Diarrhea is a common digestive disorder that causes an increase in the frequency of passing stools, it can also be defined as the production of loose and very watery stools-persistent diarrhea can induce dehydration in the affected individual. The onset of diarrhea is a sign of the presence of many varieties of disorders-the majority benign and some which are serious-thus the condition is more of a symptom of disease then a disease in itself. This condition brings about a disruption in the large intestine which affects the normal passage of water and food through the digestive system. In the normal run of the digestive system, the water consumed by a person is absorbed via the intestinal walls while the digested food passes out through large intestine, and leaves the body as a solid mass known as fecal matter or stool. Any phenomenon or disorder which speed the rate of passage of fluids will interfere with the process, and the fluid normally absorbed will be expelled along with the fecal matter-the result is a watery stool so characteristic of diarrhea.
Irritation and inflammation in the intestinal and digestive regions of the body also cause diarrhea. Infection from some pathogenic agents is the usual cause of these problems, a bacterial or viral infection is the actual cause of diarrhea and these pathogens enter the body through contaminated food and water-the cause of diarrhea is therefore the presence of germs in food and water. Incidences of “travelers” diarrhea is a well known phenomenon of the majority of individuals who travel frequently to underdeveloped countries around the world-such travelers tend to be aware of the risk from contaminated food or water in such areas-indeed, diarrhea is a clear and present danger in most areas of the world where sanitary or hygienic practices tend to be low. However, such carefulness in diet may not be followed at home even by such seasoned travelers. A case of food poisoning may often be the cause of the diarrhea, such individuals blame it on a twenty four hour flu bug. Mild cases of food poisoning are also another major cause of diarrhea like symptoms.
Diarrhea can also be brought on by several other known causative factors. Diarrhea is known to occur when a person consumes more fruits or vegetables than his or her digestive tract is used to handling at one time-this form of diarrhea may be relieved after a short period of time. The typical causative factors of such diarrhea appear to be all kinds of citrus fruits and protein rich beans. Diarrhea can also be triggered by the consumption of large amounts of some common chemicals, such as the low-calorie sweetener sorbitol. The constant use of therapeutic doses of the vitamin C or the mineral magnesium can also lead to diarrhea like conditions as a side effect - the dosage of such supplements must be reduced at once, if such side effects occur when supplementation is carried out using the compounds. A disorder known as lactose intolerance - which is an inability of some individuals to digest the
sugar-lactose - in diary products- is known to cause the production of large volumes of gas, abdominal bloating, and persistent diarrhea every time such individuals consume any milk, cheese, or ice cream-in this case, the diarrhea is a direct side effect of another disorder. The “friendly” bacteria in the intestines are destroyed by the continued use of antibiotics; this is known to bring on symptoms of diarrhea in the person using the antibiotics. Diarrhea can also be triggered by stress in certain individuals. The presence of persistent diarrhea in an individual can also be a direct physical symptom of some underlying gastrointestinal disorder-these can include the presence of disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, the condition known as colitis, the presence of Crohn's disease, the presence of pancreatic disease, or even cancer of the colon.
Supplements and herbs
Herbal teas made from herbs such as the agrimony, the leaves of the blackberry herb, or raspberry leaf tea can help combat diarrhea affecting the individual. The beneficial effect of these herbal teas arises from their content of compounds known as tannins, these types of chemicals posses a binding effect on the mucous membranes lining the intestine and this results in a better absorption of fluids present in the intestine-continually drinking such teas will diminish the fluid loss during the diarrhea. Lost fluids are also replenished by continually drinking the herbal teas, the major role such a supplementation serves is that it results in the prevention of dehydration-which is a very likely scenario during a prolonged bout of diarrhea; persistent dehydration can have severe implications for the health of the individual.
The use of the fiber rich psyllium is suggested as an herbal remedy especially in those instances when the previous herbal teas did not bring about some improvement in the diarrhea. While constipation is what this soluble fiber is normally used to treat, its use during diarrhea is also suggested as the fiber is capable of absorbing all the excess fluid present in the intestinal region-this results in the addition of some bulk to the stools passed by the affected individual-a factor which will control the frequency of passing stools. Supplements of the friendly bacterial acidophilus cultures are also very important as this bacterial culture will restore the population levels of all the healthy bacteria normally present in the intestines-such supplementation is particularly beneficial if the presence of the diarrhea is connected to the use of antibiotic drugs. The majority of these herbal remedies can be used as substitutes for many of the over the counter-OTC- diarrheal aids which are normally prescribed by a doctor-the exception is the acidophilus cultures, whose use is best undertaken along with the OTC medications-the bacterial culture must not be taken at the same time of the day with the OTC.
The body should have enough time to rid itself of the infective organism and if a case of food poisoning is to blame for the diarrhea, then the suggestion is to wait for a few hours before treatment of the problem is started-diarrhea can often be totally stopped by the body's own immune system and the body must be given every chance to rid itself of the germs before chemical or herbal intervention is started. If this is not desired by the patient, then he or she should start using the remedies immediately once the symptoms of the disease have become apparent.
Cases of acute diarrhea can be alleviated, by using a single dose of the following homeopathic remedies after each period of passing stools or following every hour during the course of the diarrhea. The treatment strategy can be reassessed and changed if there are no visible signs of improvement following the use of three doses of the homeopathic remedy. Chronic cases of diarrhea can be alleviated, using a single dose of the remedy at 30c potency once or two times every day-the dose of the homeopathic remedy can be used depending on the severity of the physical symptoms experienced by the affected individual.
Aloe is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals affected by diarrhea in which the physical symptoms can include the presence of gurgling and rumbling noises in the stomach-such symptoms usually precede the passage of a watery and gas infused stool. The patient also complains of physical symptoms such as the development of a sudden urge to excrete in the early mornings. The patient also suffers from the passage of jelly like lumpy stools, which tend to be very offensive and sometimes the patient can give off even bloody stool as further problems. The patient also tends to suffer from intense and prolonged bleeding hemorrhoids. In addition, the patients may suffer from sudden excretion when passing gas or on when tightening the muscles to urinate-this can be cause for major embarrassment and discomfort. The other physical symptoms of such diarrhea are the presence of a burning sensation in the anal region. The patient tends to be physically very weak and suffers from irritability. Physical symptoms also include the presence of excess gases in the abdomen along with a persistent sensation of fullness and heavy dragging in the abdominal region. The patient may feel that a plug exists in her or her pelvic region. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen early in the mornings, the patient is also sensitive to excess heat and damp environments, he or she will worsen on taking food or drink. The condition of the patient can improve when he or she is exposed to the cool air, and following the passage of stool. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Aloe as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the diarrhea.
- Arsenicum album
Arsenicum album is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of diarrhea in an individual affected by physical symptoms such as the presence of a persistent burning sensation in the anal and abdominal regions. The patient also suffers from additional physical symptoms such as the presence of persistent urges to excrete, the diarrhea is often painless and symptoms tend to be mild in general. The patient is also affected by persistent nausea. The physical symptoms also include the exuding of a foul and watery stool, along with the passing of an odorless gas when excreting. The patient also excretes a lot of stool streaked with dark mucus. Physical symptoms of the patient include great fatigue and exhaustion, coupled with the passing of sudden chills through the body at all times of the day and night. The person often suffers from emaciation as food and fluids are poorly absorbed at any given time. The patient can also suffer from the presence of a burning thirst for small sips of fluids or water. Psychological symptoms in the patient can include the presence of persistent anxiety, a fear of death and extreme restlessness at all times of the day and night. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen around midnight, and in the early mornings, the person is also affected by damp environments and sudden motions, the symptoms can also be worsened if the person eats cold food or drinks any significant amount of fluids, the consumption of cheese, ice cream and foods such as fruits, or perhaps bad meat can trigger symptoms, the use of alcohol also worsens the symptoms, particularly in the aged. The condition of the patient can greatly improve in warm environs; the consumption of milk can also alleviate symptoms. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Arsenicum album as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the diarrhea.
China is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted by diarrhea which induces such physical symptoms such as the production of yellow, watery and semi-digested stool following the consumption of a meal. Such symptoms initially become apparent only in the night time or first thing at midnight. The person may greatly desire sour fruits to put off the physical symptoms. Physical symptoms also include changes in the complexion of the individual; the patient tends to have a very pale face with the presence of dark circles under the eyes. The person also suffers from disorders such as a colic before the passage of stools especially in the afternoons. This remedy can be used in the treatment of all cases of diarrhea which can result from the consumption of fruits or the one that occurs following an illness of some other kind. The person also suffers from a great physical weakness; he or she may tremble from the continuous loss of fluids during the appearance of symptoms. The person also tends to have a persistent thirst for small amounts of fluids. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen on alternate days, he or she dislikes being touched in any part of the body, motions and jarring movements worsen the symptoms. The condition of the patient can greatly improve when some pressure is applied to the body, when the person is fasting, and when he or she wears loose clothing throughout the day. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of China as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the diarrhea.
Podophyllum is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from diarrhea in which the physical sensations can include the presence of a rumbling sensation allover the abdominal region. This is usually followed by the giving off of a painless and profuse diarrheal stools. Physical symptoms also include the giving off of mostly yellow, pasty and putrid looking stools, on the other hand the stools can given off can be quite profuse, often gushing out, and tend to be painless-they also tend to be watery and slimy from mucus content. Physical symptoms in the person also include a sudden weakening after passing stools, this results in an empty and sick feeling. The other symptoms can include some soreness in the abdominal region lying above the liver. The rectal region of the individual tends to be raw and sore, it is often prolapsed into the cavity. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen very early in the mornings, the symptoms also tend to worsen after eating or drinking during the day, the symptoms can also worsen in hot weather and when the person is exposed to motion. The condition of the patient also improves when he or she lies on the stomach, rubbing the abdominal region can also reduce the symptoms. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Podophyllum as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
Sulphur is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from diarrhea in which the symptoms can include the production of violent and urgent diarrheal stools at around five in the mornings. Physical symptoms also include the presence of very weak bowel actions and the weakening of the anal sphincter as a result of continuous passage of stools. The other symptoms of the illness include the presence of a persistent urges and constant colic sensations. The other physical sensations include the presence of a severe itching sensation, along with the presence of a persistent burning and crawling, in the very raw anal region. The person is also often affected by a prolapsed anal cavity. The stool production is rather changeable, and as a rule the stool passed is semi-digested, often very mushy, and frothy from the mucus content. The stools also possess the smell of rotten eggs which has a very bad stink. The person also tends to suffer from a very bad body odor. The person often becomes hot as a result of the diarrhea. The other physical symptoms can include the presence of an empty sensation in the stomach, and the development of sudden hunger at around ten in the morning. The condition of the person often worsens following the consumption of food and drink, the drinking of milk, and the exposure to any damp areas can also worsen symptoms, the physical symptoms also worsen at night, the symptoms also worsen as a result of some suppressed skin diseases. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Sulphur as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the diarrhea.
- Veratrum album
Veratrum album is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from diarrhea, which induces a lot of symptoms, often present with a cutting colic, the person may also suffer from vomiting, the development of cold sweats, physical collapse, and extreme emotional or physical weakness. The person is also affected by the production of very watery and green or blackish stools with a lot of flakes-this form of stool produced is known as "rice water stool". The stools produced often tend to be odorless and frequent. The patient produces relatively large stools with a lot of physical straining, this phase is often followed by sudden diarrheal stools which are watery and stink. Physical symptoms include the presence of a great weakening, and sudden faints following the period of excretion. The condition of the patient often worsens when the person consumes a lot of cold fluids, when he or she is in motion, when she is experiencing the menstrual cycle, in hot weather and at night, symptoms can also be worsened by the consumption of fruits and other types of foods. The condition of the patient can greatly improve when the person has some hot drinks, when he or she goes for walking. The person often has a very great craving for all kinds of cold drinks and acid rich fruits. The patient is often averse to warm food of any kind. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Veratrum album as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the diarrhea.
Additional things you may do
It is very important to drink plenty of water and clear liquids at all times. This precaution is to prevent the onset of dehydration in the body-since, the fluid lost during diarrhea is often very great and can lead to severe complications and even death. Following the onset of the diarrhea, change your dietary regimen, and try to avoid the use of milk, any citrus fruits, and the use of alcohol, including the use of any high-fiber food products. During this time period, you should eat a lot of bland foods, this includes fruits such as bananas and white rice which are easy on the stomach and promote the hardening of stools. Only properly cooked foods must be consumed, whenever you find yourself traveling to areas suspected of having contaminated water and food. Use only bottled water and avoid the use of ice cubes to chill water in such areas-suspected water must not be used even to brush your teeth, as even here accidental swallowing is possible and infection can always occur.
- Agrimony, drink as a tea one cup up to six times daily. Use one tbsp. of agrimony leaves per cup of hot water; then let it steep for 15 minutes, strain. Drink as needed. Agrimony tea should not be used with anticoagulants.
- Psyllium, one to three tbsp. of psyllium powder dissolved in juice or water daily. Drink extra water throughout the day.
- Raspberry / Blackberry leaf, drink as a tea one cup up to six times daily. Use one tbsp. of herbal leaves per cup of hot water; then let it steep for 15 minutes, strain. Drink as needed.
- Acidophilus, two pills of acidophilus thrice daily on an empty stomach. Get one to two billion viable organisms per pill.
Intestinal distress and discomfort can be healed and alleviated through the use of the powdered bark of the slippery elm tree-this herbal remedy is excellent for the treatment of diarrhea. Children may not particularly like the slippery elm herb as it has very little flavor. Prepare the herbal powder in the form of a paste for children-do this by combining the powder with a little bit of water, or some apple juice, even applesauce can be used if the child prefers it. Dosage for children of this herbal remedy can be a single teaspoon every day for children between three and six years of age. Dosage for children between the ages of seven and twelve can be one teaspoon of the herbal paste, two to three times every day during the dosage period. Bacterial infections that cause diarrhea can be healed by the use of the goldenseal herb. Dosage of this herbal remedy for children between the ages of three can be six to three drops of the juice, taken thrice every day, for a treatment period lasting two days at a stretch. Children who are between the ages of seven and twelve can be given ten drops, thrice every day, for a treatment period lasting two days at a stretch. A Chinese herbal formula known as Curing Pills can be used in the alleviation of a wide variety of digestive problems, which includes digestive disorders such as diarrhea and other intestinal problems. Dosage of these pills for children who are between the ages of three and six can be a quarter tube, or half a dropper fill, taken thrice every day as long as the symptoms linger. Dosage of the same remedy for children who are between seven and twelve years of age can be one third of a tube, or one fill of the dropper, taken thrice every day as long as the diarrhea persists. The kuzu root and the umeboshi-salt- plum can be made into paste, which is also very helpful in alleviating intestinal problems in the patient suffering from diarrhea.
Other beneficial herbs