Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most diarrhea cases clear up on their own within a few days. To help you cope with your signs and symptoms until the diarrhea goes away, try to:
- Drink plenty of clear liquids, including water, broths and juices, every day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Add semisolid and low-fiber foods gradually as your bowel movements return to normal. Try soda crackers, toast, eggs, rice or chicken.
- Avoid certain foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods for a few days.
Ask about anti-diarrheal medications. Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrheal medications, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), may help reduce the number of watery bowel movements you experience.
Certain medical conditions and infections — bacterial and parasitic — may be made worse by these OTC medications because they prevent your body from getting rid of what's causing the diarrhea. Also, these drugs aren't always safe for children. Check with your doctor before taking these medications or giving these medications to a child.
- Consider probiotics. Probiotics contain strains of living bacteria that are similar to the healthy bacteria normally found in your digestive system. Probiotics may boost the number of healthy bacteria present to fight germs in your digestive tract. Probiotic supplements are available. Beneficial bacteria may also be found in yogurt and cheese.
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- Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Understanding food allergies and intolerances. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/diet-medications/food-allergies-fructose-intolerance-and-lactose-intolerance. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Ochoa B, et al. Diarrheal diseases — acute and chronic. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/diarrhea-acute-and-chronic/#tabs2. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Nutrition therapy for diarrhea. ADA Nutrition Care Manual. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Sartor RB. Probiotics for gastrointestinal diseases. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Wash your hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HandWashing. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Basics for handling food safely. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Basics_for_Handling_Food_Safely/index.asp. Accessed May 7, 2013.