Best Diet for Diarrhea
What Is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a condition in which your bowel movements are loose and watery. They also occur more frequently than usual and in larger amounts. This issue may be acute, persistent or chronic. Everyone has experienced diarrhea at some point in their life, but it is actually one of the most common reasons for people to see a physician for medical advice.
How long does diarrhea last?
The virus or infection should only last a few days but it may take up to a week for your bowels to become regular again. If you have only suffered from diarrhea for a few days or so, there is usually no need for you to be alarmed as this can be quite normal. The only time you should be concerned is when your diarrhea has lasted for a couple of weeks.
What causes diarrhea?
Diarrhea can stem from something as minor as a virus or food poisoning, but it may also be caused by a more serious condition such as a digestive disorder or an autoimmune disease.
The most common cause of Diarrhea is usually some type of virus or infection in the gastrointestinal tract.
Diarrhea may also be caused by:
- Infection caused by bacteria (food poisoning)
- Infections from other organisms
- Eating foods that upset your digestive system
- The stomach flu
- Diseases of the intestines (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Radiation treatment
- Malabsorption (when your body is unable to properly absorb nutrients)
- Some cancers
- Digestive tract surgery
- Laxative abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Competitive running
Diet for Diarrhea
What to Eat When Having Diarrhea
Many people with diarrhea can manage their symptoms through a modified diet. You will need to identify which foods trigger your symptoms and eliminate those foods as often as you can.
You may be able to learn new ways of preparing a diet based on what your body can digest properly.
What Not to Eat with Diarrhea
- Carbonated beverages
- Caffeinated beverages
- Fruits that contain seeds
- Vegetables that contains seeds
- Legumes (Beans, broccoli and cauliflower)
- Sugary and starchy foods such as pastries, cookies, bread, pasta
These are common sources of inflammation and eliminating these foods will often alleviate your IBS symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms?
- Loose, watery stools
- Urgency to use the restroom
- Inability to control your bowels
- Abdominal cramping
More serious symptoms of Diarrhea are:
- Bloody or black stools
- Mucus in stools
- Weight loss
It is very important that you see a physician immediately if you have been experiencing diarrhea for more than a week and/or if you notice that your stools are black in color. Black stools are often a sign of internal bleeding in your digestive tract.
Everyone’s bodies are different, so certain foods may or may not trigger certain symptoms of diarrhea. However, it is usually best to eat very plain, simple foods, especially within the first 24 hours of symptoms. Eating foods with probiotics, such as yogurt, have been known to shorten the duration of diarrhea. Keeping a food journal may also be helpful in determining which foods are triggers for you. That way you will know which foods you need to avoid as much as possible.
The following is a general diet that you may follow. Please be advised that symptoms associated with food choices vary by person.
Avoid the following foods:
- Carbonated beverages and caffeine
- Raw and dried fruits, raisins and berries.
- Greasy, fried and processed foods
- Gas-producing foods (lentils, beans, legumes, cabbage, and broccoli)
- Spicy and/or highly seasoned foods
- Dairy Products
- All nuts and seeds, as well as foods that may contain seeds (such as yogurt)
- Vegetables from the Cruciferous family
Foods that may be regularly eaten in any quantity:
- Ripened Bananas
- White rice
- Fish (broiled or baked-avoid shellfish)
- Chicken Soups (No Cream Soups)
- Fresh Chicken or Turkey
- Cooked vegetables
- English muffin
- Plain Cereals (e.g., Cheerios, Cornflakes,
- Cream of Wheat, Rice Krispies, Special K
- Ripened Banana
- Fruit juices (except prune juice)
- applesauce, apricots, banana (1/2), cantaloupe, canned fruit cocktail, grapes, honeydew melon, peaches, watermelon
- Enriched refined white bread or buns
- Alfalfa sprouts, beets, green/yellow beans, carrots,
- celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms,
- green/red peppers, potatoes (peeled), squash, zucchini
- Well-cooked, tender meat, fish, and eggs
- Potatoes (no skin)
- Vegetable juices
- Arrowroot cookies, tea biscuits, soda crackers, plain melba toast
- White Rice
For more information on diet restrictions and suggestions for your Autoimmune Disease, call A.M.P. Floracel® at 954 527-1004 to speak to a specialist today!
Lifestyle and Treatment Tips for Diarrhea:
Home treatment for minor diarrhea:
Take frequent, small sips of water or a drink like Pedialyte to help with dehydration.
Begin eating very plain, simple foods in small amounts at a time. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid making the diarrhea worse.
Avoid spicy foods, fruit, caffeine, and alcohol until all of your symptoms have subsided for a few days.
Avoid artificial sweeteners like mannitol and sorbitol. They are known to cause diarrhea in some individuals. It also best to avoid chewing gum, cough drops, candy and any other sugar-free products.
Avoid milk and dairy until your symptoms have subsided for a few days. However, yogurt is full of probiotics and is usually fine to eat.
Over-the-counter medications for minor diarrhea:
If you are pregnant and/or nursing, please speak with your physician before taking any medicines for diarrhea.
Over-the-counter medications may be helpful in treating the symptoms of your diarrhea.
Use over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication if your diarrhea has lasted for more than 6 hours.
Make sure you read and follow all directions, dosages, and warnings on the label, which is normally located directly on the bottle or box.
It is not recommended to take over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication long-term. To avoid constipation, stop taking any antidiarrheal medications immediately as your stool begins to thicken.
Most cases of diarrhea will go away on its own within a few days. Antibiotics will only help treat diarrhea that is caused by bacteria or parasites. However, if your diarrhea is caused by a disease or serious condition, your physician will help you control it.
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