Treatments for Diarrhea


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Treatment list for Diarrhea: The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Diarrhea includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Newborns and infants require very special care because dehydration can be dangerous
  • Children need special attention as many medications may be inappropriate
  • Watchful waiting - sometimes diarrhea is not serious enough to need significant treatment.
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
    • Immodium AD
  • Dehydration prevention treatments - one of the most important treatment aspects of diarrhea is avoiding dehydration (or treating it), particularly for infants, children and the elderly.
    • Water - but not enough alone, need electrolytes as well.
    • Fluids - broth or soups (for salt/sodium)
    • Fruit juices
    • Soft fruits
    • Vegetables (for potassium)
    • Infant rehydration solutions - special medications containing the required electrolytes
      • Pedialyte
      • Ceralyte
      • Infalyte

Treatment of Diarrhea: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Diarrhea:

Treatments of Diarrhea discussion: In most cases, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. (See "Preventing Dehydration" below.) Medicines that stop diarrhea may be helpful in some cases, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhea is from a bacterial infection or parasite--stopping the diarrhea traps the organism in the intestines, prolonging the problem. Instead, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. Viral causes are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of the virus.

Preventing Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body has lost too much fluid and electrolytes (the salts potassium and sodium). The fluid and electrolytes lost during diarrhea need to be replaced promptly--the body cannot function properly without them. Dehydration is particularly dangerous for children, who can die from it within a matter of days.

Although water is extremely important in preventing dehydration, it does not contain electrolytes. To maintain electrolyte levels, you could have broth or soups, which contain sodium, and fruit juices, soft fruits, or vegetables, which contain potassium.

For children, doctors often recommend a special rehydration solution that contains the nutrients they need. You can buy this solution in the grocery store without a prescription. Examples include Pedialyte, Ceralyte, and Infalyte.

Tips About Food

Until diarrhea subsides, try to avoid milk products and foods that are greasy, high-fiber, or very sweet. These foods tend to aggravate diarrhea.

As you improve, you can add soft, bland foods to your diet, including bananas, plain rice, boiled potatoes, toast, crackers, cooked carrots, and baked chicken without the skin or fat. For children, the pediatrician may recommend what is called the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. 1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Diarrhea: NIDDK

Last revision: Nov 11, 2003

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