11 Natural and Homeopathic Ways to Relieve Diarrhea
When diarrhea strikes, you may want to explore some of the natural remedies on the market today. There are a variety of options sold in health food stores, grocery stores, and online that can help you to manage the worst of the discomfort.
"But in order to find the best treatment approach, it's important to identify exactly what's causing your diarrhea first," explains Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, RM, host of the national TV series, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, and author of several books, including Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques and Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker.
Diarrhea is usually a symptom of another ailment, such as food poisoning, a stomach virus, a parasite, a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn's disease, says Gruver. By determining which of these—or other causes—is involved, you can narrow in on what you need. The color, texture, and any specific odor that accompanies the diarrhea can also help you (or your doctor) diagnose the problem.
Natural Remedies for Diarrhea
Once you know what you're dealing with, there are some of the natural products that Gruver says might be helpful to address diarrhea:
Best for: In general, probiotics help promote stomach and bowel health, but they're especially useful for diarrhea that has been caused by antibiotic use.
2. Natural Teas
Best for: Chamomile tea is good for indigestion and has an anti-spasmodic effect on the colon, while peppermint tea can also be useful to calm the stomach.
3. Fenugreek Seeds
Best for: Adding bulk to the stool. When soaked in water, these can add bulk to the stool, thus alleviating the diarrhea.
Best for: This common folk remedy for diarrhea can provide antioxidants that are good for your overall health, too.
Best for: Chronic diarrhea. Gruver suggests seeing a qualified practitioner at the first signs.
Best for: Some people with diarrhea also benefit from practicing meditation, affirmations, or visualization to help reduce their stress level. Since stress can make diarrhea feel worse (or may be contributing to the cause of it), this can help you to feel better.
Best for: Adding bulk to the stool. This is commonly found in laxative products and helps to bulk the stool to stop the diarrhea.
Homeopathic Options for Diarrhea
Gruver also recommends the following options:
8. Arsenicum Album
Best for: Treating food poisoning and traveler's diarrhea.
Best for: Treating diarrhea with cramping and pain.
Best for: Relieving diarrhea with spasms and cramping.
Best for: Acute diarrhea (particularly traveler's diarrhea) and other sudden-onset cases. It also relieves the rumbling and gas that often accompanies severe diarrhea.
Staying Hydrated When You Have Diarrhea
"When treating diarrhea, keep in mind that most of the time, you won't want to stop it completely, since it's the body's way of eliminating the poison," Gruver says. However, it's important to try to limit its course, since diarrhea can lead to dehydration and this can worsen pretty quickly.
Signs of dehydration include:
- Less frequent urination
- Dry skin
- Feeling light-headed
- Dark urine
- Inability to sweat
Be sure to drink lots of water, natural juices, and teas. "Sports drinks or electrolyte powders can also be used to add minerals back into the body," Gruver adds.
When to See a Doctor for Diarrhea
See your doctor if diarrhea lasts longer than two days, causes bloody or black stool, is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, a fever of over 101 degrees, or signs of dehydration.
"Diarrhea." University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed online on Nov. 23, 2013.
Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, RM, host of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. Email interview Nov. 22, 2013. www.TheAlternativeMedicineCabinet.com
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