Diarrhea is a condition that everyone may experience and probably anyone has already got at least one episode of watery stools. It occurs when your digestive system stops functioning correctly and you start having loose poop several times per day. Diarrhea is not usually a severe condition although the person having is wanting to get rid of it fast because it is not feeling good for certain. This malfunction typically heals within three to four days or maybe earlier, depending on its severity. It is quite common, and many individuals face it at least twice a year. A lot of people are searching for home remedies for diarrhea because they are naturally homemade and easy to put into practice. But before trying to use any of these remedies let’s take a look at the symptoms, causes and why it is appropriate or not to follow these DIY recipes for your condition.
If you have it, it is possible to feel one or more of the following symptoms:
- an imperative need to go to the toilet;
- watery, loose or very thin stools;
- bloating and gas;
- nausea and even vomiting.
If you lose weight during the diarrhea episode, find undigested pieces of food, mucus or even blood in your poop, or you have a fever, it means that your condition is more severe than you think. If your fever lasts for more than 24 hours or you have acute pain in your abdomen or rectum, you should call your doctor. Do it also if you are back from some country in which you may have contacted an unusual virus.
Other signs that should take you to the doctor are darker urine, headaches, elevated heart rate, a smaller quantity of urine in young children (also check out your baby’s diaper), dry skin, fuzziness, and irritation. All these mean that you are dehydrated. Vomiting can prevent you from retaining the liquids, and you might need a perfusion to feel better.
Diarrhea may have multiple causes, such as:
- prolonged antibiotic treatment;
- certain foods that are not fit for the digestive system;
- ulcerative colitis;
- too much alcohol intake;
- infection due to some type of bacteria (in cases of food poisoning);
- medication abuse;
- Chron disease;
- malabsorption (poor absorption of nutrients);
- too many laxatives.
If you run on a regular basis, you may even have what is called “runner’s diarrhea.”
Traveler’s diarrhea results from the improper way of handling the food. If people who serve or cook the food don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet, they will pass the infection to the individual who eats the food. The following areas are considered with the highest risk of getting sick: Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
In case your diarrhea is not severe, you have the option of using some home remedies that will help you get back on track real soon.
How to Get Rid of Diarrhea Following the Next 12 Natural Remedies
1. Rice Water
This diarrhea home treatment with rice water is used for replacing electrolytes lost in an acute episode. Studies say that it is even more efficient than an electrolyte solution. A study from 1981 published in the “Lancet” showed that this homemade remedy is very effective in reducing the number of stools and bowel movements, especially in babies. To prepare rice water you must have two inexpensive ingredients:
- ½ cup of brown rice
- 3 cups of water
- Place the two ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Let it get to the boiling point over medium heat.
- Reduce the temperature to low and boil for about 45 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and let it cool a little bit.
- Strain the rice using a cheesecloth or a colander and pour the water into a clean glass bottle.
- Enjoy this drink throughout the day.
- Keep it in the refrigerator and prepare a new batch for the next day.
- Remember the ratio: one cup of brown rice to six cups of water.
Friendly bacteria live in our digestive system, in the intestines. Millions of tiny organisms, they have the role of fighting against any outside germs or viruses and keeping the balance inside our bodies. During a diarrhea episode, the bowel movements throw the good bacteria away, and the digestive tract loses its equilibrium. Probiotics are helpful and friendly bacteria as well. They are also called yeasts. Ingesting them will help you feel better and will restore the right order in your intestines.
Yogurt contains a lot of natural probiotics. Producers add healthy bacteria to milk to obtain the delicious drink. When you buy it, pay attention to the ingredients: if you see anything like powder milk, sugar or some other unwanted elements, search for another one. A safe and healthy product should only contain milk and yeasts. Drink at least two cups of yogurt per day for diarrhea.
Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) is another yeast beneficial for restoring your internal balance. S. boulardii is not a bacterium, but it has the same action. It especially works well if the individual suffers from traveler’s diarrhea or if the condition is caused by antibiotic intake. Even scientific studies suggest that it can chase away any germ and restore the proper nutrients absorption.
3. Herbal Teas for Diarrhea
Herbs are always of great help when it comes to healing certain conditions. In the case of diarrhea, they work perfectly because a warm infusion will bring the therapeutic benefits and also keep you hydrated which is imperative in this situation.
The antibacterial properties of the peppermint leaves make them an excellent cure for diarrhea. This herb stimulates the digestive system by increasing the number of digestive fluids. To prepare a peppermint tea for this condiotion, you will only need one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves and one cup of boiling water.
- Pour the water over the plant and steep for three to five minutes.
- Strain the leaves and let the tea cool down.
- You should drink three cups each day to soothe your upset stomach.
This tiny flower with a delicate scent has a long history in treating digestive problems, and that includes diarrhea too. Ancient Egyptians thought it was some panacea, having the power to handle all sorts of conditions. Recent research shows that they were right, pointing out the healing powers of chamomile.
- Boil a cup of water and add one teaspoon of dried flowers.
- Set aside to infuse for two to three minutes and strain the plant through a fine sieve.
- Enjoy two or three cups of tea per day.
- You may even combine the chamomile with peppermint to get best results.
3.3. Berry Leaves
Blackberry and raspberry leaves have an astringent effect which means that they can reduce the amount of water and mucus from the intestines by drying the cell membranes. To prepare tea for diarrhea with berries, you will need:
- 1 teaspoon of blackberry or raspberry leaves (or a combination of those)
- 1 cup of water
- Let the water boil and add it to the herbs.
- Infuse the plant for up to ten minutes, and then strain the liquid.
- Drink half of cup every hour until things get better.
4. Black Pepper
If your diarrhea was caused by drinking unfiltered water, you have the option of trying black pepper and kelp tea. These two plants have an antiviral and antibacterial effect, and they also calm the cramps and bloating.
- 1 ½ teaspoon of kelp powder
- 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 cups of water
Place all the pepper ingredients in a larger recipient with two cups of water, mix them well and drink this solution to get rid of diarrhea.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
You have for certain noticed by now that ACV can be used to treat a broad range of ailments. Its antibacterial value is a plus in fighting against the germs that lead to diarrhea. It also contains a considerable amount of pectin which acts as bandage for the lining of the colon, extremely irritated in this case.
- 1 glass of pure water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Add the ACV to the water, stir well and drink.
- You may have three glasses of apple cider vinegar per day to get rid of diarrhea. Don’t drink more.
6. Activated Charcoal
Just like most of the natural remedies, people have used activated charcoal since time immemorial for a lot of ailments. For example, Pliny and Hippocrates turned to it for treating epilepsy or chlorosis, ancient Egyptians utilized it for wounds, and Indians to purify water. But native Americans found out that it can treat stomach problems. Nowadays it is still used in the hospitals in different cases of poisoning or overdose. We have a logical explanation for this: activated charcoal acts as an absorbing agent, taking away all the contaminating substances or bacteria that caused diarrhea.
- Watch out for the recommended dosage on the prescription. If the age of your child is under three, it would be better to talk to your doctor before administering charcoal.
- Don’t use it for a long time as it may absorb vitamins and minerals from your diet.
7. Coconut Water
In the case of this condition, our bodies may suffer from dehydration and lose its electrolytes. We can replace these compounds with the help of coconut water which is rich in potassium (250 mg in three ounces of water) and sodium (105 mg in three ounces of water). Coconut water can help in treating diarrhea because of its beautiful properties. First of all, it is a natural remedy and has no side effects. Besides the fact that it keeps the body well hydrated, it also stimulates the immune system making it robust and capable of fighting against bacteria and viruses.
By keeping the pH of body fluids in balance, coconut water also increases the blood circulation. The compounds found in this water are full of electrolytes and other nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, amino acids, fatty acids, magnesium, minerals, and enzymes. It is also suitable for a low sodium diet, but it contains a lot of natural sugars.
- You will need two glasses of water per day to prevent or cure your condition.
- You can also mix it with some orange juice and a pinch of salt to change its taste.
Caution: drinking too much coconut water may have the opposite effect and cause this condition. The main compound of coconut water is sugar, and some individuals are more sensitive to it than others. If they cannot properly digest fructose, they will have trouble in absorbing the water thus being prone to diarrhea. They will face the following process: if some people can’t absorb fructose, it will go to the colon intact, and only then gut bacteria will break it down into fatty acids. These acids bring a lot of nasty symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, cramps, gas and eventually diarrhea.
8. Essential Oils Mix for Diarrhea
Essential oils are potent extracts used in aromatherapy to cure certain diseases. You can prepare your massage oil to alleviate the symptoms present in a diarrhea episode.
Why to use the next essential oils for diarrhea:
- Just like peppermint tea, peppermint essential oil is excellent in rebalancing the stomach flora, and it also has an invigorating effect. Due to its mild analgesic and antispasmodic effect, local use will soothe the pain and cramps.
- Lavender oil has a calming effect, and it has been used for centuries to relax the body and mind.
- Chamomile oil is known for its antibacterial and antifungal effect, as well as for its mild and relaxing action.
- Eucalyptus oil has nourishing properties, and herbalists often use it for its invigorating impact. It will comfort the abdomen and heal diarrhea.
- Geranium oil is a common remedy for an upset stomach and also acts as a mild and relaxing sedative. It can decrease inflammation and soothe the ugly sensations associated with your ailment.
- 3 ounces of coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 drops (each) of lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, chamomile, geranium essential oils
- Mix all the ingredients and massage the abdomen with this mixture. Use small gentle, circular clockwise moves around your belly button.
- Repeat the process two times each day, until you get better.
- Store the remaining massage oil in a cool, dry place up to one week.
9. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated beverage whose main compound is ginger. This plant contains a high amount of gingerols, extremely useful in healing an upset stomach. The carbonation in this drink is also good for treating the diarrhea cramps symptoms. The original recipe of ginger ale contained the ginger root. However, it is possible that nowadays the beverage will only contain artificial flavorings and sweeteners. When choosing it, pay attention to the ingredients list to buy a natural drink.
Specialists recommend ginger ale in association with other liquids like fruit juices or water to keep your body hydrated during a watery episode. If the ale you purchased contains real ginger, you will benefit from the antiemetic and antispasmodic properties which will calm and relax your stomach.
Pumpkin contains soluble fibers, which means that it takes up most of the water from the intestines and creates a gelatinous substance that makes the digestive process slow down. This type of fibers is vital for a complete diarrhea treatment because it will harden the stools and make them more solid.
Another great compound in pumpkin is potassium. It is also crucial for this treatment, because in the case of frequent watery stools you may experience hypokalemia (excessive potassium loss) leading to cramps, fatigue, and weakness. Severe cases may even end up with death. Canned pumpkin will bring back the lost potassium because it contains 505 mg in just one cup.
11. Baking Soda
This kitchen ingredient can rebalance the intestinal flora and bring back the peace in your stomach. You can prepare a solution rich in electrolytes which will replenish the substances you lost together with diarrhea’s watery stools.
- 1 tall glass of water
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Combine these ingredients and drink to gain back the lost nutrients.
12. BRAT Diet for Diarrhea
It is probably the most known diet for diarrhea, and it stands for Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These four foods are easy to digest, and Pediatricians used to recommend it. Today, American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to let the kids follow a regular, healthy diet and drink a lot of fluids for at least one day after they have the first diarrheic bowel movement.
However, the foods in BRAT diet can help un upset stomach get back on track, by calming the irritation and reducing the number of stools. They are bland foods, and the decreased level of insoluble fibers makes them easier to digest. On the other hand, they contain more soluble fiber which will firm up the stools and absorb the water from the intestines. However, only four foods cannot bring all the vitamins and minerals the body needs, so it is important not to follow this diet for an extended period.
When you are facing an acute diarrhea episode associated with other symptoms such as vomiting and severe pain, you may not be able to ingest anything. BRAT diet can make the transition from liquid intake to solid food, but start following it only after you feel a little better.
You may call banana “the perfect fruit” for diarrhea. It has a pleasant sweet taste, is full of vitamins and minerals, you may find it almost any time of the year, it offers you a lot of carbohydrates for energy, and the alimentary tract finds it very easy to digest. When you have diarrhea, you may turn to bananas for help with confidence. It will replace the amount of potassium lost with the watery stools and bring you back all the energy you lost.
Applesauce can be used for diarrhea because it contains pectin, a natural compound which will thicken the stools. It is always better to prepare the applesauce yourself: just blend some apples in a food processor. If you need to buy it, search for a natural one without sugar added. Sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of a stomach problem.
12.3. Rice & Toast
Rice and toast are also gentle to the stomach and contain a few insoluble fibers. Try to avoid foods high in fibers because they can be irritating and the digestion process is harder and slower. It is better to choose white rice and low fiber bread when you are sick and get back to your regular diet with whole grains when you are feeling better.
Foods to Avoid During a Diarrhea Episode
If you bring some inappropriate foods to your diet, you may only worsen your condition and make your diarrhea last for a week instead of two or three days.
Dairy – while yogurt can be beneficial due to its probiotics, other dairy products such as milk, cheese or butter may irritate your intestines. Avoid them until you feel better.
Fatty foods – except for the naturally fat foods (pork, avocado, etc.), we will also include here any fried foods or the ones accompanied by gravy.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners – sweeteners especially may have a laxative effect which will certainly make you feel worse and poop more often.
Caffeine and alcohol – these two drinks have a diuretic effect which can lead to dehydration due to fluid loss.
“Gas” foods – this category includes beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Also, significant amounts of fresh fruits and veggies may cause bloating so you would better avoid them until you get healthy again.
Together with the stool, people lose a lot of water and essential nutrients. Therefore, it is necessary to drink a lot of clear fluids to stay hydrated. Go for pure water, apple juice or clear broth. Do not drink a large amount of liquid at once; it is better to use small sips making it easier for the body to absorb them. Pay attention to the temperature of the fluids, hot or cold may irritate your stomach much more. You may replenish the amount of electrolytes used with the help of over-the-counter electrolyte drinks for children or athletes, but make sure to check with your physician first especially in the case of kids. And also consider coconut water as a diarrhea relief.
If you experience ugly diarrhea symptoms more than ten days and using natural remedies won’t help, make sure to contact your doctor.
PS: Maybe you want to read our list of 17 Constipation Remedies.