Diarrhea is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, food poisoning, and certain medications. It is characterized by loose, watery stools that occur more often than usual.
In most cases, diarrhea goes away on its own within a few days without treatment. However, there are some things you can do to help relieve the symptoms and prevent dehydration, such as:
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, clear broths, and sports drinks. Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, as these can worsen dehydration.
- Eat bland, easy-to-digest foods, such as rice, toast, and bananas. Avoid fatty, spicy, and greasy foods, as these can irritate your stomach and make diarrhea worse.
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). These medications can help to slow down the movement of food through your digestive system and firm up your stools.
If you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that does not improve after a few days, see a doctor. They may prescribe stronger medication or recommend other treatments, such as intravenous fluids.
Here are some additional tips for understanding diarrhea treatment:
- Stay hydrated. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids. If you are having trouble drinking enough fluids, you may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids.
- Eat bland foods. When you have diarrhea, it is important to eat bland, easy-to-digest foods. This will help to reduce the amount of work your digestive system has to do and give it time to heal.
- Take over-the-counter medications. Over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), can help to slow down the movement of food through your digestive system and firm up your stools. However, it is important to follow the directions on the label and talk to your doctor before taking these medications, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
- See a doctor if necessary. If you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that does not improve after a few days, see a doctor. They may prescribe stronger medication or recommend other treatments, such as intravenous fluids.