• Living With Diarrhea

    Managing Your Symptoms

    Treatment of diarrhea involves replacing lost fluid and electrolytes. Depending on the cause of the problem, a person might also need medication to stop the diarrhea or treat an infection. Children may need an oral rehydration solution to replace lost fluid and electrolytes. 

    Trying a bulking agent such as psyllium may be helpful. Bulking agents help hold water in the stool and add bulk which may slow your bowel movements down. Don't be confused by labels that say bulking agents are for constipation. These products can be helpful for both diarrhea and constipation. 

    You may also try to avoid foods that have a tendency to aggravate diarrhea. These include caffeine, milk products, and foods that are greasy, high in fiber and very sweet. If the diarrhea occurs intermittently, keep a diary. Monitory the foods you eat and the reactions your body has may help identify a food intolerance or celiac disease which would explain your diarrhea and allow you to make a decision to change your diet. 

    It is important to remember that if you have diarrhea for several days, develop a new onset diarrhea, fever or severe abdominal pain, you should see your doctor.

    Treatment Options

    In most cases of diarrhea, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. 

    Medicines that stop diarrhea may be helpful, but they are unlikely to resolve the problem if your diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection or parasite. In these cases, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. If a viral infection is the cause of your diarrhea, you may or may not be treated with medication depending on the severity of the infection and type of virus. 

    Fluid and electrolytes that help our bodies function are lost when we have diarrhea. These need to be replaced quickly, especially with children. Water does not contain electrolytes. Broth and soups that contain sodium, and fruit juices, soft fruits, or vegetables that contain potassium, help restore electrolyte levels. Over-the-counter rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, Ceralyte, and Infalyte are also good electrolyte sources.



Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health