To avoid dehydration, learn how to stop diarrhea before it causes serious medical problems. Short bouts of diarrhea are not serious and are usually the result of anxiety or eating food that irritates the digestive system, but long-term bouts of diarrhea can cause severe dehydration. Follow these simple steps to stop diarrhea and restore your health.
Identify What Caused the Diarrhea
Consider your circumstances. Are you traveling in a developing country where the food or water may not be safe to consume? Did you eat old leftovers or food at a picnic where the food might not have been properly refrigerated? Have you changed the diapers of a baby lately? Have you eaten outside where you might have picked up a parasite or bacteria? If you are pretty sure you are not harboring bacteria or a parasite, you can use an over-the-counter diarrhea treatment such as Immodium or Pepto Bismol.
Avoid Irritating Foods
Do not drink caffeine and avoid spicy, fried, sugary, oily or high-fiber foods. Instead eat a bland diet of noodles, rice, bananas, toast and applesauce. If you think you might have a bacterial imbalance, add a small amount of yogurt with live cultures into this anti-diarrhea diet. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-replacing beverages.
Activity, anxiety and heat can worsen a case of diarrhea. Try to relax in a cool, quiet place.
Sooth Your Sore Bottom
You may wish to use petroleum jelly or hemorrhoid cream to provide relief.
See a Doctor if…
If you experience severe abdominal pain that goes beyond the norm or if your diarrhea lasts more than three days, you should see a doctor. It's especially important to see a doctor if you've been using an over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication for those three days and are not seeing long-term relief. You may have a parasite or bacteria you are trapping inside your intestines, making the situation worse.
There are several causes of diarrhea, most of which are avoidable.
If you're worried that diarrhea may be contagious, read this primer on preventing the spread of diarrhea.
Wondering how diarrhea affects the body? Learn what causes diarrhea and why it can trigger dangerous dehydration.