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How to find diarrhea relief

What can you do to find diarrhea relief?

The first step is to decide whether you need to see a doctor or not.

You should see a doctor if:

  • you have a fever over 38.5°C or 101.3°F
  • you have severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, or black stools
  • you can't keep fluids down because of vomiting
  • you're having more than 6 loose stools each day
  • you are dehydrated (weak, thirsty, dizzy, dry mouth, decreased urination)
  • your diarrhea has lasted more than 48 hours (or 24 hours for babies)

Children should be brought to a doctor if they have any of the symptoms above, or if they have been vomiting for more than 4 hours or are under 6 months of age. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, including no tears when they're crying, less than 4 wet diapers in 24 hours, or if their eyes or soft spots are sunken.

Otherwise, you can treat your own diarrhea at home. Here's how to manage your diarrhea:

Try an over the counter treatment. There are a number of over the counter treatments available for diarrhea relief, such as loperamide (Imodium™), attapulgite (Kaopectate®), and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®).

How do these medications work? Normally, water is reabsorbed as food passes through your bowels. With diarrhea, the bowels are moving too quickly for enough water to be reabsorbed, so the liquid stays in the stools, making them loose and watery. Each diarrhea medication works on this process in a slightly different way. Loperamide works by bringing the movement of the bowels back to a more normal level so that they can reabsorb water to make stools more solid. Attapulgite absorbs the extra liquids in the bowel, which helps make stools more solid. It can be used for up to 2 days. Bismuth works by decreasing inflammation, killing certain bacteria that can cause diarrhea, and blocking the body from releasing more fluid into the bowels.

Don't get dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the dangers of diarrhea. If severe enough, diarrhea can lead to fainting, an irregular heartbeat, and other complications. Rehydrating yourself when you have diarrhea is an essential part of treating your diarrhea to lower your risk of dehydration. Dehydration happens because your body loses water and important salts called electrolytes more quickly when you have diarrhea. You can stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids. Children and seniors are at a higher risk of getting dehydrated, so it's very important that they stay well hydrated when they have diarrhea. Children and seniors may need a special rehydration drink (such as Gastrolyte® or Pedialyte®), available from your local pharmacy or grocery store. Talk to your pharmacist to find out how much of the rehydration drink (also called rehydration solution) they need to consume each day.

Call your doctor if things don't improve. Usually, your diarrhea will improve in a day or two. But if things change and you notice any of the symptoms listed above (such as high fever, bloody stools, or severe stomach pain), if you can't seem to drink enough fluid to stay hydrated, or if the treatments you have tried do not seem to be working, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend other treatments, including prescription medications.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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