It seems that this month is all about #2. If you read my last post, you learned about natural remedies for constipation. Whether or not you have constipation, diarrhea, or both, the goal is to get you going regularly. So yeah, I talk about poop a lot. What you see in the toilet can tell you so much about your overall health.
Diarrhea is defined as loose, watery, and frequent bowel movements. It may be accompanied by stomachaches, bloating and gas. It happens to all of us every now and then and usually clears up on its own. However, it can stick around for a while, causing you to feel tired, lackluster, and dehydrated.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea could be caused by many different things, including leaky gut, bacterial infections, parasites, food poisoning, food allergies (such as lactose intolerance), contaminated water, medications (such as antibiotics), pregnancy, digestive disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), too much sugar in the diet, artificial sweeteners (1), stress, and/or lack of sleep. Phew.
Diarrhea can be acute (a brief episode) or chronic (lasting a while). If your diarrhea lasts for more than 1-2 weeks and these natural remedies are not working, consult with your physician.
Risks Associated with Diarrhea
One of the biggest risks of diarrhea is dehydration. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, whether acute or chronic, drinking a rehydration solution is vital. Water is great but if you’re already dehydrated, then it’s too late for water. Water does not contain the electrolytes your body needs for replenishment. See below for a solution you can make at home.
6 Natural Remedies for Diarrhea
1. Eat Easy-to-Digest Food
This is probably the only instance in which I would tell someone to eat white foods. The BRAT diet has been recommended to address diarrhea and stands for Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods are low in fiber and easy to digest when the tummy is not functioning properly. Bananas will replenish potassium, which can become depleted during bouts of diarrhea.
The BRAT diet is not very nutrient-dense, so it should not be followed for very long (maybe just for the first day). Incorporating cooked veggies, bone broth, soups, bananas, oats, sweet potatoes, and any bland foods will give your digestive system a break while it sorts itself out (2). Now’s not the best time for spicy foods, salsas, and rich sauces. For the time being, avoid dairy, sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, all of which can prolong diarrhea. And no one wants that.
2. Peppermint Oil Capsules
Peppermint oil is very soothing to the digestive tract and can reduce inflammation. By reducing muscle spasms, it can alleviate abdominal pain associated with diarrhea (3). Try peppermint tea or even more effective, peppermint oil capsules.
3. Address Stress
Stress. I talk about it a lot in my blog and with my clients. What doesn’t stress lead to? I think that list is much shorter than what it does lead to. Stress can trigger lots of issues with digestion, including diarrhea. Read more about how stress affects nutritional status and some teas that can help!
4. Quality Sleep
Ever notice when you have a bad night of sleep, it can be followed by diarrhea the next day? Sleep deprivation, like stress, throws everything off. Rest is required for optimal digestion. Interested in sleeping more? Check out my favorite tips for quality sleep.
5. L-Glutamine Powder
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that helps heal the gut lining and can prevent gut permeability. If you’re experiencing diarrhea or leaky gut, L-Glutamine can be a very beneficial supplement. I would advise seeking the guidance of a healthcare practitioner when considering adding supplements in. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information on supplementing safely.
When you’re experiencing tummy issues, it’s likely that your gut colony has been thrown off track. Our gut is home to good bacteria and bad bacteria. We need the good bacteria to be in charge, so we need to feed them probiotic-rich foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut. When we eat too much sugar and other refined carbohydrates (white pasta, white bread, white rice, pastries), we begin feeding our bad bacteria and they start to take over, causing uproar in the gut. Research suggests that probiotics can shorten the duration of diarrhea by one day on average (4, 5).
DIY Electrolyte Drink for Rehydration
Electrolyte beverages sold in stores are often loaded with nasty ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, dyes, and GMO ingredients. Making your own electrolyte beverage is easy and tasty. Coconut water is a great source of potassium if you are in a bind and need to get something in your system quick. Otherwise, try this recipe below:
- 1 cup quart purified water
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/8 tsp of Himalayan sea salt
- 1-2 tbsp organic raw honey
Mix all ingredients together and drink after bouts of diarrhea, exercise, or extreme sweating.
Are you prone to diarrhea? Share with us your favorite natural remedy for alleviating diarrhea!