Diarrhea: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Diarrhea: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Acute and chronic diarrhea, for different causes different approaches are needed. The important thing is to maintain the body’s hydration and abandon some habits that are harmful to the intestine.

diarrhea

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Diarrhea  is a symptom characterized by  frequent bowel movements and   liquid  stools . Caused by various diseases including inflammation and celiac disease, diarrhea can also become chronic. Let’s find out better how to cure it.

  • Types of diarrhea
  • Symptoms of diarrhea
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • What to do in case of diarrhea
  • How to prevent diarrhea
  • Diarrhea and dysentery: what are the differences?
  • Nutrition and dysentery
  • Foods to avoid against diarrhea
  • Recommended foods for diarrhea
  • Herbal remedies for diarrhea
  • Bach flowers for diarrhea
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diarrhea
  • Aromatherapy and diarrhea
  • Homeopathy and diarrhea
  • Exercises to combat diarrhea

Types of diarrhea

Diarrhea is defined as the emission of watery, semi-formed or completely liquid stools several times a day. According to the duration it is distinguished into acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea.

  • Acute diarrhea : it is defined as such when it lasts less than 2 weeks and resolves itself. In 70% of cases it is due to an infectious process (bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi) and in the remaining 30% to intolerances. In fact, sometimes sudden discharges of diarrhea occur after eating: some foods are poorly synthesized by the body because they are not tolerated, or the meal was accompanied by too cold drinks. Generally these are circumstantial manifestations, without aftermath, which have somehow purified the organism of toxic substances. 
  • Chronic diarrhea : it persists for a period of more than two weeks, continuously or intermittently: the possible causes are various, but it is often of inflammatory origin (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease). Quite frequent, in people who travel to hot countries, is the so-called ” traveler’s diarrhea ” which is mainly due to a toxin produced by coliform bacteria present in water or raw food; more rarely it is caused by protozoa such as amoeba and giardia. 

Symptoms of diarrhea

It can manifest itself as an isolated phenomenon or accompany other ailments such as abdominal pain , fever, vomiting , weight loss. Acute diarrhea is defined as that which arises suddenly and does not last long: in 70% of cases it is due to an infectious process (bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi) and in the remaining 30% to intolerances.

Causes of diarrhea

Diarrhea can have multiple causes . Acute attacks are due in most cases to the ingestion of food and drink contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. Sometimes they can also be caused by overuse of food or a reaction to drugs.

In cases where, however, diarrhea becomes chronic, the causes are to be found in other pathologies:

  • Food intolerance
  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intestinal inflammations
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease

Food intolerances among the causes of diarrhea: how to treat them

Diagnosis of diarrhea

To understand the exact nature of diarrhea, various tests are possible: stool examination, instrumental investigation (colonoscopy, microscopic analysis of fragments of the colon mucosa), radiological examination, ultrasound and CT scan .

What to do in case of diarrhea

Often in the case of diarrhea we are frightened and seek buffer remedies. Certainly episodes of diarrhea can limit freedom of movement and create some impediments, so our culture leads us to find a cure for the symptom. Diarrhea should also be looked at from a psychosomatic point of view : a purification carried out by the body, a non-acceptance of a poorly digested condition transmuted by the mind.

This is why if it is an acute diarrhea, with a limited duration, it would be advisable to “indulge” it, not block it and dedicate time to the natural care of our body. 

In case of diarrhea it is always recommended to drink plenty of non-carbonated water at room temperature, to be sipped frequently, to rehydrate the intestine. It is better to avoid sugary drinks, too hot or too cold, because they would affect the gastric heat exchanges, with dispersion of energy and irritation of the villi. 

Discharges of watery diarrhea, or diarrhea in the morning are episodes that can affect the planning of the day and limit the freedom of movement, but sipping water remains the simplest advice to implement.

In case of persistent diarrhea  that does not go away, it is necessary to consult the doctor to investigate the cause and prepare the most correct treatment, also to limit dehydration and asthenia .

How to prevent diarrhea

Preventing diarrhea can be useful if you have to travel to exotic countries, are about to prepare a treatment based on antibiotics and in the change of season .

Prebiotics and probiotics are the simplest and most effective tools to structure the organism, strengthen the microbiota, support the immune system and enrich the intestine and its flora with so-called good bacterial loads. 

Probiotics help slow down diarrheal discharges, give stool consistency and rebalance intestinal transit. Probiotics are also suitable for diarrhea problems during pregnancy : they help support the body and protect it from intestinal infections or inflammation.
There are probiotic formulations suitable for combating diarrhea in children , especially if it is parasitic in nature.

Diarrhea and dysentery: what are the differences?

The two terms are sometimes considered synonymous. In reality, dysentery is a form of degenerated diarrhea which, in addition to irregular, semi-liquid or liquid defecation, presents complications with spasms, loss of blood, mucus and sometimes pus in the stool. It requires a doctor’s intervention and a timely diagnostic search.
Feeding to cure of diarrhea

When not caused by a problem in the digestive tract, diarrhea indicates how the body wants to get rid of an unwanted substance quickly . 

For each type of diarrhea some rules are useful:

  • Toast the bread regularly;
  • Avoid sweets;
  • Do not consume milk of any kind, to be replaced with lemon tea;
  • Do not drink large quantities of liquids but take small frequent sips.

After the first discharges, it is possible to intervene to slow down the symptoms with some nutritional associations:

  • Rice  with egg yolk, Parmesan cheese and a few drops of lemon;
  • Boiled rice seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of lemon and a   cooked apple . Both rice and cooked apple are anti-diarrheal foods;
  • Arrabbiata rice, 50g of raw ham and a cooked apple;
  • Water, sugar and salt: dissolve one teaspoon of sea salt with two teaspoons of sugar in 100ml of water at room temperature

In the presence of episodes of diarrhea, a possible intestinal parasitosis should be checked .

Foods to avoid against diarrhea

In case of chronic diarrhea, nutrition is one of the first aspects to be treated and recalibrated. It is advisable to limit or even eliminate some foods such as green leafy vegetables , cauliflower , corn , beans and peas , plums , which would create fermentation phenomena and make the stools too soft. Milk, dairy products and caffeine in general must also be removed from one’s diet and totally banish fried foods.

Recommended foods for diarrhea

When the intestine struggles to select and synthesize nutrients, it is advisable to modify the diet by favoring the intake of some foods that can integrate essential mineral salts, absorb excess fluids. Boiled potatoes and bananas help to take sodium and potassium quotas , rice, pasta, white bread are supportive to make the stool consistent, carrots and apples rich in pectin help the absorption processes. Among the foods indicated against diarrhea there is also rose apple thanks to the antibiotic capacity given by particular tannins and phytosterols.

You can learn more about your diet to combat diarrhea

Herbal remedies for diarrhea

To rebalance intestinal function, the following are used :

  • Blueberry : Vaccinium myrtillus ) the leaves of the blueberry, as well as exert an antidiarrheal and astringent action, have antiseptic properties, useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections (staphylococci and coli);
  • Potentilla: Potentilla Tormentilla ) has always been known for its astringent, anti-inflammatory, healing, bacteriostatic and antiviral activity, for this reason it is used against all forms of diarrhea and for inflammation of the mucous membranes, especially intestinal, in the presence of enteritis chronic or fermentative gastroenteritis;
  • Alchemilla: ( Alchemilla vulgaris ) the leaves have astringent and antiseptic properties, which justify their use in the treatment of dysentery, hemorrhoids, fistulas, leucorrhoea, intestinal ulcers and intestinal neurosis.

Among the bud extractives, that of blueberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus ) reconfirms the properties of the phytotherapeutic tradition, but with a wider and more global range of action than just berries or leaves alone. 

For this reason it is effectively used in the treatment of intestinal colibacillosis; infantile enteritis; diarrhea or dysentery of infectious origin; intestinal dysbiosis together with Walnut ( Juglans regia ) for diarrhea secondary to antibiotic therapy; meteorism and excessive intestinal fermentation. Cranberry ( Vaccinium vitis idaea ) as a regulator of intestinal motility is also prescribed in case of both diarrhea and constipation .Bach flowers for diarrhea

Physical pathologies such as diarrhea (especially if of infectious origin or due to food poisoning) are not treated directly with flower therapy. This is because Bach flowers work on the emotional state, which leads to the manifestation of a certain disorder .

However, in the case of diarrheal discharges due to irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, the inability to reveal our torments and bitterness to others, in a situation perceived as “toxic”, can lead to the onset of this disorder. .

Personalized blends will need to take these similarities into account to change character attitudes or negative emotions, so as to promote physical healing.

Traditional Chinese medicine for diarrhea

Diarrhea, in traditional Chinese medicine , is due to a disorder affecting the Spleen. Specifically, acute diarrhea depends on external pathogens such as cold-damp or food or humidity-heat; chronic diarrhea is due to a deficit in the stomach and spleen.

For acute diarrhea, therapy works on points such as:

  • TIAN SHU  (2 cun to the side of the navel), regulates the circulation of energy in the intestines;
  • ZU SAN LI  (under the lower edge of the patella, next to the anterior tibial crest), tones the Spleen and Stomach;
  • NEI TING  (0.5 cun behind the edge of the interdigital membrane, between the 2nd and 3rd toes), regulates cardial qi, blocks pain.

For chronic diarrhea, the points to be treated are:

  • PI SHU  (  Shu point  of the back of the Spleen, located 1.5 cun to the side of the spinous process of the IX thoracic vertebra), mobilizes the qi of the Spleen;
  • TAI BAI  (on the medial side of the big toe below the metatarsophalangeal joint) dissolves and eliminates Heat and Moisture.

Aromatherapy for diarrhea

All essential oils have broad spectrum antibacterial properties , but those most suitable for diarrhea carry out a direct antibiotic action on the microorganisms that attack the intestinal system and cause this disorder. The internal use of these essences is possible, but with due caution, and is carried out in the dose of 2 drops in a teaspoon of honey. 

  • Basil essential oil : it is used in case of diarrhea, to restore the optimal microbiological and physiological conditions of the bacterial flora; and to protect it from acid fermentation or from infectious attacks by Gram fungi, yeasts and enterobacteria; 
  • Cinnamon essential oil : its internal intake is indicated in case of fermentative enterocolitis and diarrhea caused by intestinal infections and parasites. For this property it was formerly used to preserve meat, because it blocked the process of putrefaction; while the Egyptians used it during the mummification process; 
  • Mint essential oil : has a stomachic, carminative, cholagogue and antispasmodic action. It is useful in case of meteorism, flatulence, indigestion, colitis, diarrhea, spasms, dyspepsia and almost all disorders related to the digestive system; 
  • Ginger essential oil : balances and stimulates digestive functions, it is generally used as a carminative to eliminate intestinal gas, but has proved useful in case of diarrhea.

Homeopathy and diarrhea

The homeopathic treatment of diarrhea  acts on the variable characteristics of the disorder and related physical discomforts.

In case of diarrhea without fever the remedies:
Aloe 5 CH  (5 granules, after each discharge), especially in case of diarrhea that occurs immediately after eating or drinking;
Argentum nitricum 15 CH  (5 granules, as needed), in cases of agitated and hasty subjects;
Podophillum 9 CH  (5 granules to the rhythm of the discharges), in the case of summer diarrhea from the abuse of fresh fruit.In case of diarrhea with fever:
Arsenicum Album 15 CH  (5 granules, after each discharge), especially if the diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting and coldness;
Chamomilla 15 CH  (5 granules, after each discharge), for the diarrhea that occurs in the child following the eruption of the teeth.

Exercises for diarrhea

The possible causes are various, but diarrhea is often of inflammatory origin (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease). 

Quite frequent, in people who travel to hot countries, is the so-called “ traveler’s diarrhea ”  which is mainly due to a toxin produced by coliform bacteria present in water or raw food. 

At the level of psychosomatic medicine , diarrhea, like constipation, is linked to the emotional experience of the individual. By virtue of the close link that exists between body and psyche, we can affirm that the defecatory function is connected to the sensation of success achieved, of donation or aggression. Excrement is linked to the concept of possession that crosses each person’s emotional development in various ways.

Beyond this value that affects the manifestation of the disorder in a non-episodic but rather frequent way, cases of diarrhea following intense physical exertion are not rare . 

The reasons could be various: from a situation of general stress / anxiety amplified by sports commitment, to problems related to nutrition, to problems related to sweating and possible “cooling” of the abdomen. In any case, it is good to identify the cause with the help of a doctor. 

When you are affected by diarrheal disorder, it is good to give the body periods of rest and  moderate physical activity  (walks and sports where too much physical effort is not required). 

In any case it is necessary to drink a lot. But let’s remember, especially after an activity session in the hot season, let’s not give in to the temptation to drink iced and carbonated drinks, which would have effects on the intestine.

See also
Intestinal-friendly herbal teas: natural remedies for diarrhea

More articles on diarrhea

>   The properties and benefits of a glass of water and lemon
>   Natural remedies against diarrhea in children
>   Antibiotics or probiotics: the dilemma of lactic ferments
>   Remedies for dysentery in children
>   Lactic Fermets: the friendly bacteria of children
>  The diet in case of diarrhea

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