Diarrhea is a natural reaction to dehydration, infection, recent antibiotic use, food sensitivity, or toxins that need to be expelled from the digestive system. Examples include certain types of bacteria, parasites, food allergies, or other microbes. Diarrhea is also a common type of gastrointestinal upset or infection. One of the risks associated with diarrhea is that it can make you even more dehydrated and ill if you’re already sick. This is because it causes frequent and excessive discharging of the bowels in the form of abnormally watery stools and stomach pains, and the body loses too much water and minerals, including electrolytes like sodium, too quickly. You have diarrhea when you have very loose or watery stools three or more times within a 24-hour period.
Although these symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant to deal with, diarrhea helps rapidly expel harmful substances out of your digestive tract before they have a chance to cause even more trouble or complications. Chronic diarrhea symptoms tend to come and go depending on other dietary and lifestyle factors. This includes the state of your immune system and the level of stress you’re dealing with.
There are several steps you can take to naturally treat diarrhea.
- Eat soothing foods that are easy to digest. The more food you consume, the harder your digestive organs have to work. Eating the betr Level 1 food list will help create a healthy intestinal microflora to help rebalance your digestive system. You likely won’t have too much of an appetite while you have diarrhea, so try to eat small amounts spread throughout the day. Level 1 or 2 (depending on which level you are on) fruits and veggies provide water, fiber and electrolytes. Try making a smoothie or sorbet with fruit, and lightly steaming veggies to make them easier to digest. Flaxseed oil has been shown to reduce the duration of diarrhea. This can easily be added to your smoothie.
- Stay Hydrated. Want to know how to stop diarrhea symptoms like dizziness or weakness that are tied to dehydration? Drinking enough water is critical when you’re losing so much in your stool. To keep dehydration symptoms from getting worse when you have diarrhea, try to drink 16 ounces of fluids about every hour. You can also get fluids through drinking bone broth which will additionally provide many nutrients you’re in need of (like amino acids and electrolytes). Herbal teas including ginger, peppermint, oat bark, licorice/fennel or pomegranate tea (non-caffeinated) may also help soothe your stomach. Alcohol, milk, soda, and other carbonated or caffeinated drinks should not be used for hydration, as they may make your symptoms worse.
- Get Enough Rest. Avoid too much exercise or strenuous physical activity when you’re dealing with diarrhea. Chances are you will feel weak and a bit run down and you might not be sleeping well while your symptoms persist. Give your body a chance to recover by getting enough sleep (8 hours per night or more), taking it easy, and trying to keep your stress levels down.
- Try These Supplements. Certain supplements can help improve overall gut and digestive health, allow you to process the foods and nutrients you’re consuming more easily, and soothe an upset stomach. We recommend trying some of the following:
Probiotics (50 billion units daily): Probiotics help fight infection and can help re-colonize the gut with healthy bacteria.
Digestive Enzymes (2 before each meal): These enzymes will help with nutrient absorption.
Aloe Vera Juice (1/2 cup taken about 3x daily): Aloe is healing to the lining of the digestive system and easy to break down.
It is important to recognize patterns of diarrhea symptoms as recurrent bouts may reveal an underlying condition. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects between 6–18% of people worldwide and is diagnosed by recurrent abdominal pain for at least 6 months, combined with weekly pain for 3 months as well as some combination of pain relieved by bowel movements and changes in frequency or form of bowel movements. If you have patterns and symptoms of IBS that interfere with your quality of life, be sure to visit your doctor.