Diarrhea is one of the most annoying conditions we can go through. Generally, it does not entail any seriousness and disappears by itself as it has arrived. But that does not mean that when we go through an episode of decomposition we have a bad time and we want to finish it off as soon as possible.
When we are in the middle of a diarrhea episode, our body barely tolerates any food and anything that we put in our mouth only increases the symptoms, but it is very important to know what we have to eat and how to act with this condition.
What is acute diarrhea?
We all know what diarrhea is, this is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal disorders, so for some reason or other everyone has gone through any of these episodes at some point in their lives. But even if it is so common, over time the definition of what we know of diarrhea has changed. At first we talked about the weight of the feces as well as the fact that they were abundant, however, a person in whose diet the fiber has a lot of weight will also have abundant stools and weight without this meaning that he has diarrhea. Finally, it has been decided to define diarrhea as episodes in which feces are liquid.
But why are we talking about acute diarrhea? Are there other types of diarrhea? The answer to this second question is that yes, depending on the duration of these episodes we can distinguish between prolonged, chronic diarrhea and acute diarrhea , regardless of the cause or origin of each of them. So, when the duration of diarrhea is longer than 2 weeks, we are talking about prolonged diarrhea and if it lasts longer than 3 it is chronic, when it is less than 2 weeks it is acute diarrhea.
Another aspect to take into account acute diarrhea is that its onset is sudden. An example of this type of episodes is traveler’s diarrhea, which is common among people who travel to areas with poor sanitation under hygienic conditions.
Acute diarrhea: causes
Unlike chronic diarrhea, which is usually due to internal conditions and pathologies in the digestive system of the patient, acute diarrhea is usually suffered:
- After eating or drinking contaminated products ,
- After suffering an infection
- As an allergic reaction.
These liquid stools are maintained the time in which these microorganisms or those harmful products last in the body and, as soon as our immune system overcomes, the stools return to their usual texture.
Symptoms of diarrhea
The symptoms of acute diarrhea are very recognizable. Here we explain them:
- Liquid and soft stools
- Abundant stools
- Abdominal pain
- There may be fever
- It usually lasts between 2 and 4 days
- Tenesmo, or the feeling of having to go to the bathroom right after having defecated
- There may also be vomiting and nausea
One of the greatest dangers that an episode of acute diarrhea can have is that if the liquid that is lost is not replaced, the person can suffer dehydration. That is why in the case of the elderly and young children, the main risk groups, we must pay special attention so that the body hydrates.
Acute diarrhea: medications
Despite what you may believe, in most cases it is not necessary or advisable to follow a pharmacological treatment to treat diarrhea. Normally, these episodes last a couple of days, with or without treatment, so it is better to let the infection run its course and the body eliminate it alone. However, in certain cases, antidiarrheal may be taken to relieve some of their symptoms such as pain and abdominal cramps.
However, there is another aspect that people overlook and that should be taken into account before taking any medication for diarrhea. If this condition is caused by a bacterial or parasitic infection, antidiarrheal drugs can be counterproductive. The case is that the antidiarreicos can cut the deposition, but the feces are the way by which the body is getting rid of the parasite or the bacterium, what can suppose that we unnecessarily extend that infection.
The conclusion is that before taking anything we should always consult with the doctor what is the best option to follow. In other cases it may be necessary to take antibiotics, and in this case, as well as that of over-the-counter medications, there should always be the specialist’s opinion supporting their use.
As we have already said, there is no specific treatment designed for diarrhea, but depending on its cause and symptoms, one option or another can be chosen. What you can do to treat diarrhea is to follow a proper diet and a feeding style that suits your needs. Here we will explain how to treat acute diarrhea with diet.
What to do in case of acute diarrhea: diet
As we have already mentioned, dehydration is the main complication that diarrhea can cause. To avoid this, we have to be aware of recovering all the fluids that we are losing because of this episode. Obviously, depending on the frequency and amount of diarrhea, the fluid that we will have to replace will be higher or lower. On the other hand, if we have vomiting or our body does not accept it, we should also go carefully.
Obviously, water should be a staple in our diet. It is advisable, so that we do not fall ill, go drinking in small sips throughout the day instead of giving long drinks. If you want to give it some flavor you can also add lemon juice and, if your state allows it, you can prepare the following drinks:
- Rice water:boil a handful of rice with water for 30 minutes. After that time, strain the liquid and let it cool to drink it later.
- Carrot water: itis a process identical to rice water but, in this case, replacing it with a carrot cut into pieces.
- Homemade serum: itis a great solution to recover the liquid as well as the salts and electrolytes that you have lost during the diarrhea. Its preparation is very simple. You must take a liter of water and add 2 tablespoons of sugar, half a tablespoon of baking soda, half a spoonful of salt and a glass of natural lemon juice.
- Good infusions for diarrhea.
Once your body is perfectly tolerant of liquids, you will be able to add more solid foods, but with care. Some of the products that you can include in your diet for acute diarrhea are:
- The apple, both baked and scratched or boiled.
- The banana
- Boiled rice without any other addition
- The quince
- The boiled carrot
- Toasted white bread
- Vegetable broth without oil
Once you notice a considerable improvement in your condition and have no problem eating soft foods, you can continue adding the following foods to your diet:
- Boiled potato
- Wholemeal bread
- Fruit, know the fruits for diarrhea.
- almond milk
- Grilled chicken
- White fish grilled, boiled or baked
Water diarrhea: food to avoid
If it is already important to know what products you can eat, in these occasions it is even more important to know what products should not be eaten. Until a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the episode of diarrhea has ended and when the person no longer feels any discomfort, the following foods should be avoided:
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt or cheeses.
- Fat meats and processed meats.
- Beverages and carbonated soft drinks.
- Spicy foods
- Precooked foods.
What to do in case of diarrhea to avoid infection
According to what infections that cause diarrhea can be very contagious, so it is essential to follow a series of basic hygiene measures to prevent people close to get infected. Below we explain what you should do to avoid it:
- Both the sick person and the rest of people who live with her have to wash their hands with water and soap before each meal and each time they go to the bathroom.
- Sick people should not prepare food.
- It is very important to keep all food products in good condition: good condition, respect the expiration dates and the original containers.
- Thoroughly clean all dishes, glasses and cutlery used by the patient.
When to go to the doctor for diarrhea
As we have said, acute diarrhea is usually a condition that goes away on its own after 2 or 3 days. Anyway, we recommend you keep in mind the following tips to know when to go to the doctor for diarrhea:
- If you have a fever higher than 38˚C persistently.
- If you have mucus, pus or blood in the stool.
- If the abdominal pain is constant and persistent.
- If the diarrhea episode lasts for more than 3 days.
- If you see that, over time, the symptoms are getting worse.