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Common Causes of Diarrhea and Natural Solutions to Feel Better

No one likes to talk about diarrhea, but it’s an incredibly common natural reaction in the body that nearly everyone has experienced. The common symptoms of diarrhea are frequent passing of bowels, watery stools, and abdominal pain. But many different things can cause these symptoms to occur in the body and cause tremendous discomfort and embarrassment. So today, we’re looking at the best natural ways to relieve diarrhea symptoms and start feeling like your normal self again.

Photo credit: GorillaSushi via Flickr

What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the body’s natural response to being dehydrated or dealing with toxins or an infection in the gastrointestinal system. Bacteria, food allergies, contaminated water, food poisoning, overeating, and even stress can cause the onset of diarrhea symptoms. Certain conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, also commonly include diarrhea as one of their symptoms.

Soothing Foods for Diarrhea

Certain foods can make diarrhea better or worse, so it’s important to know which ones are best to eat. When you have diarrhea, eat small meals throughout the day and stick to simple foods that are easily digestible. Fruits and vegetables are always healthy options, but consider blending them into smoothies or juices to help them go down a bit easier. Whole grains and rice are also simple foods that digest easily and add a little more fiber to your diet. Flaxseed oil is often recommended to help reduce the duration of diarrhea, and raw honey and ginger added to tea may help soothe the stomach as well.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

Those were all good foods to eat when your stomach and bowels are upset, but what about foods to avoid? Conventional dairy products often make diarrhea worse, so you might want to avoid cow milk and cheese. However, raw and cultured dairy products, like yogurt, are high in probiotics and actually support healthy functioning of the bowels. Stay away from processed fatty foods, fried foods, and processed meats while you have diarrhea. Artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and alcohol can make the symptoms worse as well.

The Importance of Hydration

In addition to dietary changes, it’s also very important to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea. This may seem counter-intuitive when you have watery stools, but your body actually needs more water because of all the fluids it is losing with your waste. To replenish your body with water, aim to drink about 16 ounces of water per hour. You can also switch up your liquid intake with hydrating coconut water with natural electrolytes and fresh vegetable juice.

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Supplements for Diarrhea

Certain types of supplements promote overall gastrointestinal health and may be able to help your body recover more quickly from diarrhea. Probiotics are beneficial because they replenish the gut with healthy bacteria to balance out harmful bacteria that may be causing your symptoms. Other suggestions are to take digestive enzymes before meals and glutamine powder, which is an amino acid that may help repair a malfunctioning digestive tract.

Other Natural Remedies for Diarrhea

Apple cider vinegar is another home remedy that some people swear by to fight diarrhea. Pectin and cooked green bananas are other popular remedies that have been studied and shown to be effective. Meanwhile, peppermint essential oil is known to help soothe the digestive tract.

If your diarrhea does not subside with these remedies within 72 hours, a more serious issue may be causing your diarrhea that needs to be looked at by a professional. Absorbents, anti-motility medications, and bismuth compounds may be recommended to bring you further relief. Chronic diarrhea has many different causes, so it’s important to get to the root of the problem in addition to making those trips to the bathroom more manageable.

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