Diarrhea is a very common digestive problem characterized by loose watery stools and stomach pain. If you experience these symptoms for 1-2 weeks, you are suffering from acute diarrhea & if it persists for several weeks it is termed chronic diarrhea. Although diarrhea seems a simple health issue, it can lead to severe complications such as dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, if left untreated for long. Thus, it is very important to know about the causes and home remedies to address it. Read below to learn about steps to overcome diarrhea.
Causes and Risk Factors of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is seen commonly in adults and children. However, the causes and risk factors for both can be different and need to be understood well.
- Causes and Risk Factors in Infants and Children
- Rotavirus, which is also known as viral gastroenteritis, is a common cause of diarrhea in children below 2 years of age. However, viral gastroenteritis can also affect adults.
- Bacterial infections may be caused due to touching unclean surfaces, toys and eating with dirty hands.
- Lactose intolerance or food allergies such as peanuts, cashew nuts, eggs, fish, etc.
- Reaction to food formulas or sometimes to mother’s milk, if the mother has consumed something difficult to digest.
- Taking antibiotics or other medicines can cause changes in the GI tract.
Please note that infants have softer stools normally. Their stool color can be different at times and they even pass stools several times a day. But it is considered normal. However, you should be concerned if diarrhea lasts for several days with other associated signs of dehydration such as foul-smelling stools, less urination, dry mouth, dry eyes while crying, sunken eyes or rectal bleeding. Consult on our doctors to know more..!
- Causes and Risk Factors in Adults
- Food poisoning- Due to consuming contaminated food or eating outside often.
- Bacterial infections- Infections can be transmitted from skin contact or touching contaminated surfaces.
- Due to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the intestine leading to indigestion and nutritional deficiency.
- Food allergies- Many people are sensitive to certain foods such as milk products (known as Lactose intolerance), peanuts, cashews, fish, eggs, etc.
- Drinking contaminated water can lead to bacterial and viral infections.
- Overeating may lead to indigestion which can cause diarrhea.
- Eating too much of fat-rich foods which are hard to digest.
- Stress and anxiety may lead to diarrhea.
- Consuming excess of alcohol and caffeine may cause dehydration and indigestion.
- Due to side- effects of certain medicines and supplements such as antibiotics, lactulose, quinidine, etc.
- Traveler’s diarrhea- It is caused due to infection of E.Coli bacteria. It occurs often as a result of poor sanitation.
- Other medical issues- Poor digestion-related diseases such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer.
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Drinking adequate water is necessary for recovering from diarrhea. Consuming sugar and salt may help the intestine to absorb fluids more efficiently and balance electrolytes in the body. You may prepare your Oral Rehydration Solution by mixing 1 liter of water, half teaspoon salt and 6-7 teaspoons of sugar. Drink this solution after every interval of time. Have at least 3-4 liters of water in a day.
Also consume liquids in the form of fresh juices, buttermilk or sports drink which restores potassium and sodium, thus helping to rehydrate.
Avoid beverages that irritate your digestive tract such as alcohol, aerated drinks, caffeinated drinks, etc.
Have small frequent meals for improving digesting. Consume foods rich in potassium, electrolytes, pectin such as fruits, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
The BRAT diet consists of: Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, Toast
BRAT diet contains foods rich in starch and low in fibers which will help make bowel movements more solid.
Diarrhea drains out the entire body making it weak. Thus, adequate rest plays a major role in the recovery process. Getting up to 8 hours of sleep will help your body relax and reduce stress.
Avoid certain foods that are hard to digest and can irritate the digestive system. These foods include spicy, high-fat foods and foods containing fructose and artificial sweeteners.
Probiotics provide good bacteria that help the functioning digestive tract. You may consume nature probiotics such as yogurt. Please avoid having flavored yogurts.
It is said that nature has an answer for almost everything. Thus, natural supplements can help you recover from diarrhea without any side-effects. Biogetica has few natural supplements that can help improve the functioning of the digestive system and provide relief. To know more about the supplements that can help you please contact one of our doctors. Few of the natural supplements for improving Gastric health are listed below: