bone density when taken in large quantities.

It’s all about balance, baby, amirite?

5. Too Much ACV Might Hurt Your Tummy


While some people use ACV to balance their digestion, for others, it can cause a completely opposite effect.

It can lead to stomach cramping, aching, diarrhea, and again, potentially the erosion of stomach lining when taken in large quantities.

6. A Lot Of The Benefits Have Only Been Anecdotal


There hasn’t been a ton of research done on all the effects of ACV.

So, while there are links to real benefits based on what apple cider vinegar actually contains, many of the claims you probably hear about that are related to sustained health are more of a case-by-case sort of thing.

3 Ways to Treat Diarrhea

  • Select sports drinks. “Sports drinks make sense and are available in a wide variety of flavors,” Dr. Bickston says. Sports drink work because of their sugar and salt content; both allow water to be more easily absorbed, and even more so when taken together. People can make their own sports drinks by adding a teaspoon of salt to a quart of apple juice, Bickston says. “That little amount of salt will help the body absorb fluids but isn’t enough to make the apple juice taste bad.” Bickston recommends keeping your drinks at room temperature because a warm drink will sit better with you than a cold one.
  • Stick to clear liquids. Some other good choices for treating diarrhea include clear broth and water, unless you’re traveling outside of the country.
  • Avoid drinks that can worsen symptoms. Caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Milk and other dairy products can also make your symptoms worse because diarrhea can cause temporary lactose intolerance.

RELATED: Can Your Period Change Your Bathroom Habits?

2. Try Eating a Bland Diet

When dealing with a brief bout of diarrhea, you want to keep your diet bland. You may find it best to only have clear liquids for the first 24 hours. Then you can slowly add bland foods to your diet. Some bland foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — otherwise known as the BRAT diet. An updated version of the diet that includes tea is referred to as BRATT. Research shows there’s not a lot of evidence to support the benefits of following this diet, but it may not hurt. At the same time, while bananas may be okay for adults, they’re not recommended for children who’ve been vomiting. Crackers and mashed potatoes — minus the butter — may offer a better alternative for both adults and children.

If diarrhea lasts more than a few days, you might want to investigate the foods you’re eating, as some can irritate your bowel and make diarrhea worse. These include foods high in fiber, such as bran, whole grains, and brown rice, as well as greasy or excessively sweet foods. Foods that are sweetened with sorbitol may also aggravate diarrhea, Bickston says. If loose stools are a problem, then you may want to avoid these foods.

If you suspect diarrhea is caused by a certain food, try an elimination diet — cut the suspected food from your diet until you can determine whether or not it’s a problem. If it’s not, feel free to keep eating that food. “The difficulty I see in a lot of patients is that they don’t put things back into their diet even if they’re not causing a problem, and now they’ve painted themselves into a dietary corner,” Bickston says. “All they’re eating is mashed potatoes and rice.”

3. Try Some Over-the-Counter Medication

In most cases, over-the-counter medication can be helpful in stopping an occasional bout of diarrhea — especially traveler’s diarrhea, which may result from ingesting contaminated food or water while abroad. Over-the-counter options include Imodium (loperamide) and Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (bismuth subsalicylate). “These are reasonable to use on occasion and have the great advantage of not requiring a doctor’s prescription,” Bickston says, but they should not be used for more than two days.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you take pharmaceutical remedies for traveler’s diarrhea, they may make you feel better sooner, but they could keep any bacteria, parasites, or viruses in your system longer. In most cases, diarrhea will go away on its own within a few days. If the diarrhea persists, talk to your doctor.

How to Stop Diarrhea: Conventional Treatments

Unless you’ve had diarrhea symptoms for more than one to two weeks, especially if you aren’t sure why they’re happening and they don’t seem to be getting any better from treatments described above, it’s usually not necessary to see a doctor. If you do decide to get a professional opinion, your doctor will likely recommend some of the following treatments for diarrhea:

  • Anti-diarrheal medications: These medications, also known as anti-motility medicines, can help shut down diarrhea symptoms quickly, but this isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Because diarrhea is one of your body’s natural mechanisms for shedding toxins or microbes that have made their way into your GI tract, not allowing this “purge” to happen might mean that harmful bacteria stay inside your body longer. For this reason many doctors are now recommending that you “wait out” acute cases of diarrhea without taking anti-motility medications if you can, as long as you’re not at risk for complications and try to combat dehydration naturally.
  • Following an elimination diet: If you’re suffering from chronic diarrhea symptoms, then your doctor will likely recommend you try pinpointing which foods are problematic for you to digest by following an elimination diet. This means you avoid certain foods, such as dairy products, for a given period of time to determine if symptoms get better. Once you add the suspected food back into your diet you can track whether symptoms return and then make a judgement call about whether you should avoid the food for good.
  • Staying hydrated and eating light, bland foods until you feel better (more on these treatments below).

How to Stop Diarrhea Naturally: 5 Home Remedies

1. Eat Soothing Foods and Those That Are Easy To Digest

What do you eat when you have diarrhea? Here are some of the top foods that can help you stop diarrhea symptoms:

  • Eat lightly — the more food you consume, the harder your digestive organs have to work. You likely won’t have too much of an appetite while you have diarrhea, so try to eat small amounts spread throughout the day.
  • Simple foods that are easy to digest — stick with a diet of bland foods like simple whole grains, apples, bananas and rice the first few days. These foods are easy on the digestive system and can provide some fiber to help add bulk to stools.
  • Flaxseed oil — this has been shown to reduce the duration of diarrhea.
  • Fruits and vegetables — these provide water, fiber and electrolytes. Try making a smoothie or sorbet with fruit, and steaming veggies to make them easier to digest. Monitor your symptoms to make sure they don’t get worse, however, as some people react badly to too much natural sugar.
  • Raw honey and ginger — some people find that a small amount of honey and ginger root added to herbal tea (see below) helps soothe their stomach and reduce irritation.

What foods cause diarrhea? The following are foods to avoid when you have acute diarrhea, or suffer from chronic symptoms that keep returning:

  • Conventional Dairy — Processed dairy can be hard to digest and can make diarrhea worse. However, raw cultured dairy, such as yogurt or kefir, is high in probiotics which can support bowel function.
  • Any potential allergens — As mentioned above, diarrhea can result from food allergies like gluten, nuts, shellfish and dairy. (8)
  • Processed fats and oils — Too much fat can upset your sensitive stomach and make the diarrhea worse. This can include fats from packaged products with refined vegetable oils, fast foods, cheesy foods, processed meats or fried foods.
  • Added sugar and artificial sweeteners — Bacteria love to eat sugar, and sugar reduces immune system and digestive functioning in many cases.
  • Caffeine — Caffeine can stimulate muscles in the digestive tract, increasing bowel movements and cramping.
  • Carbonated, sugar drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Potentially foods with FODMAP carbohydrates, if they make your symptoms worse. Reactions vary from person to person, but problematic foods might include: pears, oats, beans/legumes, wheat, corn, soy, potatoes and any type of bran.

2. Stay Hydrated

Want to know how to stop diarrhea symptoms like dizziness or weakness that are tied to dehydration? Drinking enough water is critical when you’re losing so much in your stool. To keep dehydration symptoms from getting worse when you have diarrhea, try to drink 16 ounces of fluids about every hour. You can also get fluids through drinking homemade bone broth, which will additionally provide many nutrients you’re in need of (like amino acids and electrolytes). Herbal teas including ginger, peppermint, oat bark, licorice/fennel or pomegranate tea (non-caffeinated) may also help soothe your stomach.

Although it’s not a good solution for everyone, drinking coconut water (a natural source of electrolytes), fresh vegetable juice or sucking on homemade fruit ice pops can also be a good way to get more water and nutrients into your system. However, don’t consume too much juice, or too much liquid too quickly, if you notice this worsens the diarrhea. You can judge if you’re losing too much water by paying attention to the color of your urine, as well as how thirsty you are. If you’re not having to urinate often, but when you do your urine is very dark yellow, drink more water. Drink so that your thirst seems about normal and your urine is light yellow.

3. Get Enough Rest

Avoid too much exercise or strenuous physical activity when you’re dealing with diarrhea. Chances are you will feel weak and a bit run down and you might not be sleeping well while your symptoms persist. Give your body a chance to recover by getting enough sleep (8 hours per night or more), taking it easy, and trying to keep your stress levels down.

4. Try These Supplements

Certain supplements can help improve overall gut and digestive health, allow you to process the foods and nutrients you’re consuming more easily, and soothe an upset stomach. I recommend trying some of the following:

  • Probiotics (50 billion units daily): Probiotics help fight infection and can help re-colonize the gut with healthy bacteria. These are available in supplement form and also in cultured/fermented foods.
  • Digestive Enzymes (2 before each meal): These enzymes will help with nutrient absorption.
  • Glutamine powder (5 grams 2x daily): Glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair the digestive tract, especially important for people with chronic diarrhea. It’s available in supplement form and also naturally in bone broth.
  • Aloe Vera Juice (1/2 cup taken about 3x daily): Aloe is healing to the lining of the digestive system and easy to break down.
  • Raw Sprouted Fiber from Flax and Chia seeds (2-3 tablespoons daily): Soluble fiber found in seeds can help thicken stools and reduce the frequency of diarrhea.

5. Use Essential Oils

Studies have found that peppermint essential oil can reduce bowel inflammation and soothe the digestive tract, reducing loose stools. Studies have also found that peppermint oil has active ingredients including menthol or monoterpine, which has anti-spasmotic properties due to its ability to block calcium channels within the intestinal smooth muscles. This helps stop cramping, frequent elimination and pains.

One review found that 8 out of 12 placebo-controlled studies showed statistically significant positive effects in favor of peppermint oil compared to control groups/placebo. (9) Certain studies have found that use of peppermint oil seems to be most effective in relieving abdominal pain in diarrhea in people with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, which is often caused by multiple factors and can be hard to treat. One double blind randomized placebo-controlled study involving 74 patients with IBS found that after six weeks of using peppermint oil three times daily, abdominal pain and quality of life was markedly improved compared with a placebo group not using peppermint. (10)

How to Stop Diarrhea in Infants and Children

Infants are especially susceptible to dehydration that can happen along with diarrhea. Plus, they’re more likely to have diarrhea due to allergies or illnesses since their immune systems aren’t yet fully developed or strong. It’s estimated that 3 percent of infants are allergic to proteins found in dairy. This includes the dairy found in most formulas, as well as dairy obtained from breast milk if the mother is consuming dairy. Symptoms to look out for that indicate a milk protein allergy include vomiting and developing a rash, in addition to diarrhea. It’s not safe to give infants or young children anti-diarrheal medications that are meant for adults. Rather, it’s recommended you try these treatment methods instead:

  • Give the infant/baby more liquids that normal. Offer lots of liquids. Try to offer breast milk or a bottle with water more often; however, remember that sugary drinks like juice can make diarrhea symptoms worse, so avoid these.
  • Most pediatricians now recommend trying to give infants/babies a source of electrolytes when they’re experiencing diarrhea, especially lost sodium.
  • Give them probiotic foods. Cultured or fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, cultured veggies or supplements and even oral drops all contain probiotics. They help restore healthy bacteria in the digestive tract and can be useful for reducing many forms of digestive upset.
  • If your baby develops skin irritation and diaper rash due to you having to change their diaper often, be very gentle. Use a washcloth and warm water to clean them, instead of wipes and lots of drying soap. Let their skin air dry. Then apply an ointment or moisture barrier for protection, like petroleum jelly or zinc oxide.
  • Diarrhea should go away within one to three days if the child starts to get better. If it does not go away, call their doctor. You’ll want to rule out other health problems and make sure they aren’t suffering from an intestinal or yeast infection.


It’s usually best to try treating acute diarrhea on your own for several days, tracking if your symptoms improve with help from the recommendations above while you wait it out. However, visit your doctor if diarrhea occurs in infants or young children for more than several days in a row, the elderly, anyone who is underweight and already suffering from health problems, or someone who develops more serious symptoms including: (11)

  • Blood or mucus in your stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Pay attention to signs that you’re becoming dehydrated and take steps to drink more water and obtain electrolytes. If you become dizzy, very weak or confused, then consult with your doctor to avoid complications.

Final Thoughts

  • Diarrhea is a common problem that occurs when your bowel movements (or stools) become very loose, frequent and/or watery. It can be either acute (short term) or chronic, lasting more than two to three weeks.
  • Diarrhea is caused by factors including food allergies, an infection or virus, dehydration, stress and certain medications.
  • Natural ways to help get rid of diarrhea include drinking enough fluids, consuming bland foods and getting enough rest.

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