Diarrhea can have many different causes. Therefore the first thing to do is to find the cause and eliminate it if possible. At the same time, you want to relieve the symptoms as quickly as possible – bloating, abdominal cramps and the constant urge to defecate.
What to do if you have diarrhea
We will explain to you what you can do if you have diarrhea, how you can use natural remedies and measures to treat acute diarrhea naturally and how you can support your intestines so that they are no longer so susceptible to diarrhea in the future.
The symptoms of diarrhea
Acute diarrhea is characterized by frequent urges to defecate, liquid stool and usually abdominal cramps. Since eating food can be difficult without nausea occurring – especially if the stomach is involved (gastrointestinal infection) – there is a feeling of weakness during the course of the disease, which forces you to rest.
Diarrhea is officially when
- you have to go to the toilet three or more times (daily)
- the intestinal passage time of food is significantly reduced,
- when the amount of stool increases and
- when the liquid content of the stool increases.
Causes of acute diarrhea
If the situation described above improves again after a few days, this is called acute diarrhoea. It is triggered
- by infections (viruses, bacteria, parasites),
- through food poisoning (salmonella, coliform bacteria e.g. EHEC, campylobacter, listeria etc.),
- through unusual amounts of certain foods, e.g. “kilos” of cherries (or other stone fruit), too many prunes, spicy meal in an Indian restaurant, etc.
- through medication
- due to too high doses of laxative,
- by consuming large amounts of diet products that are sweetened with sugar substitutes (sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol (etc.),
- through fear and stressful situations,
- through caffeine and/or alcohol
- by traveling to distant countries, where foreign and therefore unusual germs and bacteria colonize the food and water.
If diarrhea occurs frequently within four weeks and does not finally subside, this is referred to as chronic diarrhea.
If you have diarrhea, please do not wait four weeks, especially not if you notice blood in your stool, but have the matter clarified latest after 5 days – especially if none of the measures you have taken are having an effect (in children already after 3 days or – depending on the severity of the diarrhea – earlier).
This is because diarrhea can cause dehydration of the body due to the loss of significant amounts of water and minerals, which can quickly become life-threatening in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Causes of chronic diarrhea
Possible diseases associated with chronic diarrhea or causes that can lead to chronic diarrhea are:
- Crohn’s disease: This chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) begins in the lower small intestine and can attack the entire gastrointestinal tract in flares. Symptoms: intestinal fistulas, fissures, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea attacks (up to 15 times a day)
- Ulcerative colitis: This chronic inflammatory bowel disease is mainly limited to the large intestine. Here often bloody diarrhea (in Crohn’s disease they are bloodless) with ulceration. Other symptoms: anemia and its consequences such as tiredness, lack of drive, skin and joint diseases.
- Food intolerance (e.g. to milk (lactose) or fructose)
- Celiac disease (gluten intolerance, gluten = cereal protein)
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas),
- Complications after bowel surgery, e.g. after removal of intestinal sections.
- Chronic stress
- Irritable bowel syndrome
This is how normal digestion works
During the normal digestive process, food moves from the stomach to the small intestine. There, the nutrients from the food are absorbed and passed on to the blood. The leftover chyme is transported to the large intestine with the help of intestinal peristalsis (the intestinal movements). His task consists in absorbing the remaining water in the chyme into the body and in turn pushing the unusable food components, which have now been formed into a “little sausage”, by means of peristaltic movements to the rectum, where they are excreted as stool.
This is what happens when you have diarrhea
In the case of diarrhea, on the other hand, the water from the chyme is not absorbed into the body (and the nutrients are usually not either). In the case of diarrhea, the intestine has no time at all for this.
The aim here is to get the contents of the intestine out again as quickly as possible. For this purpose, the water is left in the stool. But that’s not all. Additional water and mineral salts are released from the body into the intestines. The stool becomes more and more liquid and the urge to defecate becomes more and more insistent.
Diarrhea – when it hits us acutely – is usually a protective measure of the body. It throws the food out again so quickly because something in it seems extremely suspicious, i.e. something was ingested with the food that could cause serious damage to the body if it got into the bloodstream.
Viruses can cause diarrhea
This is especially true for viral and bacterial infections. Viruses are the most common cause of infectious diarrheal diseases. Viruses can damage the lining of the small intestine, affecting the normal absorption of water and nutrients, causing diarrhea.
Bacteria and Parasites
Bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, but also intestinal parasites are normally ingested through contaminated water or correspondingly contaminated food. They secrete toxins that cause the intestines to shed water and salts. This makes the stool watery and causes diarrhea.
Diarrhea from food poisoning
In the case of food poisoning, often, the bacteria already lived in the food, multiplied there and enriched it with their metabolic end products (bacterial toxins). Depending on the type of bacteria, these can be highly toxic to the human body and cannot be removed even by heating.
Such infections not only leads to the formation of extremely toxic bacterial toxins, but can also to the destruction of the intestinal mucosa cells.
Antibiotics can cause diarrhea
If someone takes antibiotics for a bacterial infection e.g in the tooth or a bladder infection, it not only destroys the bad bacteria in the tooth or bladder, but also the good and beneficial bacteria in the intestine. This allows harmful bacteria e.g. bacteria that cause diarrhea to multiply rapidly. Another reason why antibiotics can often cause diarrhea as a side effect is the peristalsis-promoting effect of some antibiotics.
Drugs with the side effect of diarrhea
Aside from antibiotics, there are other medications whose side effects include diarrhea:
- acid blockers
- thyroid hormones
- iron supplements
- chemotherapy drugs
- the excessive use of laxatives.
Sugar substitutes often lead to diarrhea
Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, etc. can lead to diarrhea with flatulence and abdominal cramps. So if chewing gum lovers suffer from chronic diarrhea, they should check whether the chewing gum is sweetened with sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes are often added to diabetic sweets or diet products.
While there is a maximum amount of most sugar substitutes that is known to cause diarrhea in most people, xylitol is an exception. The human organism can slowly get used to increasing amounts of xylitol. This is not possible with sorbitol and other sugar substitutes.
Diarrhea in mental stress
Many people react to mental stress with increased intestinal activity and diarrhea. Triggers can be e.g. anxiety, anger or stress.
Caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol stimulate the intestinal transit time. This causes stool to move through the intestines too quickly, disrupting normal fluid absorption and resulting in watery stool.
Diarrhea due to intolerance
Modern people often also have digestive systems with truly stone-age views. Some intestines are still of the opinion that cow’s milk is no food for adults, especially in the case of lactose intolerance, while others reject grain or fruit because there were neither wheat fields nor sweet Granny Smith apples in the Stone Age (celiac disease and fructose intolerance).
Such intestines then react in an extremely bad mood when these foods are consumed, namely with diarrhea – in these cases with chronic diarrhea.
It is therefore often said that one should consume water, electrolytes (mineral salts, especially sodium and potassium) and at the same time some glucose (dextrose). The glucose has the function of facilitating the absorption of water by the intestinal mucosa.
Coke and salt sticks now contain salt, water and sugar and therefore seem to be an ideal home remedy for diarrhea. In reality, however, it’s just a stopgap solution that unfortunately doesn’t even work. The reason for this is the far too high sugar content in the cola, which binds even more water in the intestine and thus fuels the diarrhea even more. The consequences are an excess of sodium in the blood and an unmet need for potassium, since salt sticks contain sodium but no potassium.
How home remedies have changed over the course of history
The term home remedies refers to remedies that are easily accessible to everyone, i.e. that you can pick in the garden, that you can get at any time in the supermarket or that you already have in the house – regardless of whether you are healthy or sick. In the past, when there were no supermarkets (especially in rural areas), home remedies consisted of herbs, alcohol, homemade tinctures or specially prepared foods (e.g. “long-cooked carrot soup” for diarrhea).
The fact that cola and salt sticks are among the home remedies today is a great indication of the current level of culinary and botanical development in our society. Everyone has coke and salt sticks in the house at all times (and apparently nothing else better), while nobody trusts the herbs in the backyard anymore, let alone knows how to cook a carrot or rice soup that helps with diarrhea.
Natural remedies for diarrhea
Since the purpose of most cases of diarrhea is to excrete harmful substances as quickly as possible, no measures should initially be taken to stop the diarrhea without combating the cause. A popular diarrhea drug (with the active ingredient loperamide), which is available without a prescription in every pharmacy, is one of the opioid drugs. It inhibits bowel movements.
Although the patient is initially happy because the diarrhea has apparently disappeared, this treatment is extremely dangerous, since the pathogens and bacterial toxins, which should actually be excreted as quickly as possible through the diarrhea, remain in the intestine and cause even more damage there. The following holistic measures are not about stopping the diarrhea radically, but about eliminating the causes of the diarrhea, helping the body to eliminate the causative germs and then putting it in a strong state so that it can fight itself again can regenerate.
1. Find and eliminate avoidable causes
If diarrhea occurs, the first thing you try to do is find out what could be causing it. If you suspect an avoidable cause as the culprit (you are currently taking medication or eating certain unfamiliar foods or too many diet products with sugar substitutes, etc.), discuss stopping the medication with your therapist and stop eating the suspected foods in the next few days on a trial basis.
2. First aid measure for diarrhea: bentonite
As a “first aid measure” for acute diarrhea – no matter what caused it – there is hardly anything better than taking a teaspoon of bentonite or zeolite with a glass of water three times a day. This measure alone is often enough to quickly resolve the diarrhea.
Bentonite belongs in every home and first-aid kit. This natural mineral clay absorbs all kinds of toxins and has saved the lives of children who ate poisonous plants. In the case of diarrhea, bentonite not only absorbs bacterial toxins, but also improves the environment in the intestine, so that a balanced intestinal flora can soon settle there again.
3. Cook Moro’s carrot soup
Carrots should always be in the fridge. Because if the worst comes to the worst, the so-called Moro’s carrot soup can be cooked quickly. To do this, peel 500g of carrots and cut them into small pieces, boil them in 1 liter of water for at least 1.5 hours, fill up to 1 liter after boiling, add 3 g of salt and puree the soup. It is best taken right at the beginning of the diarrhea throughout the day.
4. Take psyllium
The effect of bentonite can be optimized by taking psyllium husks. Psyllium belongs to the so-called swelling substances. Like bentonite, they absorb bacterial toxins, but also excess liquid as well as protect the intestinal mucosa from irritation.
Take a shake made from psyllium husk and bentonite once or several times a day (if you eat, then 1 hour before or about 2 hours after meals). To do this, add a teaspoon of bentonite and a teaspoon of Psyllium to 200 ml of still water in a sealable cup and shake this mixture vigorously.
Then drink another 200 ml of still water or herbal tea after.
5. Strengthen the intestinal flora with probiotics
Diarrhea can only occur if the body’s defenses have a weak point somewhere. Since a large part of our immune system is located in the intestine in the form of a (hopefully balanced) microbial intestinal flora, our special attention must be paid to the rehabilitation of this intestinal flora. By taking high-quality probiotics (beneficial intestinal bacteria in liquid or capsule form), the intestine is populated with healthy intestinal bacteria. These displace harmful germs and in this way ensure that our digestive system has a stronger immune system in the future.
Take two capsules of intestinal bacteria, e.g. Ultimate Probiotic. Or Probioform as a liquid probiotic can be excellently combined with bentonite and psyllium. Bentonite in particular promotes a healthy intestinal environment, in which the beneficial intestinal bacteria feel comfortable in the first place.
Usually when you have diarrhea you don’t have an appetite, so fasting won’t be a problem. On the other hand, mothers or grandmothers can be problematic, because they think that you absolutely have to eat something and that you die if you don’t eat for a day.
Task persistent “supervisors” with cooking Moro’s carrot soup (see point 3). Otherwise: stay strong! Don’t eat anything unless you have an appetite. The less the body is burdened with food, the more it can concentrate on eliminating pathogenic germs and toxins. However, drinking is the be-all and end-all, especially WHAT you drink is important.
7. Absorb liquid
Focus on spring water or filtered tap water. Mix this with half a teaspoon of brine solution. Brine is the saturated solution of pure water with rock or crystal salt. Medicinal herbal teas also help to reduce fluid loss (see point 10).
Vegetable broths you have cooked yourself (without conventional stock cubes) from various vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, herbs) are suitable for supplying potassium. If you cannot eat anything solid, you can remove them after cooking. If you have an appetite, you can have vegetable soups prepared.
In a pinch, special electrolyte solutions can be used. However, studies have shown that Moro’s carrot soup seems to help better than electrolyte solutions.
8. What you should never drink when you have diarrhea
- beverages containing caffeine, tea and alcohol (including coffee, black and green tea),
- sugary drinks (soft drinks),
- diet drinks,
- fruit tea and
- dairy products.
9. Eat bland foods when you have diarrhea
If you still have an appetite despite having diarrhea, you can eat the following meals, which also serve as restorative food after the diarrhea has subsided:
- Apples finely grated with the peel: Apples contain pectins, which – like psyllium – contain mucilage and therefore protect the intestinal mucosa, inhibit the growth of pathogenic germs and adsorb toxins. It’s entirely possible to survive on nothing more than 1 to 2 pounds of apples during bouts of diarrhea.
- Dried blueberries (fresh blueberries are draining)
- Mashed Bananas (beat the bananas until the mash becomes foamy)
- Cooked and mashed vegetables (e.g. carrots, zucchini, parsnips, celery, squash, etc.) and/or potatoes.
- Toast or gruel
- Grain products should be avoided in some cases of diarrhea. Especially with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, very good success is often achieved if a natural and, in particular, grain-free diet is practiced.
10. Mineral supply
Diarrhea – whether acute or chronic – affects the body’s reserves of vital substances and minerals to a considerable extent. Fatigue and lack of energy are the first consequences. At the latest after the diarrhea has subsided, the diet should therefore be particularly rich in vital substances and minerals or enriched with appropriate holistic food supplements.
We particularly recommend Sea coral, which provides magnesium and calcium in an easily digestible and natural form, as well as grass drinks rich in chlorophyll and/or microalgae preparations such as Barley grass juice, spirulina, chlorella and red algae. Microalgae provide vital substances, phytochemicals and trace elements, which strengthen the immune system. The chlorella algae in particular can also absorb pollutants and contribute to their elimination. However, those who are not used to microalgae can also react with diarrhea, which is why you have to dose carefully here.
11. Medicinal herbs
Herbal teas can achieve extraordinary success in diarrhea. The so-called tannin drugs are used for this purpose. Tannins have both a germ-inhibiting and astringent effect. They seal the surface of the intestinal mucosa, making it difficult for toxic substances to be absorbed. Herbs containing tannins that are particularly suitable for diarrhea include:
- Blackberry and raspberry leaves,
- an anti-inflammatory chamomile tea.
Prepare the teas in the following way:
1 to 2 teaspoons of herbs per 150 – 200 ml of hot water, let steep for 10 minutes and drink a cup several times a day.
12. Enemas for diarrhea
Although enemas are very popular when it comes to relieving constipation, the purpose of enemas is not just to stimulate bowel movements. Enemas are also great for diarrhea. Enemas clean the intestines, accelerate the excretion of bacteria and their toxins, dilute the often burning diarrhea fluid so that inflamed rectum/anus occurs less frequently and also supply the body with fluid.
This is done with a so called implant, by putting a small amount of liquid into the intestine again after a proper intestinal enema and its complete excretion. The amount should be so small that it does not trigger an urge to defecate (50 -60 ml).
This is how you can prevent diarrhea
Diarrheal diseases can be effectively prevented. The best way to succeed is with a natural alkaline diet and a healthy lifestyle. To take care of the intestines is of particular importance here. For example, regular intestinal cleansing (with bentonite, psyllium and colonics) as well as effective probiotics and a continuous supply of minerals in combination with the alkaline-excess diet mentioned can lead to powerful and almost untouchable intestinal health.
Of course, it is particularly important here to avoid antibiotic therapies as much as possible. Make sure that you are not prescribed antibiotics just on the spur of the moment, but that you know exactly which bacteria have to be fought with them before taking antibiotics.
It often happens that people suffer from a painful throat infection, for example, and are prescribed antibiotics and the effect is lacking because it is a fungal infection, which has not been clarified in advance. The sore throat continues and now the intestinal flora is also damaged due to taking antibiotics.
If antibiotic therapies cannot be avoided, then the intestinal flora should be built up at the same time with the aids mentioned above (bentonite, psyllium husks and probiotics). But remember not to take medication (including antibiotics) at the same time as bentonite and psyllium husks, but rather at a different time (at least 3 hours apart), as these could otherwise reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic.