When patients attempt to recover from diarrhea, the first course of action is to switch to simple meals. For cases that aren’t serious or threatening, doctors recommend that food excessive in salt, fat, and oil are cut back.

When medical professionals consider food that’s beneficial for diarrhea, opinions vary regarding the incorporation of probiotics and other supplements into meals plans. A review published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology (2011) proposed that food with probiotics comprise a type of beneficial bacteria that may shorten the duration of diarrhoea.

Today’s post dives into a few common recommendations doctors make to patients trying to recover from diarrhea.

Causes of diarrhea

Diarrhea could be the result of a variety of gastroenterological medical conditions. Patients generally experience frequent bowel movements that are more liquid than solid or those that have a loose texture.

Potential causes include general gastroenterological conditions such as infective gastroenteritis,
irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, lactose intolerance, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease and, less commonly, malignancy.

Many patients experience infective gastroenteritis a few times every year, often with no long-term consequences, diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days requires medical attention.

Symptoms include cramps, nausea, abdominal bloating and pain, fever, vomiting, and an urgent need to go to the bathroom.

How long does it take to recover from diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea usually takes 2 to 4 days to clear up, but depending on the underlying cause, it can take up to a week.

What should you eat when you have diarrhoea? 
The following types of foods are ideal for individuals trying to recover from diarrhoea: .

Bland food

For patients trying to recover from diarrhoea, doctors recommend bland, unflavoured food.

These include items like oats, toast, plain pasta, crackers, boiled potatoes, plain white rice, applesauce, bananas, and other cereals such as rice porridge or cream of wheat.

Food with probiotics

For individuals trying to recover from diarrhea, food high in probiotic content is useful in reducing symptoms of this condition.

Recommendations include consuming yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut (raw cabbage), and kefir (a fermented beverage) for patients trying to recover from diarrhea.

What drinks help with diarrhoea? 

For patients recovering from a bout of this condition, staying hydrated is highly important.

Apart from water, clear broths like chicken or beef broth without any grease, coconut water or other forms of water with added vitamins and electrolytes, Pedialyte, and weak coffee are also recommended.

The types of food patients recovering from diarrhea must avoid

While patients recover from diarrhea, the urge to consume heavy meals may be present. Nonetheless, steps must be taken to avoid certain food items that can upset the stomach and trigger another attack of diarrhea.

Food items and beverages to avoid include:

  • Spicy food
  • Fried, fatty and greasy food
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Citrus fruits
  • Coffee and carbonated drinks
  • Sardines
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Pineapples, cherries, seeded berries, figs, currants, and grapes
  • Processed food
  • Raw vegetables including onions and corn
  • Pork and veal

Signs that patients require further medical attention

If patients are still suffering from diarrhea following the recommended changes to their diet, it is recommended that they seek medical attention promptly to exclude other causes.

If diarrhea lasts longer than three days, results in dehydration or presents other serious symptoms, patients will need further treatment and medication.

Other symptoms include black or bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, and high fever. In the scenario where a child is experiencing this condition, parents of the patient need to be mindful of the following signs:

  • Hasn’t had a wet diaper in a couple of hours
  • High fever
  • A dry mouth or tongue
  • Sunken appearance
  • Skin that doesn’t flatten if pinched or squeezed
  • Black or bloody stools

If children experience these symptoms, immediate medical attention is critical. Between 2005-2015, diarrhea killed an average of 11.5 children annually in Australia.

Patients need to consume the right kind of food and beverages to recover from diarrhea

For bouts of diarrhea that aren’t severe, patients may be able to control and recover from their symptoms through the modification of their diet. By consuming simple, bland meals, they can expect to recover from their pain and discomfort.

For further information about diarrhea, its long-term effects, potential causes and treatment, patients can visit
Dr Suhirdan Vivenanandarajah’s site. He is a trained interventional gastroenterologist and hepatologist.

Appointments can also be requested here.

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