Dietary Tips to Help Replace Lost Electrolytes with Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common health complaint and can range from mild to severe—the abnormally wet stool results from various causes, including a viral or parasitic infection. Sometimes diarrhea can happen even with the normal functioning of your digestive system because of infections like irritable bowel syndrome. Though most diarrheal bouts are not serious and might last for around 3 days, delayed treatment might cause dehydration. During your Cypress diarrhea diagnosis, your doctor will inquire about symptoms, medications you may be using, and your medical history before requesting further tests. The information helps the medical professional design the best treatment option to alleviate your symptoms.
What are the common causes of diarrhea?
Most diarrhea cases result from an infection in your gastrointestinal tract, thanks to microbes like parasitic organisms, bacteria, and viruses. However, not all forms of diarrhea result from microbe-causing factors. You are likely to have chronic diarrhea even when your digestive system looks normal. Your healthcare provider might describe the situation as functional diarrhea in such instances. The common causes of functional diarrhea include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Other causes of diarrhea include:
- Lactose intolerance. You are likely to have a wet stool if your digestive system fails to break down the sugar present in dairy products like milk. The intolerance increases with age because the enzyme levels that help in lactose digestion lower as you get older.
- Medications. Drugs that intentionally or unintentionally kill the good bacteria affect your natural bacterial balance in the intestines, resulting in superimposed infections or diarrhea. Medications likely to cause diarrhea include antibiotics, antacids (with magnesium), and anti-cancer drugs.
- Fructose. Naturally existing sugar in fruits and honey might cause diarrhea in individuals whose digestive system finds it difficult to digest.
Diarrhea can be life-threatening, especially if you fail to seek medical treatment. The infection causes dehydration and can be particularly dangerous if you have a weak immune system. Common signs of dehydration are:
- Little or no urination
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Dry mouth and skin
- Excessive thirst
- Dark urine
- Sunken abdomen, cheeks, and eyes
- Irritability and unresponsiveness in infants
How can diet help you with diarrhea?
Infants, young children, and the elderly are usually the most affected by dehydration. Thus, rehydration is vital to help the individuals replace the lost fluids and electrolytes. However, your healthcare provider might still recommend intravenous fluids to help boost your fluid levels. Dietary tips likely to help with diarrhea include:
- Sip on clear fluids without added sweeteners or sugar
- Increase your intake of potassium-rich foods and drinks like fruit juices and bananas
- Replace your lost fluids with at least a cup of anything liquid after every visit to the washroom
- Consume sodium-rich fluids and foods like soups and broths
- Limit your intake of foods and drinks likely to worsen the condition. For instance, you may refrain from sugary, creamy, or fried foods.
- Increase your intake of soluble-fiber foods like rice and oatmeal to help thicken your stool
- Take lots of fluids between meals
Diarrhea will not always result from a bacterial or viral infection. Sometimes the condition might be a symptom of an underlying chronic ailment that needs immediate medical intervention. However, diagnosis and early treatment might help minimize your risks. Consult your doctor if the infection worries you for professional help.