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How To Treat Acute Diarrhea

Written By northidahodpc

How To Treat Acute Diarrhea

February 27, 2014

We all occasionally at one time or another get hit with an attack of diarrhea.  The most common causes of acute (sudden and short lived) diarrhea are usually from a viral infection or food poisoning.  Our bodies are usually able to clear the infection or toxin within a few hours to a few days.

Any diarrhea lasting longer than a few days, accompanied by a fever or severe abdominal pain, tinged with blood and/or associated with severe dehydration needs prompt medical evaluation.  Otherwise, the following supportive measures are recommended:

  1. Immediately stop all milk products.  Milk delays healing of the damaged lining of the intestine, known as the brush border.  You may gradually resume milk once the diarrhea has resolved.
  2. Stay hydrated with electrolyte rich fluids such as Pedialyte or bouillon broth water.  Sports drinks are not the first choice as they have a lot of sugar which may make the diarrhea worse in some cases.  Appropriate fluids help prevent dehydration.  Shoot for 1 to 2 eight ounce glasses of fluid for each full, watery stool.
  3. Follow the BRAT and/or CRSP diet exclusively for 1 to 2 days; that is, don’t eat anything other than bananas, rice, apples and toast (BRAT) and/or carrots, rice, spinach and potatoes (CRSP).  These foods are easily digestible, allowing the brush border to heal more rapidly.
  4. Imodium or Kaopectate are helpful at slowing most diarrhea.  I usually steer patients away from Pepto Bismol becuase it turns to stool black, making it difficult to differentiate from old blood in the digestive tract.

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