Diarrhea is one of your body’s natural defenses. It rushes s things through the digestive tract that your body wants to get rid of. Knowing this won’t make you feel any better when you’re running for the bathroom every ten minutes, but it’s important to understand that diarrhea is very efficient at what it does. It’s so efficient, in fact, that it rarely lasts more than a day or two – and that definitely should make you feel better.
The bad news, of course, is that diarrhea often comes back – again and again. Most come from bacterial or viral infections, although diarrhea can also be caused by food allergies, stress, a sensitivity to milk or other dairy foods, or even as a side effect of medications.
Even though diarrhea may play a protective role, you don’t want it to last too long because it can rob your body of essential fluids and nutrients. Of course it just plain feels awful. Here are a few ways to speed it on its way.
Drink a lot of fluids . To stay healthy, it’s essential to replace all the fluids that diarrhea takes out of you. Doctors recommended drinking as much as you can hold –at least eight to twelve glasses of water a day. Sports drinks are even better than water because they contain many essential minerals; called electrolytes that you need to stay healthy. You can also purchase flavored electrolyte solution at your local pharmacy.
Give your system a break . It’s generally important to eat well to keep up your strength, but when you have diarrhea it’s better to eat less to give your digestive tract time to recover. Doctors recommend sticking to a “clear” diet by eating foods such as broth or gelatin. When you’re ready to start eating solid foods again, keep it bland for a few days are eating easy-to-digest foods such as rice, bananas, applesauce, and toast. Avoid acidic foods, such a s oranges and tomatoes, which are known to irritate the digestive tract.
Have a little yogurt . Yogurt can be very good for diarrhea if it contains “active” cultures – beneficial bacteria that help aid in digestion. The label will tell you.
Avoid high-fiber foods . When you have diarrhea it’s important to eat foods that are easy to digest. Dietary fiber, for all its benefits isn’t digested, which makes it harder for the digestive tract to do its job. Once the diarrhea has run its course you can start eating a high fiber diet again.
Take advantage of berries . Blueberries may be the perfect diarrhea-fighting food. They’re rich in protein, which your body needs when you’re feeling sick. Plus, they contain compounds that may help stop the bacteria that can cause diarrhea in the first place.
Take the Mary Poppins prescription . Even if you don’t need any help getting the medicine down, a spoonful of sugar can be very helpful when you’re fighting diarrhea. Sugar helps the body absorb – rather than eliminate – water, so it can help prevent dehydration.
Ask your doctor about diary. If you’re having diarrhea all the time, you could be sensitive to lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy foods. In fact, doctors believe that”lactose intolerance” is a very common cause of diarrhea. You may want to try giving up milk, cheese, and other dairy foods for a few days to see if the problem goes away. Or you can take supplements containing lactase – an enzyme that will help your body digest the lactose found in dairy foods.
Get quick relief at the pharmacy . Doctors usually recommend letting diarrhea run its course. But when you have to stop it fast – because you’re taking a business trip, for example – you may want to pick up some Imodium medication helps to prevent your intestines from contracting, which stops diarrhea.