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How to Eat for Reduced Diarrhea Symptoms

From the moment you start eating or drinking, your body works to break down what you take in, moving it through your digestive tract and eliminating what you don’t need. The process of digesting food is vital to how your body absorbs nutrients.

Conditions that affect digestion can range from minor irritants to major problems for your health. 

Several conditions can affect your digestive health including diarrhea, which is often the symptom of other problems, and it can leave your body dehydrated. While there are many ways to manage diarrhea, you can also make changes in your diet to reduce the impact it has on your body. 

If you live in the greater Houston or Spring, Texas, area, and you’re looking for ways to manage diarrhea or a range of other conditions, our team at Houston Medical ER can help.

Let’s explore this by looking at the basics of diarrhea, the common signs and causes of the condition, and what dietary changes can make a difference in the symptoms.

Diarrhea basics

Broadly speaking, your feces should be normal to dark brown, emit a smelly odor, use minimal strain to pass, and be pretty consistent in appearance each trip to the bathroom.

Also referred to as “the runs,” diarrhea is marked by watery, loose, fecal matter that your body needs to expel urgently. It’s generally a temporary problem, with acute cases lasting a couple of days, but you can also have chronic issues that can affect you on most days for up to four weeks. 

Common causes and signs

There are many reasons for diarrhea, such as:

  • Microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in foods that infect your gastrointestinal tract
  • Digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease
  • Impaired nutrient absorption from conditions such as celiac disease
  • Drug-induced issues from laxatives and other medications
  • Endocrine problems — hormonal issues and conditions like Addison's disease can have diarrhea as a symptom
  • Certain gut cancers can lead to a form of neoplastic diarrhea

In addition to the obvious problems with going to the bathroom, this condition can also show signs like stomach pain, abdominal cramps, bloating, weight loss, fever, body aches, and chills.

Diets to reduce symptoms

Diet definitely affects your risk of getting diarrhea, so here are some dietary changes you can make to reduce your problems with the illness.

Avoid foods that prolong the problem

If you already have digestive problems, including diarrhea, avoid:

  • Dairy
  • Greasy, fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Processed foods
  • Pork and veal
  • Raw vegetables, corn, and onions
  • Certain fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Sorbitol
  • Caffeinated foods and drinks 

Use the BRAT diet as a guide 

BRAT stands for bananas, rice (specifically white rice), applesauce, and toast (white bread). They are fairly bland, low in fiber, and don’t irritate the digestive system, which means they can help keep stool firm. 

Other foods that can help keep feces firm include oatmeal, baked or boiled potatoes, soda crackers, and low sugar apple juice.

Other changes include over-the-counter anti-diarrheal drugs, increased fluid intake, and plenty of rest. Foods with probiotics can also help reduce your chances of getting diarrhea in the future.

Diarrhea limits your ability to do basic things for fear of not being able to reach a bathroom in time, but it doesn’t have to. There are dietary changes that can reduce your symptoms. We can help, so call us at Houston Medical ER today or stop by to get help.

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