How to Treat Diarrhea at Home
September 05, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

How to Treat Diarrhea at Home


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Diarrhea, while usually short-lived, can be highly uncomfortable, but it can be effectively and efficiently managed at home.  Frequent, watery, loose bowel movements are typically diagnosed as diarrhea, and while there are many causes, a stomach bug or food poisoning are the usual perpetrators.  If diarrhea becomes persistent and long-lasting, there could be an underlying medical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, hyperthyroidism, or celiac disease.  


However, if you suspect your case of diarrhea to be unrelated to an underlying medical condition, there are ways to address the discomfort at home.   Many people run to the hospital at the first sign of vomiting or diarrhea, but it is not necessary.  A trip to the hospital becomes essential when the gastrointestinal symptoms have persisted for days, and dehydration is beginning to set in.  Signs of dehydration include decreased urinary output, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, or excessive tiredness.  


Recovery From Diarrhea at Home:

To successfully recover at home, consider maintaining a strict BRAT diet, resting, consuming electrolyte infused beverages, and introducing probiotics.  Rest is essential for any illness, but it is a top priority after gastrointestinal upset.  After stomach ailments, excessive amounts of water and essential nutrients have been expelled, so it is imperative to rest in bed to recover your energy.  While resting, try to incorporate water and electrolyte beverages.  Many doctors recommend drinking electrolyte beverages at the start of a stomach bug to begin flooding your body with the nutrients it is quickly putting out.  Also, continue to drink a large amount of water well after diarrhea has resolved.  


A BRAT diet is known as the banana, rice, applesauce, and toast diet, and it is highly recommended after any gastrointestinal ailment.  BRAT diet food items are bland and easily digested, which makes them ideal after a bad bout of diarrhea.  It is best to avoid spicy, processed, fatty, sugary, or dairy items as these can bring on nausea and further diarrhea or vomiting.  This diet, while indicated after a stomach bug, does not supply all of the nutrients needed for a balanced diet. It is appropriate to resume a normal diet after 24 hours of no diarrhea or vomiting, consuming bland foods, and rehydrating.  Also, consider taking probiotics, which introduce good bacteria into the gut.  Probiotics can restore the gut flora after viral infections, and when taking probiotics regularly, they keep the gut healthy and thriving.


If you have tried at-home treatments and there is still no relief after two or three days, it is best to be seen by a physician.  Throughout the illness, if you have experienced severe abdominal pain, blood or pus in your stool, significant weight loss, signs of severe dehydration, or unrelenting diarrhea, please call your physician. There are physicians available for you to speak with at Shifa4U to determine an appropriate course of action.  In conclusion, initiate a BRAT diet, consume electrolyte beverages, in addition to water, and try to rest as much as possible. By utilizing these steps, you should be on track for a full recovery.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.