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What to Eat When You Have Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an unpleasant condition that happens to everyone from time to time. Depending on the underlying cause, you may be developing diarrhea more frequently or only on the rare occasion.

But diarrhea can be a serious problem if left untreated. Diarrhea can cause serious dehydration and depletion of electrolytes and minerals from the body. To help ease, prevent and stop the condition, there are certain foods considered time-tested home remedies to eat when you have diarrhea. These foods and food combinations also help to restore hydration to the body when you have diarrhea.

About Diarrhea

Diarrhea, or loose, watery stools, are common and can occur for a number of reasons to anyone. Diarrhea typically lasts a day or two but can sometimes last longer. Virtually anyone can get diarrhea, with average adults getting severe diarrhea once per year and children getting it more frequently.1,2

Diarrhea is classified as either be acute or chronic depending on the cause. Acute diarrhea lasts only a few days. Chronic diarrhea lasts 4 or more weeks with symptoms possibly coming and going.2

Some of the possible causes of diarrhea include:1

  • Food allergies
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Taking certain medications
  • Consuming fructose and artificial sweeteners
  • Undergoing abdominal surgery
  • Menstruation


In most cases, diarrhea isn’t severe. However, if it does persist and is accompanied by other complications, it can indicate a more serious condition. If you’re experiencing chronic, recurring diarrhea, then it’s possible there is an underlying digestive condition such as:1

  • Parasitic, viral or bacterial infection
  • Consuming contaminated food and water in developing countries (traveler’s diarrhea)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease


Diarrhea is typically accompanied by more frequent bowel movements as well as the following symptoms:1

  • Stomach cramps and pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Blood in stool
  • Urgent bowel movements


Because diarrhea is loose, watery stools, it causes the body to deplete electrolytes. That’s why diarrhea is almost always accompanied by dehydration and possibly fatigue. When treating diarrhea, it’s important to restore hydration and electrolytes to the body so you don’t become severely dehydrated.

Top Foods to Eat for Diarrhea

Diarrhea typically remedies itself on its own over time. However, there are certain foods you can eat to help speed up recovery and alleviate diarrhea sooner. Additionally, many of these remedies can help to prevent diarrhea in the first place.

Try these top foods to eat when you have diarrhea:

Salt and Sugar - The combination of salt and sugar is a traditional home remedy for rehydration and curing diarrhea.

Baking Soda and Lemon - The combination of baking soda and lemon treats diarrhea by countering loose stools and killing off bacteria causing diarrhea.

Pickle Juice - Pickle juice is a traditional home remedy given to children with diarrhea. The combination of sodium and vinegar in pickle juice helps to rehydrate and kill bacteria causing diarrhea.

Flaxseed Oil - Flaxseed oil is a beneficial remedy for digestive problems and can help alleviate loose stools.

Apple - The pectin content in apples helps to bulk up stools and prevent and stop diarrhea.

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diarrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352241
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/diarrhea.html