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How to get rid of watery diarrhea: Treatment Options for Diarrhea

Treatment Options for Diarrhea

Make Sure You Replace Fluids

Since diarrhea can lead to dehydration, it’s important to replace the fluids your body is losing. Drink plenty of water when you’re suffering from diarrhea. However, many times water will not be enough as it does not contain the salts, electrolytes, and minerals (such as sodium and potassium) that your body also needs to recover.

You can help replenish electrolytes by drinking fruit juices or sports drinks and eating soups with clear broth. However, pay attention to the amount of sugar in these drinks, as too much sugar can worsen diarrhea symptoms.

For children, talk to your pediatrician about oral rehydration solutions, such as Pedialyte, as a way to treat diarrhea and prevent dehydration.

If the diarrhea is severe, your doctor may determine that you need to be treated with fluid via intravenous therapy (IV). (1)

Eat a Bland Diet

A bland diet will be easy on your digestive system and can help ease diarrhea symptoms. A bland diet consists of foods that are soft, not spicy, and low in fiber. You should also avoid raw foods, fried foods, and drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

Some foods that are good to eat on a bland diet include bread, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour; soup, especially broth; cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables; eggs; tofu; and lean, tender protein, such as poultry or whitefish, that is steamed, baked, or grilled with no added fat.

While you’re on a bland diet, foods that you may want to avoid include fatty or fried foods; raw vegetables; sugary foods; dried fruits or seedy fruits like berries or figs; whole-grain bread, crackers, or pasta; strong cheeses; spicy or strongly flavored items like hot peppers and garlic; and highly seasoned, cured, or smoked meats and fish. (2)

Talk to your doctor about when you should go back to eating other foods again.

Consider Taking Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that can help restore balance to the intestinal tract by boosting the level of what doctors refer to as “good” bacteria. Probiotics are sold in pharmacies and health-food stores and can be taken in capsule or liquid form. They are also sometimes added to foods, such as certain brands of yogurt.

Studies show that taking probiotics might be helpful in treating certain cases of diarrhea.

More in Digestive Health

Can Probiotics Aid Digestive Health?

For example, in 2010 researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration analyzed 63 studies with about 8,000 total participants that looked at the effectiveness of probiotics for acute diarrhea.

The results showed that about 34 out of 100 people who didn’t take probiotics no longer had diarrhea after three days. Of the people who did take probiotics, 55 out of 100 were diarrhea free after three days. Another way to look at it is probiotics appeared to help diarrhea go away faster in 21 out of 100 people. (3)

However, more research is needed to better understand which strains of bacteria and what doses are most helpful.

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What to Eat and What to Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

Occasional diarrhea is nothing to worry about. The causes of diarrhea can range from a stomach flu to a specific meal or ingredient you ate that didn’t sit well. Because certain foods can worsen symptoms, it’s good to know the foods you should eat when you have diarrhea — and what you should avoid. (1)

You want to eat plain, simple foods, especially in the first 24 hours, says Peter Higgins, MD, PhD, the director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“It is best to eat thicker, bland foods, including oatmeal, bananas, plain rice, and applesauce,” he says.

Avoid These Foods When You Have Diarrhea

As important as it is to know what to eat when you have diarrhea, you should also know which foods to avoid. Certain foods can travel through your intestines very quickly and aggravate your digestion, or worsen diarrhea in other ways.

Avoid the following for diarrhea relief:

  • Fatty Foods These include foods that are fried, greasy, or covered in gravy, which can make diarrhea worse.
  • Milk, Butter, Ice Cream, and Cheese Even if the diarrhea isn’t caused by lactose intolerance — a difficulty processing lactose, a sugar found in dairy products — stay away from these foods when you have diarrhea. You may be temporarily sensitive to dairy products, even if you usually have no problem with them. Probiotic-rich yogurt may be the one exception to this rule, as some studies have shown probiotics help rebalance intestinal flora and could shorten the duration of a bout of diarrhea.
  • Alcohol and Sodas When you have diarrhea, you want to steer clear of foods and beverages that cause you to lose fluids. Alcohol can act as a diuretic, meaning it’s dehydrating, and should be avoided, Dr. Higgins says. Sodas with high-fructose corn syrup can also pose a problem if you have diarrhea. Large quantities of fructose can overwhelm your digestive system and lead to gas, bloating, or diarrhea. (4)
  • Sorbitol and Other Artificial Sweeteners Some people find that artificial sweeteners have a laxative effect on their digestive system. If you have diarrhea, it’s best to pass on sugarless candy and gum, diet soft drinks, and sugar substitutes. Consuming sugars, including artificial ones, causes your intestines to produce more water and electrolytes, which can then loosen bowel movements and lead to diarrhea. (5)
  • Foods That Cause Excess Gas It’s important to eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. But when diarrhea strikes, you want to avoid choices that are likely to increase intestinal gas, such as cabbage, beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, until you’re feeling better.
  • Foods That May Be Spoiled Stay away from foods that may have been mishandled, including foods that have been out of the refrigerator for too long or improperly stored. Raw meat or fish can be problematic, too. Follow the old maxim, “When in doubt, throw it out,” and you may save yourself some stomach upset.

Other Strategies for Tackling Your Diarrhea

One of the more serious complications of diarrhea is dehydration. When you have diarrhea for any length of time, take steps to avoid becoming dehydrated by consuming enough liquids, Higgins says.

More in Digestive Health

3 Ways to Treat Diarrhea

“Look for liquids with sugar and salt — Pedialyte or full-salt soups work well,” he says. “If your urine is not clear, or you are not making much urine, you are not drinking enough.”

In terms of diarrhea treatment, Higgins says, if you don’t have an infection and are not seeing blood, you can take over-the-counter loperamide (Imodium) to slow your bowel movements. But this kind of medication should only be taken for a day or two.

If diet and simple remedies aren’t working, and if symptoms persist for more than a few days and include bleeding, gas, and bloating, you should see a doctor. Your doctor can determine whether the diarrhea is caused by a more serious condition, and can recommend treatment.

RELATED: When Diarrhea Is More Serious Than You Think

Additional reporting by María Villaseñor.

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Water diarrhea – causes and treatment of watery diarrhea

Co-author, editor and medical expert – Klimovich Elina Valerievna.

Editor and medical expert – Harutyunyan Mariam Harutyunovna.

Number of views: 1,308,183

Date last updated: 2 Contents:

How water is absorbed in the intestines
Causes of secretory diarrhea
What to do if the diarrhea is watery?

Diarrhea can have different causes, but is always accompanied by changes in intestinal absorption of water and electrolytes. And with secretory diarrhea, this process is not only disrupted, but is replaced by active transport of electrolytes into the intestinal lumen and, after them, water. The osmolar pressure of the intestinal contents becomes lower than the osmolar pressure of the blood plasma. This supports the diffusion of water into the intestinal lumen and is fraught with rapid dehydration due to the development of diarrhea with water. At the same time, the stool is liquid, plentiful (more than 1 liter), defecation is painless, and fasting practically does not change the nature and quantity of bowel movements. If secretory diarrhea is accompanied by malabsorption of bile acids or a decrease in the contractile function of the gallbladder, the watery stool becomes bright yellow or greenish in color. This is called hologenic diarrhea.

How water is absorbed in the intestines

Every day a person consumes about 2 liters of water. It is found not only in drinks, but also in all the foods eaten. In addition, fluid enters the lumen of the digestive tract as part of the digestive secrets. And about 7 liters are released per day! This includes 1.5 liters of saliva and pancreatic juice, 2.5 liters of gastric juice, half a liter of bile and a liter of intestinal secretions. Total enters the intestinal lumen daily up to 9liters of water, and only 100-200 ml (that is, about 2%) of this volume is excreted with feces. The walls of the small intestine absorb up to 80% of all liquid, and 90% of the remaining amount is absorbed in the large intestine.

In this case, water is absorbed secondarily and passively, following the active transport of electrolytes through the walls of the digestive tract. Sodium ions play the most important role in this process, but potassium and chlorine also take an active part. All these electrolytes enter the intestine with food and digestive juices and are actively absorbed. At the same time, the final absorption of water and absorption up to 90% sodium occurs in the large intestine. As a result, rather dense fecal masses are normally formed here.

Causes of secretory diarrhea


  • Drugs. Some medications cause watery diarrhea. They increase the osmotic pressure inside the intestine or change the transport of ions in the intestinal wall. Watery diarrhea often occurs when taking laxatives, diuretics, drugs for the treatment of bronchial asthma and thyroid diseases. Cholinergic drugs have a great influence. These include certain myasthenic, cardiotonic, and antihypertensive agents, as well as antidepressants and agents for the treatment of dementia.
  • Toxins. Secretory diarrhea can occur against the background of poisoning with fungi, arsenic, organophosphorus compounds, insecticides, alcohol and a number of other drugs.
  • Viral and bacterial infections . A number of infections cause watery diarrhea due to exposure to the pathogens themselves and their toxins. These are cholera, yersiniosis, some strains of Escherichia coli and staphylococci that produce enterotoxins.


  • Hereditary diseases. There is a congenital secretory pathology (chloridorrhoea, sodium diarrhea), the cause of which lies in the mutation of the genes of intestinal wall transport proteins. The disease manifests itself in a child from birth.
  • Hormone-producing tumors. Pathological secretion of ions and water in the intestine can be promoted by some tumors – medullary thyroid carcinoma, VIPoma, gastrinoma, mastocytoma and others.
  • Bile salts. Ingestion of non-adsorbed bile acids and free long-chain fatty acids into the large intestine leads to the secretion of water into the intestinal lumen. The reason for this is a violation of the absorption of bile acids in diseases (for example, in Crohn’s disease) or due to a decrease in the absorption area. This happens after resection of more than 100 cm of the ileum.

What if the diarrhea is watery?

Loperamide (active ingredient IMODIUM ® Express) binds to opiate receptors in the intestinal wall, inhibits the local production of acetylcholine, calmodulin and prostaglandins. Calcium channels are also blocked, the permeability of plasma membranes decreases and the activity of intestinal motility decreases. As a result, the secretion of water into the intestinal lumen is significantly reduced, and its absorption is enhanced. Therefore, IMODIUM ® Express can be used in the complex treatment of secretory diarrhea (water diarrhea).

The information in this article is for reference only and does not replace professional medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, contact a qualified specialist.

“Imodium is contraindicated for use in children under 6 years of age.”

See also:

  • Bear disease

causes, symptoms and use of IMODIUM® in combination for treatment

Author, editor and medical expert – Ekaterina Aleksandrovna Zavgorodnyaya.

Editor and medical expert – Harutyunyan Mariam Harutyunovna.

Number of views: 200 136

Date of last update: 06/25/2023


Features of “bear disease”
Causes of “bear disease”
Other causes
Can bear disease be cured?

Have you ever wondered why bear disease is called that? This folk expression, meaning “diarrhea from fear”, came into our everyday life a long time ago – with the beginning of the bear hunt. To make the beast an easy prey, the hunters sneaked up to the lair while the ferocious predator was still in hibernation, and with the help of various metal objects created as much noise as possible. The loud sound frightened and disoriented the beast, forcing it to “run wherever its eyes look.” At the same time, almost always, the awakened bear began severe diarrhea 1 .

Sudden onset of diarrhea caused by a strong nervous shock is still popularly called “bear disease” 1 . But it has a more scientific name – irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 1.10 . And although such a disorder is not a disease in full measure, its manifestations can disrupt the usual rhythm of life 2 .

This article will tell you about the causes of “bear sickness” and ways to relieve diarrhea.

Features of “bear disease”

IBS can occur with both constipation and diarrhea. The diarrheal form is characterized by the passage of mushy or watery feces on average 3-5 times a day. The stool does not contain any impurities, blood or pus 3 .

Please note!

In “bear disease” the urge to defecate is often difficult to contain. Diarrhea usually appears in the morning, after breakfast, accompanied by pain and bloating. This typical manifestation of IBS is called “morning rush syndrome” or “morning storm” 3 . If diarrhea forces you to wake up at night and run to the toilet, then it is unlikely that you have irritable bowel syndrome 3 .

Causes of “bear’s disease”

In case of diarrheal form of IBS, the intestine reacts to various provoking factors with increased contraction. As a result, the transit (movement) of the intestinal masses is accelerated – the stool becomes frequent 2 . “Bear disease” can occur due to stress, and not only emotional. What factors become stressful for our intestines – we will talk further.

Stressed intestines

As before, so today, “bear disease” is primarily associated with a strong nervous shock. This situation is familiar to students taking exams, artists before performing in public 12 . Even the lack of support during emotional experiences and the inability to properly navigate life’s difficulties 3 can lead to diarrhea.

Reaction to stress, susceptibility to it and the skill of coping with it are formed in childhood under the influence of environment and traditions. That’s when a “failure” may occur.0089 2 . Strong emotional reaction and stress can lead to impaired intestinal motility (motor function) through the brain-gut axis 11 . In turn, the “bear disease” itself becomes a cause of stress – there may be a fear that diarrhea will “catch up” outside the home, for example, at work or in transport. This is how a vicious circle arises: “stress-diarrhea-stress” 2 .

Reaction to food

“Bear disease” is often associated with a reaction to food 10 . For example, raw vegetables, fruits, cereals, which contain coarse vegetable fibers, mechanically irritate the intestinal wall and accelerate the passage of its contents 5. 11 . In people with IBS, the reaction to fiber is often more pronounced 11 .

Sweet apples, pears, grapes, honey or nuts rich in fructose can also cause diarrhea 5 . Fructose, or “fruit sugar”, as well as sweeteners, are rather poorly absorbed 5 . Remaining in the intestinal lumen, they retain water around them and stimulate intestinal motility 5.6 .

Diarrhea can be experienced by diabetics who consume diet foods, lovers of confectionery and chewing gum. These products usually contain poorly absorbed sweeteners – mannitol and sorbitol 5 .

Changes in the microbiota

The microbiota, or microbial community, actively regulates colon function. But the correct signals from the microbiota come only with its normal composition. If the number of “harmful” microorganisms increases, and “useful” decreases, then there is a well-known dysbacteriosis 4 . Then representatives of the “harmful” part of the microbiota penetrate the intestinal wall, trigger immune reactions in it and maintain sluggish inflammation. This sluggish inflammation is enough to make the intestine more sensitive to various irritants and to change the permeability of the intestinal wall 4.11 . Sluggish inflammation can even increase bowel contractions and impair the transport of water and salts across the gut wall, all of which contribute to the “bear sickness” response to stress 11 .

What can disturb the composition of the microbiota? Firstly, it is food that some bacteria love and “do not digest” others 11 . Secondly, it is the transferred infections. Due to dysbacteriosis, “bear disease” often occurs after a bacterial or viral intestinal infection, as well as after taking antibacterial drugs 4 .

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Other causes

There are a number of factors that further increase the risk of IBS symptoms, including bear sickness 2 :

  • living in major cities;
  • “office” work;
  • tobacco smoking.

Sometimes the cause of “bear disease” is found in excessive sports training. The repeated pushes and bumps during intense and long running can injure the intestinal mucosa, which is why runners often develop diarrhea 7 .

Can bear disease be cured?

Before starting treatment, doctors prescribe tests, carefully examine a person to rule out diseases of the internal organs that are manifested by diarrhea. And only if no other causes of diarrhea are identified, specialists diagnose irritable bowel syndrome 2 .

Therapy for the disorder usually includes various drugs to reduce anxiety, relieve spasm, and relieve symptoms 11 . To combat the actual “neurogenic stool”, that is, diarrhea, doctors may recommend antidiarrheal drugs. Loperamide is recommended as the drug of first choice 11 .

Loperamide – active ingredient of the drug Imodium® Express . It reduces peristalsis (intestinal contractions), thereby slowing down the movement of feces. Imodium® Express also facilitates stool retention and reduces the urge to defecate by increasing the tone of the anal sphincter 8 .

Imodium® Express :

  • can start working as early as 1 hour after ingestion, relieving diarrhea from the first application in 80% of cases 9;
  • is indicated for acute and chronic diarrhea caused by allergic reactions, emotional stress, errors in diet or drugs 8 ;
  • is easy to take anywhere – lyophilisate tablet with special technology Zydis® ( Zaydis) dissolves on the tongue in a few seconds and does not require drinking water 8 .

Before using Imodium® Express, read the instructions and consult your doctor. Do not take the drug if you have a high temperature and blood in your stool 8 .

After alleviating the symptoms of “bear disease”, one more question arises before a person – is it possible to prevent such an intestinal reaction? Knowing what factor provokes your diarrhea, it is quite possible to reduce the chances of diarrhea.

To keep IBS from getting worse, follow these tips:

  • Rest – Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night 2 .
  • Manage stress – use various techniques to overcome anxiety and nervous tension, if necessary – seek help from a psychotherapist 2 .
  • Watch your diet. Limit foods high in fiber or sugar 11 . These substances can increase gas production and bowel contraction, causing diarrhea 11 . Also try temporarily cutting out coffee, honey, milk and nuts 11 . Keeping a food diary can help to calculate food provocateurs 12 .

  • Do your exercise . Physical activity helps improve bowel function 2 , but it is better to refuse from excessive loads in case of “bear disease” 12 .
  • See your doctor regularly to adjust your treatment, get new advice, and make sure you’re doing the right thing.