Diarrhea,Age 12 and Older - Home Treatment
Home treatment can help you treat
your diarrhea and avoid other related problems, such as
- Take frequent, small sips of water or a
rehydration drink and small bites of salty crackers.
- Try to increase your fluid intake to at least
1 qt (1 L) per hour for 1 to 2
hours or until diarrhea symptoms disappear.
- Begin eating mild foods the next day or sooner,
depending on how you feel.
- Avoid spicy foods, fruits, alcohol, and
caffeine until 48 hours after all symptoms have disappeared.
chewing gum that contains sorbitol.
dairy products for 3 days after symptoms disappear.
Milk products may be harder for your body to digest when you have
Nonprescription medicines for diarrhea
If you are
pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking any medicines for
Nonprescription medicines may be helpful in treating your
diarrhea. Follow these tips when taking a nonprescription medicine for
- Use nonprescription antidiarrheal medicine if
you have diarrhea for longer than 6 hours. Do not use nonprescription
antidiarrheal medicines if you have bloody diarrhea, a high fever, or other
signs of serious illness.
- Read and follow
all label directions on the nonprescription medicine bottle or box. Be sure to
take the recommended dose.
- Long-term use of nonprescription
antidiarrheal medicine is not recommended. To avoid constipation, stop taking
antidiarrheal medicines as soon as stools thicken.
- If your child or
flu, do not treat the symptoms with over-the-counter
medicines that contain bismuth subsalicylate (such as Pepto-Bismol and
Kaopectate). Subsalicylate has been linked to
Reye syndrome, a rare but serious illness. If your
child has taken this kind of medicine and he or she has changes in behavior
with nausea and vomiting, call your doctor. These symptoms could be an early
sign of Reye syndrome.
There are several types of antidiarrheal medicines: those
that absorb water and thicken the stool, and those that slow intestinal
- Thickening mixtures (such as psyllium) absorb water. This helps bulk up the stool and make it more firm.
- Antispasmodic antidiarrheals, such as Imodium A-D and Pepto
Diarrhea Control, slow intestinal spasms. Some products contain both thickening
and antispasmodic ingredients.
- Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus, are available in either pills or powder. This
bacteria occurs naturally in the intestine and may help with digestion. When
diarrhea is present, the number of these bacteria is reduced.
Learn how to clean up diarrhea safely. Protect your hands with gloves while cleaning up. Wash your hands after you are done cleaning up.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
- Signs of dehydration
- Severe diarrhea (10 or more loose watery stools in 24 hours) develops.
- Black or bloody stools develop.
- A fever
- Your symptoms become
more severe or more frequent.