Diarrhea can strike at the most inconvenient times, leaving you feeling uncomfortable and depleted. Whether it's caused by a bacterial infection, food intolerance, or simply stress, dealing with diarrhea is never pleasant. Fortunately, there are several ways to effectively treat diarrhea so you can get well soon. Here are four things you should do the next time you have a case of the runs:
1. Stay hydrated.
One of the first and most crucial steps to combating diarrhea is staying hydrated. Although you may not feel like drinking water when you're sick on the toilet, diarrhea can lead to excessive fluid loss. Over time, this can lead to electrolyte imbalances that make you feel even worse, so it's essential to replenish your body's reserves. If plain water doesn't sound appealing, you can sip a sports drink, flat soda, or diluted juice.
2. Ease back into eating.
When your stomach is in turmoil, it's essential to give it a break and provide easy-to-digest foods. Eating spicy or fatty foods right away can lead to a relapse of your diarrhea. Instead, choose bland foods that are unlikely to upset your stomach. Rice, toast, and applesauce are all good choices. You can also eat a banana, which can help to restore electrolyte balance thanks to its high potassium content.
3. Call your doctor.
It's always a good idea to keep your doctor updated on the state of your health. This is especially true whenever something goes wrong. If you're experiencing diarrhea for longer than a few hours, you should give your doctor a call. Based on your symptoms, your doctor may be able to provide you with advice over the phone. They may suggest that you continue to treat your diarrhea at home with self-care and over-the-counter medications. If they believe that your condition is more serious, they may recommend that you come in for an exam. Keeping your doctor in the loop can give you much-needed peace of mind.
4. Seek emergency treatment.
Diarrhea can pose a serious health concern when it continues for an extended period of time or when you are unable to keep any liquids down. Dehydration is a serious problem that can quickly become fatal. If your diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting or you begin to feel dizzy or faint, you may need to seek emergency treatment. Emergency physicians can provide fluids intravenously to keep you hydrated. They can also provide prescription-strength anti-diarrheal medication while getting to the root cause of your stomach troubles.
Reach out to a medical professional in your area for more information about diarrhea.