Diarrhea is passing loose or watery bowel movements three or more times in a day or frequently than usual. Diarrhea occurs when the lining of the intestine is unable to absorb fluid, or it actively secretes fluid. It often last for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss.
The most common cause is an infection of the intestine due to either a virus, bacterium or parasite. Infectious diarrhea is most commonly caused by viruses passed from person to person, or by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with viruses, bacteria such as salmonella or a parasite such as cryptosporidium. Other causes are drinking excess alcohol, food intolerance, and change in diet, bowel conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, stress. Digestive system disorders can also cause chronic diarrhea.
The three types of diarrhea are:
- Short duration watery diarrhea.
- Short duration bloody diarrhea.
- Persistent diarrhea lasting more than two weeks, which can be either watery or bloody.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
- Painful abdominal cramps.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Fever or headache.
- Urgent need to go to the toilet.
- Bloating and loss of appetite.
- Generalized weakness.
Diet & Nutrition for Diarrhea
- Drinking plenty of water or fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Start with a ‘clear-liquid’ diet. Clear means chicken broth or fluids you can look clear through. The reason is that the bowel needs rest during the time you have diarrhea.
- It is imperative to rehydrate yourself during these bouts. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar to 4 cups of water. This will replenish ones glucose and electrohydrates.
- Probiotics – foods containing beneficial bacteria may help treat diarrhea. Helpful bacteria live in our digestive tract, where they help digest your food and protect you from harmful bacteria, e.g. yogurt and cheese.
- Carrot juice, the essential oils in carrot juice have an effect on the mucous membranes in the stomach. Take the juice several times daily to help regain proper digestion.
- Drink warm water throughout the day, this helps to flash out the toxins in the bowels as much as possible.
- Eat appropriate amounts of raw fruit and vegetables, steamy and carefully boiling them also helps to cleanse toxins from the affected areas.
- Bananas and apple are both good and rich in pectin. They tighten up loose bowels, and supply minerals lost in diarrhea such as magnesium, potassium. Use high bulk foods – (The BRAT diet) – Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast which are called the BRAT diet.
- Avoid spicy and high fat foods until stools return to normal.
- Avoid milk and dairy products except yogurt.
- Avoid beans, cabbage, wheat products, corn, oats, potatoes, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, prunes.
- Avoid carbonated beverages due to their gaseous state may contribute to the explosiveness.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Foods to be avoided are stuffs that are alkali based or will create much acidity when digested.
- Do not use excessive sugar – sweet juices are bad choices for replacing the fluids lost in diarrhea.
- To prevent travelers diarrhea drink only bottled drinks or drink boiled water. Avoid tap water, raw salads and unpasteurized dairy products. To drink the local water, purify it by boiling.