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What Causes Diarrhea?

Chronic Diarrhea continued...

3. Diarrhea caused by chronic conditions

Diarrhea that doesn’t go away might be letting you know you have an untreated medical condition. If diarrhea lasts longer than three days, ask your doctor of you might have any of these diarrhea-causing conditions:

Coping With Diarrhea

  1. Rehydrate. Water replaces fluid but not electrolytes lost through diarrhea. Electrolytes are minerals that help your body manage its fluid levels, muscle activity, and other important functions. Go for soup and broth with sodium, fruit drinks or a rehydration fluid such as Ceralyte, Oralyte, or Pedialyte. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise against using sports drinks to rehydrate after a bout of diarrhea.
  2. Eat bland, safe foods. When you have diarrhea, stick with soup and broth. When you feel ready, add lean meat, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and bread.
  3. Avoid food triggers. To put an end to diarrhea, steer clear of foods and drinks containing caffeine and lots of sugar, as well as sugar substitutes and fried or fatty foods. Also take a break from high-fiber foods, spicy foods, dairy products, and foods known to cause gas, such as beans, broccoli, and cabbage.
  4. Wash your hands. When you have diarrhea, wash even more often than normal, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating. Don’t bequeath your discomfort to family and friends -- have someone else prepare meals, or order out.

Many things can cause diarrhea, from environmental factors to chronic conditions. Pay attention to your symptoms and be sure to keep yourself hydrated and nourished until the diarrhea clears up. If the problem continues longer than two days, seek medical attention.

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Reviewed on September 10, 2011
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