Diarrhea isn’t an illness itself, but rather a symptom of an illness or condition. Though it’s usually no real cause for alarm, it’s quite an uncomfortable and frustrating symptom to grapple with. You can work with your immune system to stop diarrhea in its tracks.
Read on to learn 3 great strategies to quickly nip diarrhea in the bud.
Charcoal and the 12-Hour Window
Doctors advise that we wait at least 12 hours after the onset of diarrhea in order to let the immune system try to do its job of eradicating the body of whatever infection or virus has invaded. Diarrhea is merely the body’s response to trying to quickly rid the body of contaminants and disease. As you are evacuating fluids and waste from the body, it’s your body’s hope that the germs will go out with it. We shouldn’t interfere with our own immune function here, hence the need for the 12-hour window.
After the initial 12 hours, if there is no noted improvement, one of the best reinforcements to fight diarrhea is to take 2 activated charcoal capsules per hour. This will likely give you a speedy reprieve, despite the immaterial, dark stools. Charcoal is very absorbent, to the point where it will likely sop up even other medications you may have taken. To make sure charcoal doesn’t interfere with other meds in this way, you should wait at least an hour before taking charcoal pills after taking other medications.
The BRATT Diet
Doctors recommend what is known as the BRATT diet in order to quell the symptoms of diarrhea, and the good thing is that the temporary “diet” works. BRATT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and tea. A weird mix, it seems, but together they get the job done. With the loss of fluids and nutrients that occurs with diarrhea, bananas are exactly what are required to restore potassium and sodium levels to normal.
Rice and toast are your sources for fiber, which helps to solidify your waste, as well as regulate bowel movements. Many over-the-counter diarrhea medications rely on an ingredient called pectin, which is largely found in apples, to coat the intestinal wall on the inside. So that’s the part applesauce plays in soothing diarrhea symptoms. Finally, tea contains tannins, which also soothes the inflamed intestines as a result of the infection that has caused diarrhea. Stay on this doctor-prescribed diet, and before you know it your diarrhea will be gone.
Water is a Must
It may seem rather illogical to drink more water when your stools are already watery, but ironically enough without water or other clear fluids, your bout with diarrhea will get worse. It’s because diarrhea depletes the body of a lot of fluids, which can result in dehydration. So you must constantly reintroduce fluids to the body to keep a balance. Once dehydration is remedied, your immune system can do its usual job of fighting infection and put you swiftly on the mend.