What Can You Take for Diarrhea: Relief Options Explained
Diarrhea can be an unpleasant experience, characterized by loose or watery bowel movements. It can often be linked to food intolerances, viral infections, or bacterial infections such as gastroenteritis. Diarrhea can be especially concerning if it lasts for more than a few days or if there are other associated symptoms such as fever, dehydration, or blood in the stool.
While diarrhea can usually resolve on its own, it is important to find relief quickly to avoid dehydration and discomfort. Luckily, there are many options to manage symptoms, ranging from home remedies to prescription medications.
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Home remedies can be an effective first line of defense against diarrhea symptoms and are accessible and affordable. One popular remedy is ginger tea, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and soothe an upset stomach. It is important to avoid adding any sugar or milk to ginger tea, as this could worsen symptoms. Other options include consuming probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and kefir, which can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut. Eating food high in soluble fiber, such as oatmeal or bananas, may also ease symptoms by adding bulk to stool.
If home remedies do not provide relief, over-the-counter options are available for purchase at most pharmacies and drugstores. Common over-the-counter options include loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate, which can help stop diarrhea and reduce inflammation in the gut. One downside to these options is that they may have side effects such as constipation and darkening of the stool, respectively. Furthermore, certain over-the-counter medications are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children under a certain age. As such, it is important to always read the instructions and consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Natural Supplements and Herbs
Natural supplements and herbs such as probiotics, chamomile, and peppermint may also offer relief from diarrhea symptoms. Probiotics can help replenish the gut with beneficial bacteria, while chamomile and peppermint can soothe the digestive tract. However, it is important to always research and purchase supplements from reputable sources, as not all natural treatments are created equal. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new supplement or herb.
The BRAT Diet
The BRAT diet is a popular option for easing diarrhea symptoms. It consists of easy-to-digest foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet is low in fiber and fat, so it may help bind stool and ease digestion. However, it is not nutritionally balanced, so it should not be followed long-term. Once bowel symptoms improve, it is recommended to slowly reintroduce other foods back into the diet to ensure adequate nutrition intake.
Effective Medications for Diarrhea
Prescription medications for diarrhea relief may be necessary for some patients, especially if the symptoms are severe or chronic. These medications include antibiotics to attack bacterial infections and antispasmodics to reduce excess contractions of the bowels. It is important to use prescription medications under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as they may have side effects and interact with other medications.
There are many options available for managing diarrhea symptoms at home or with the help of a healthcare provider. It is important to identify the underlying cause of diarrhea and to use treatment options safely and effectively. Remember to always read the instructions and consult with a healthcare provider if symptoms persist or become severe.