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  • Jan Clementson

Dealing With Diarrhoea: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Remedies For Relief

Introduction


Diarrhoea, characterised by frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements, is a common digestive ailment that can disrupt daily life. Whilst it can be a temporary inconvenience, it is essential to understand its symptoms, causes, and natural remedies for effective management. This blog will delve into the symptoms and causes of diarrhea and explore how you can treat it naturally through diet and lifestyle adjustments.


A woman doubled up in pain holding her stomach
Gut pains

Symptoms


There can be one or more symptoms associated with diarrhoea. Here are the common ones:

  1. Frequent Bowel Movements - Diarrhoea is defined by an increased frequency of bowel movements. In most cases, this means having three or more loose or watery stools per day.

  2. Loose Stools - The consistency of the stool changes, becoming more liquid or watery than usual.

  3. Abdominal Cramps - Many people experience abdominal discomfort, pain, or cramps.

  4. Urgency - Diarrhoea often comes with a sudden and intense urge to use the restroom.

  5. Digestion - Loss of appetite, trouble eating enough, or nausea and vomiting can also occur.

  6. Dehydration - Frequent diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, which may cause symptoms like dry mouth, dark urine, and dizziness.


Common Causes


Several factors can trigger diarrhoea. It's important to understand which factors might be causing your symptoms.

  1. Infections - Bacterial, viral, parasitic, yeast or mould infections (often contracted from contaminated food or water or from the environment) can lead to diarrhoea. Common culprits include E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus; although there are many other pathogens that can cause this. Sudden onset diarrhoea can often result from an infection.

  2. Food Sensitivities - For some, food intolerances or sensitivities (such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity) can cause problems. Common problem foods are cow's milk, wheat, eggs, yeast and peanuts. However, food sensitivities can be very individualised and are reflective of the digestive system and the gut being out of balance.

  3. Poor Digestion - Many people struggle with digesting food properly. Eating too quickly. too much greasy food and excessive caffeine and alcohol intake can all compromise digestion.

  4. Small Intestinal Bacteral Overgrowth (SIBO) - Bacteria in your small intestine (which should be free from bacteria) impairs digestion and absorption of nutrients and can lead to diarrhoea.

  5. Chronic Gut Conditions - Such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, and celiac disease can contribute to chronic diarrhoea.

  6. Medications - Certain medications, especially antibiotics and acid reflux medications, can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and cause diarrhoea as a side effect.

  7. Stress and Anxiety - High levels of stress or anxiety can affect digestive and gut function, potentially leading to diarrhoea.


Natural Remedies

The key to stopping and preventing diarrhoea symptoms depends upon the underlying cause. By focusing on gut health, there are a number of natural remedies that can help to improve diarrhoea. Here are some effective approaches:

  1. Hydration - Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration due to fluid loss. Rehydrate by drinking clear fluids like water, herbal teas, or broths. Avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages, which can exacerbate dehydration.

  2. Electrolytes - These are charged minerals that help with hydration at the cellular level and are often lost along with the fluid loss with diarrhoea. Include more foods high in natural electrolytes. These include pink Himalayan salt, coconut water, celery, cucumber, citrus fruits, bell peppers and carrots.

  3. Avoid Trigger Foods - Common foods such as cow's milk, eggs, yeast, peanuts, wheat, processed fats and oils, sugar and artificial sweeteners, carbonated sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol.

  4. Eat Lightly and Choose Easy Digestible Foods - Simple foods such as fruit and vegetables are easily digested and provide water, electrolytes and soluble fibre that bulk up the stools. Cook or steam the vegetables and use fruit smoothies and soups for easier digestion.

  5. Probiotics - Probiotic-rich foods like coconut yogurt or kefir with live cultures; fermented vegetables such as saurkraut and kimchi; or probiotic supplements; can help restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, potentially reducing the duration of diarrhea.

  6. Ginger - The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can ease nausea and diarrhea. Use as a tea or add it to your meals, either fresh or dried.

  7. Herbal Teas - Peppermint and chamomile teas are known for their soothingand anti-spasmodic properties and may help alleviate digestive discomfort associated with diarrhoea.

  8. Idnetify Specific Foods - Identify and avoid foods that trigger your symptoms. If you suspect food intolerances or sensitivities, consider an elimination diet to pinpoint the culprits or take a food intolerance test such as the YorkTest Premium Food Intolerance Test. Use code PENERGY for a 5% discount.

  9. Reintroduce Foods Gradually - Once the diarrhoea subsides, gradually reintroduce normal foods into your diet. Start with easily digestible options and monitor your body's response.

  10. Hygiene - Prevent infectious diarrhoea by practicing good hand hygiene, cooking food thoroughly, and avoiding raw or undercooked foods.

  11. Rest and Manage Stress - Adequate rest and stress management techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises can support overall digestive health.

  12. Pathogen Testing - If none of these strategies help, it's worth getting tested for potential gut pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, worms, yeast and mould. The NHS does not generally offer such comprehensive testing. However, you can have this done privately via a home stool test. Boundless Energy can help you with such tests if needed.


Conclusion

Diarrhoea can be a discomforting experience, but with the right approach, it can often be managed naturally. Once you understand the main symptoms and causes you can apply different natural approaches to alleviate symptoms and promote a healthier digestive system. However, if the diarrhoea persists, worsens, or is accompanied by severe symptoms, consult a healthcare practitioner as it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.


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