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What is diarrhoea?
Loose, unformed (no defined shape) stools that can be caused by food intolerance, allergy, any type of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection as well as existing digestive disorders (like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome) is diarrhoea. Along with unformed stools, you may also experience bloating and flatulence, abdominal pain, and on occasionally nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhoea is usually classified as acute (short-term that goes away on its own or with some help from over-the-counter medication) and chronic (long-term loose motion that can last for over 2 days).
Loose motion treatment
The first and foremost advice for loose motion treatment is that you watch what you eat – usually it’s best to go for bland, low spice, and light foods. You can have khichdi, curd rice, toast, crackers, bananas, yoghurt. Follow the BRAT system of eating for better guidance: B for banana, R for rice, A for apple, and T for toast. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, aerated drinks, citrus fruits, and items with artificial sweeteners. For infants, you can give them age-appropriate foods like breastmilk or infant formula.
Secondly, ensure that you drink enough liquids to replenish the water and electrolytes lost. You can have soups, juices, coconut water, water, yoghurt drinks like buttermilk and lassi. Rehydration is advised for children and adults across different age groups. You can also take ORS (oral rehydration solution) which is a mixture of salts and glucose that will bring your body back to homeostasis.
Taking probiotic drinks or supplements may also be helpful in inculcating the growth of healthy biome in your gut for treatment of diarrhoea. You can take some depending on your doctor’s approval.
Mild or acute cases of diarrhoea usually require that you keep an active eye on your diet, and that you hydrate enough. Usually, the symptoms go away on their own within 2 days. You can also take over-the-counter medicines that have bismuth subsalicylate and loperamide. For children and infants, however, taking over-the-counter meds for treatment of diarrhoea without a doctor’s advice is not recommended.
Your doctor will address any underlying factors as well as the diarrhoea’s symptoms if your condition is severe or chronic. Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have diarrhoea because of a bacterial infection. However, if you have diarrhoea because of antibiotics, then the doctor will decide a different treatment course.
Indian home remedies for diarrhoea
Indian home remedies have been in practice for years and may be effective for stomach pain and diarrhoea treatment. However, these spices and herbs may only provide temporary relief and should not be the only source of treatment. These remedies may not bring any relief at all if you are experiencing severe diarrhoea, bloody stool, black stool, or pus in stool. These are indicative of something serious and will require immediate medical attention.
Here is a list of ingredients that can be used for stomach pain and diarrhoea treatment:
Cumin or jeera can be steeped in water. The resultant concoction has been found to relieve mild loose motions, gas, and stomach cramps.
Yoghurt has probiotic properties and has cooling properties. You can have it as is or mix it with some honey to offset the tanginess.
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin that has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help improve loose motion symptoms. Turmeric is also rich in antioxidants, which may also be helpful to alleviate diarrhoea.
Mint has popularly been used to aid digestion and help ease an upset stomach and diarrhoea. This herb is also antibacterial, so brewing a tea and drinking it can soothe your symptoms.
Consider treating yourself to some fennel tea if you have diarrhoea, gas, or an upset stomach. Fennel is believed to aid in digestion, and the warm water in the tea may soothe your digestive system.
Ginger is believed to have antifungal and antimicrobial benefits, and it is also believed to slow down bowel movements. Brew it in a tea for its clean and zingy taste will cut through the nausea and the general feeling of illness you may have because of diarrhoea.
There is some scientific evidence about honey being effective in treating diarrhoea from an infection. Honey can also be useful in oral rehydration treatment.
Treating traveller’s diarrhoea
If you have travelled to some place where you did not have access to clean water or consumed an item that may have been contaminated, then you may experience traveller’s diarrhoea. It can be an annoyance to experience this condition during a holiday or right after it’s over. To reduce your chances, it’s always best to consume bottled water and bottled beverages. You should also avoid raw meat items and shellfish.
Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Additionally, find medicines that contain loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate. These medications lessen the regularity and immediacy of trips to the toilet, which will help you travel without much discomfort.
Antibiotics may be prescribed by doctors to be taken both before and during travel to help prevent travellers’ diarrhoea. Antibiotics used early on can reduce the length of an episode of travellers’ diarrhoea.