What are the best treatments for diarrhea

Diarrhea: home remedies for diarrhea

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It is diarrhea (also diarrhea or diarrhea) if at least two of the three following criteria are met:

  • more than three bowel movements a day;
  • fluid or very soft stool consistency;
  • increased amount.

Diarrhea is often sudden and can be accompanied by abdominal cramps and burning pain. Due to the high fluid loss, you will quickly feel exhausted and tired. You can alleviate diarrhea itself and its accompanying symptoms with some familiar home remedies.

Bowel movements: The color and consistency tell you that

Simple home remedies for diarrhea

  1. Drink a lot! Equal to the high one dehydration through the diarrhea from by doing a lot water and drink mild teas.

  2. A hot water bottle or a heated spelled pillow on the stomach have an antispasmodic and beneficial effect.

  3. In order to get the bowel going again, you should slowly eat small meals again after taking a food break (do not eat anything). Are suitable zwieback, Toast, rice and light soups. However, do not eat spicy and fatty foods.

  4. Just at Toddlers the quick balance of fluids and minerals is important. To do this, dissolve in a liter of pure orange juice one to two tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.

  5. Cola and pretzel sticks are not a good antidote for diarrhea, says physician Hans-Jörg Epple. The drink contains too much sugar and can aggravate diarrhea. According to him, pretzel sticks are not enough to compensate for the loss of salt in the body, because they contain important salts such as potassium and citrates are absent.

  6. Instead, Epple advises one Electrolyte solution from the pharmacy or the following home remedy: Dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon in each liter of boiled water or still mineral water Table salt and baking soda. To do this, add two tablespoons of sugar or honey and half a cup of orange juice.

  7. Another way to do the Loss of potassium to balance out one or two mashed bananas.

This is how you can make an electrolyte solution yourself.

Acute and Chronic Diarrhea: What's the Difference?

Acute diarrhea often occurs as so-called traveler's diarrhea, especially in tropical countries. Chronic diarrhea is when the symptom continues uninterrupted for more than three weeks. Diarrhea that only lasts a few days is usually harmless; it can be triggered, for example, by gastrointestinal infections caused by viruses.

Severe diarrheal diseases, for example, are due to an infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile back. If left untreated, fluids and minerals are quickly lost, which can be fatal. Older people and infants are particularly affected by such severe diarrhea courses.

The main symptom of diarrhea is fluid to watery or very soft, mushy stools with frequent defecation (at least three times a day). Usually there is an increased amount of stool at the same time. The color of the chair varies and ranges from yellowish to dark brown.

Other symptoms of diarrhea

The trigger for diarrhea is the disturbed relationship between fluid intake and release in the digestive tract. For acute and chronic diarrhea, different causes come into question, some of which overlap.

Causes of acute diarrhea

The most common causes of acute diarrhea are bacteria, parasites or viruses. They lead to infectious diarrhea, which affects the small or large intestine. Even if you eat contaminated food, it can lead to diarrhea: In this type of food poisoning, bacteria and toxins are also responsible for acute diarrhea. Gastrointestinal flu, on the other hand, is caused by viruses such as noro- or rotaviruses.

Medicines and laxatives

Diarrhea, a side effect of medication, is often harmless and usually disappears on its own within a few days. "If massive diarrhea lasts longer than two days, however, you should consult a doctor," recommends Thorsten Gottwald from the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists in Berlin.

Diarrhea as a result of antibiotic treatments is relatively common. Because these drugs destroy pathogenic bacteria, but also parts of the intestinal bacteria that are important for our health. One possible consequence is diarrhea, because food components are no longer completely broken down by the intestinal bacteria.

Various over-the-counter drugs can also cause diarrhea as a side effect. This applies, for example, to drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the formation of stomach acid and are taken for stomach pain and heartburn. Diarrhea is also known to be a side effect of food supplements that contain magnesium. Some people also use the side effect of magnesium specifically to stimulate sluggish bowel activity.

Diarrhea is also a possible side effect of cancer drugs, prescription heart medication, or high-dose thyroid hormones.

"But diarrhea can also be a sign of an overdose of laxatives," warns Gottwald. "Then one should reduce the dose of the laxative until the stool is soft but not runny." In principle, laxatives should not be used for more than two weeks without medical advice. Exceptions are swelling substances from flaxseed or Indian flea seeds: These laxatives do not lead to diarrhea even in high doses and can be taken long-term.

Gastrointestinal flu: symptoms and home remedies


Causes of acute Diarrhea at a glance

Causes of Chronic Diarrhea

In contrast to acute diarrhea, infections caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses are rarely the cause of the symptoms in chronic diarrhea. Frequent causes are functional disorders of the intestinal tract, above all irritable bowel syndrome (Colon irritabile). What causes irritable bowel syndrome has not yet been clearly clarified. Another cause of chronic diarrhea is inflammation of the bowel caused by Crohn's disease or chronic bowel inflammation (ulcerative colitis).

Other causes of chronic diarrhea:

  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Metabolic disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • limited nutrient absorption or utilization (malassimilation syndrome)
  • Tumors
  • excessive use of laxatives
  • Food allergies

This is what happens when diagnosing diarrhea

A stool sample is usually required when diagnosing diarrhea. This sample can be used to determine the pathogen in the laboratory. Blood in the stool can also be detected in this way. If the stool sample does not provide any information, a blood sample is taken and examined in the laboratory for pathogens. An organ or metabolic disorder can also be diagnosed through a blood test.

In addition, a colonoscopy (colonoscopy) or rectoscopy (sigmoidoscopy) may be necessary when looking for the causes of diarrhea. During the mirroring, tissue samples can be taken and examined (biopsy).

When to see a doctor if you have diarrhea

Briefly occurring diarrhea without any noteworthy accompanying symptoms does not usually require any treatment, it hardly affects your health. If you have severe diarrhea and other symptoms, such as fever, or long-lasting or bloody diarrhea, a doctor should be consulted. Long-term therapy for diarrhea depends on the underlying disease. In the case of non-infectious, acute diarrhea, it is usually sufficient to stop eating foods that contain the triggering substance.

Treating diarrhea with medication

Because the body loses a lot of fluids, balancing the fluid and electrolyte balance is very important in the case of diarrhea. The administration of electrolyte-glucose solutions compensates for the lack of water and minerals in the body caused by the diarrhea. If you have already lost a lot of fluids, such solutions can be administered via an infusion.

There are different drugs for diarrhea:

  • In order to prevent increased intestinal activity, anti-motility drugs are used. They reduce bowel movements and thus prevent further diarrhea. There Motility inhibitors can lead to constipation, they are only suitable for the short term. The active substance Loperamide is an over-the-counter motility inhibitor that is not, however, suitable for children.

  • kaolin is a clay or china clay that absorbs water and has a binding effect. It is taken and reduces diarrhea.

  • Preparations containing the bacterium Lactobacillus (lactic acid bacterium) promote the healing of the damaged intestinal mucosa. Lactobacillus preparations are used to prevent diarrhea.

  • Charcoal tablets

  • Yeast preparations have a similar effect and are also suitable for children.

Stool transplantation for severe diarrheal diseases

In the case of particularly severe, recurring diarrhea, for example as a result of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, stool transplantation also offers a relatively new treatment option. Donor feces are introduced into the patient's intestinal flora in order to positively influence the unbalanced intestinal flora.

You can read more about stool transplants here.

How can I prevent diarrhea at home and while traveling?

Usually, diarrhea cannot be specifically prevented. Only in the case of food allergies does avoiding the triggering foods prevent the disease. To avoid food poisoning, raw meat and eggs should not be consumed. To prevent travelers' diarrhea in tropical countries, never drink water without boiling it first.

Also only use boiled water to brush your teeth or choose mineral water and all foods carefully. Anyone who follows the rule of thumb "Cook it, peel it or forget it" ("Cook it, peel it or forget it!") Is as good as safe from traveler's diarrhea even on holiday in Asia.