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Diarrhea (cont.)

List of Natural and Home Remedies for Adults and Children for 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 patient 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.
  • If you are pregnant women and have diarrhea make sure to rehydrate to avoid dehydration, and consult your doctor.

Treatments for Toddlers and 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.

Are herbs safe to take for diarrhea?

  • Certain plant leaves contain tannins that are considered to be diarrhea remedies. Notably blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry leaves when taken as tea may help diarrhea.
  • Do not eat fresh blueberries because they may make the diarrhea worse.
  • If you're pregnant avoid high doses of tannins.
  • Chamomile tea may also act as a diarrhea remedy.

NOTE: If remedies involving homeopathy, herbs, dietary and nutritional supplements, acupressure, aromatherapy, and other alternative or complementary healing methods are used, be advised that these products and techniques have not been scientifically proven to treat, prevent, or cure any disease. Serious interactions with prescription and nonprescription medications (OTC) are always a possibility. Keep the doctor informed about every prescription medication, OTC medication, vitamins, and supplements an individual uses, and seek medical advice for any health concerns prior to taking any medication or remedy. It is recommended to keep a log of all medications and supplements you are taking; prescription, OTC, vitamins, supplements, and herbs, in your wallet or purse in case of emergency.

List of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

The use of anti-motility medications, although controversial, may help get rid of diarrhea. These drugs slow down the intestinal movement and stop diarrhea symptoms. These medications include loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, etc).

  • Such medications are not recommended for infants and children younger than 5 years of age.
  • In otherwise healthy adults who are not severely ill with diarrhea, loperamide is probably safe and is effective in decreasing the number of stools per day and the total duration of the diarrhea.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate is also useful and may be more effective than loperamide when vomiting accompanies the diarrhea.
  • Adults with other serious medical problems and those with severe diarrhea (high fever, abdominal pain, or bloody stool) should see a health-care professional before using either medication.

Electrolyte solutions are available to prevent salt deficiency.

  • Oral electrolyte solutions are available at grocery and drug stores (Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, Naturalyte Solution).
  • Follow label directions, which may specify 1 teaspoonful every 15 minutes. If the child retains the initial doses, increase the dose to 1 tablespoonful every 15 minutes until the diarrhea stops.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/10/2017
Medical Editor:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Diarrhea »

Acute diarrhea is defined as the abrupt onset of abnormally high fluid content in the stool (more than the normal value of approximately 10 mL/kg/d).

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