Acute diarrhea may be treated at home. Diarrhea will generally subside in two
to three days without specific medical therapy.
Diarrhea Self-Care and Home Remedies for Adults and Children
5 Diarrhea Treatments for Adults
- Adults should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Replenishing water loss (due to diarrhea) is important. Avoid milk as it can make diarrhea worse. Sports beverages (for example, Gatorade or Powerade) can be beneficial because they replenish electrolytes in addition to providing hydration.
- If the affected person is able to eat, avoid greasy or fatty foods. Adults, infants, toddlers, and children should be encouraged to follow the "BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). The BRAT diet (diarrhea diet) is a combination of foods to eat to treat diarrhea. If diarrhea is accompanied by nausea, have the person suck on ice chips until the nausea stops. After the diarrhea subsides, avoid alcoholic beverages and spicy foods for two additional days.
- Individuals may be able to continue their usual activities if they are mildly ill with diarrhea; however, strenuous
exercise should be avoided because exercise increases the risk of dehydration.
- Pregnant women with diarrhea should make sure to rehydrate to avoid dehydration, and if a woman has diarrhea during
pregnancy she should should consult her doctor.
3 Diarrhea Treatments for Children
Dehydration in children and toddlers can be a great concern.
- Infants and toddlers pose special problems because of their increased risk of dehydration. They should be offered a bottle frequently. Solutions such as Pedialyte may be more appealing than water. These fluids also contain necessary electrolytes lost with diarrhea. Never use salt tablets as they may worsen diarrhea.
- Children with frequent stools, fever, or vomiting should stay at home and avoid school and day-care until these symptoms go away. This allows the child to rest and recover and prevents other children from being exposed to possible infection.
- As mentioned previously, infants, toddlers, and children should be encouraged to follow the "BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). The BRAT diet (diarrhea diet) is a combination of foods used for decades to treat diarrhea.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2015
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diarrhea: