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What are treatments for diarrhea?

ANSWER

Most of the time diarrhea doesn't need to be treated. But some over-the-counter medicines can help you feel better.

Two types of meds relieve diarrhea in different ways:

If you have any questions, call your doctor or pharmacist. Don't give Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol to children -- it could cause dangerous health problems. Over the counter diarrhea medications are also not recommended in patients who have bloody stools or fever.

  • Loperamide (Imodium) slows the movement of food through your intestines, which lets your body absorb more liquid.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol) balances out how fluid moves through your digestive tract.

From: Treatment for Diarrhea WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

Cary G. Sauer, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine, Atlanta. 

CDC.

UpToDate.

Cleveland Clinic: "Diarrhea," "Mom's Advice Is Still the Best for Treating Diarrhea."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Anti-diarrheal Medicines: OTC Relief for Diarrhea."

Mayo Clinic: "Diarrhea: Treatment," “Diarrhea: When to see a doctor.”

Wayne State University Physician Group: "Nausea and Vomiting."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 6, 2019

SOURCES: 

Cary G. Sauer, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine, Atlanta. 

CDC.

UpToDate.

Cleveland Clinic: "Diarrhea," "Mom's Advice Is Still the Best for Treating Diarrhea."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Anti-diarrheal Medicines: OTC Relief for Diarrhea."

Mayo Clinic: "Diarrhea: Treatment," “Diarrhea: When to see a doctor.”

Wayne State University Physician Group: "Nausea and Vomiting."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 6, 2019

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When should you call your doctor and get medical help about diarrhea?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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