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Diarrhea Diet


Most individuals have experienced diarrhea (dysentery) at some point or the other. It usually lasts for about two to three days and can be easily treated with over-the-counter medicines. The stools may be loose or watery, and individuals may complain of abdominal cramps or pain. In some cases, diarrhea (dysentery) may show symptoms such as bloating, nausea, and flatulence. Gastrointestinal or viral Infections may cause diarrhea and exhibit symptoms like fever and exhaustion. 

A common cause of diarrhea is unabsorbed food.

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Eating quickly or ingesting too much food at once gives little time for the solid food and fluids to mix well. However, other causes of diarrhea range from food intolerances and viral, parasite or bacterial infections to medications and surgery side effects.

Health conditions such as different types of colitis, Crohn’s disease, Celiac’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may result in occasional diarrhea. While most cases of diarrhea are short lived and may be treated through antibiotics and diet for diarrhea (dysentery), consult your doctor immediately if you see blood in your stools or if the diarrhea or accompanying fever persists for over three days.

Diarrhea patients should focus on their diet. Food for recovering diarrhea (dysentery) patients should consist of plenty of clear fluids. Once the bowel movements are regular, you may gradually add semi solid and low fiber foods to your diet.

Foods to eat

Diarrhea causes dehydration, and therefore, foods during diarrhea (dysentery) need to focus on replacing the lost fluids. Oral hydration or saline drip with sodium and glucose will provide the patient with necessary fluids and nutrients.

  • Rehydration is important as individuals try to regain strength and recover. Start with drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water. Water rehydrates, but does not provide essential nutrients such as sodium and potassium. Drinking electrolyte water may help supply essential nutrients. Gradually introduce other fluids such as weak tea, diluted fruit juices, strained fresh juices, and clear broths. Doctors recommend drinking one glass of clear liquid for every loose bowel movement.
  • Soft, bland foods such as bananas and apples provide essential nutrients such as potassium. Mashed bananas and applesauce contain pectin, a water-soluble fiber, which helps reduce diarrhea.
  • Probiotic supplements and active cultures found in yogurt provide a natural source of probiotics improving colon health.
  • Traditional medicine uses herbs such as ginger and peppermint for treating diarrhea. Herbal teas made from ginger root or mint leaves can soothe on overworked intestines.

Foods to avoid

Doctors usually recommend following your regular diet with few cautionary measures:

  • Avoid diary products such as cheese, heavy cream, butter and ice cream. These may irritate your bowels worsening diarrhea. Lactose intolerant patients may also want to seek milk substitutes such as soymilk or almond milk for diarrhea induced by lactose.
  • Spicy, greasy, fried foods can trigger bowel irritation and prolong diarrhea.
  • Processed foods made from refined flour, high amounts of added sugars such as cakes, donuts, pastries and pizza dough worsen diarrhea.
  • Foods that can aggravate diarrhea include raw vegetables, red meat and fruits that have high amounts of fiber such as citrus fruits.
  • Alcoholic beverages, carbonated and caffeinated drinks such as sodas, colas, coffee and strong tea may aggravate symptoms of diarrhea.
  • Some foods may cause bloating or gas such as whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, vegetables such as onions, beans, cabbage, peas, broccoli and cauliflower. Avoid these until you have recovered.

Remedies for diarrhea (dysentery)

In most cases of adult diarrhea, diagnosis and medication helps to remedy the problem.

  • A change in diet offers a quick remedy for individuals suffering from diarrhea. Focus on nutrient rich fluids and avoid foods that are high in fiber or may prove an irritant for the stomach and intestines.
  • A quick remedy for replacing lost fluids due to diarrhea includes drinking water mixed with sodium and glucose or drink electrolyte water as per your doctor’s prescription.
  • Eat small, frequent meals to avoid putting undue stress on your recovering gastrointestinal system. Ease into your regular diet gradually.

References:

  1. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#points
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003126.htm

 

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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