Diarrhea is the condition of abnormally frequent and fluid-like bowel movements. Diarrhea may be a symptom of an underlying problem and can accompany mild and serious disorders.
Diarrhea is often a bodily defense mechanism to get rid of irritating and toxic substances, as may come from an intestinal infection, viral enteritis, or food poisoning. This reaction produces hypermotility of the bowel and consequently decreases fecal transit time. In this instance, water is not resorbed by the intestines as is normal.
There are two basic types of diarrhea: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea, the more common form, lasts about two or three days. Chronic diarrhea may linger for months with recurrent or continuous symptoms. Any diarrheal condition can be a problem if it results in dehydration and excessive loss of nutrients and body salts.
Normally, adults are not harmed by diarrhea, but it can be life threatening to children, the elderly and the debilitated. Hospitalization may be required to restore electrolytes and fluids.
It is second only to the common cold as a cause of work time lost, and is the fifth greatest cause of death among children.
Treatment for mild diarrhea can involve dietary change, removing a specific causative agent from the diet, increasing liquids to replace fluid loss, and antidiarrheal medications.
There are four major reasons for diarrhea:
1. Deletion or inhibition of normal active ion absorption
2. Stimulation of intestinal ion secretion
3. Presence of the gut lumen of unabsorbed osmotically active solutes which are substances which cause water to accumulate in their presence
4. Deranged intestinal motility
Amoebae Whipple's disease Parasites Ingestion of infectious toxins Viruses Inflammation of the colon Anal fissure Intestinal hypermotility Cirrhosis Pseudomembranous enterocolitis Hemorrhoids Drugs, particularly antibiotics Change in diet Ulcerative colitis Rectal prolapse Enzyme deficiencies Food allergies Acute renal failure Cushing's syndrome Decreased adrenal function Diabetes mellitus Irritable bowel syndrome Unabsorbed lactose, an osmotically active solute Bacteria responsible for acute food poisoning
Signs & Symptoms
Nausea Abdominal cramps Fever Flatulence Malaise Fatigue Vomiting Borborygmus Loose and frequent bowel movements
Structure & Function: Intestinal Health
Adult Child/Adolescent Acidophilus 3 - 5 tsp 1 - 3 tsp Calcium 400 - 600 mg 200 - 300 mg EPO* Folic acid* Garlic* Pectin 3 - 5 tsp 1 - 3 tsp
* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
Diarrhea may be due to several different causes, whether bacterial, or an electrolyte imbalance, or an overgrowth of yeast etc.
Garlic may also be useful, even in extreme cases, such as dysentary.
A preparation from Brewer's Yeast is a major phytopharmaceutical given for diarrhea in Germany, with sales in excess of $30 million.
Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.
The immediate concern is restoration of fluids and electrolytes to the individual's system, Accomplished by providing a Clear Liquid Diet. After 24 to 48 hours, the Low Fiber Diet may be administered to the convalescing individual.
In young children, fluids such as fruit juices and cola drinks can be used to replace lost fluids. Solids with high fluid content, such as sherbets, fruit ices, frozen fruit juice pops and flavored gelatins can also provide much needed liquids. Lactose-based fluids, such as milk, should be omitted from the diet for the duration of the illness.
Mild childhood diarrheas lasting one to four days can be treated at home. Severe diarrhea may demand hospitalization, as dehydration and fever can damage the developing central nervous system.
The treatment for chronic diarrhea depends on the underlying condition. In general, the individual may be placed on a Protein Enriched Diet supplemented with minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of food allergy. Other manifestations of food allergy include asthma, dermatitis, vomiting and/or eczema.
The most common allergenic foods are fruit juices, nuts, chocolate and milk. According to one author, more than 140 foods have been shown to cause allergic reactions. The Elimination Diet should be used to identify the offending substance or substances. The allergen can then be excluded from the diet.
Severe diarrhea may be a symptom of molybdenum intoxication. Toxicity occurs at doses greater than 1,000 micrograms per day.
1.*Ipecacuanha 30C 2. Cinchona officinalis tinct. 30C 3.*Phosphoricum acidum 15C
Advanced, by symptom:
1. Simultaneous diarrhea and vomiting (food poisoning) Arsenicum Album. Veratrum album. 2. Flatulence Carbo vegetabilis. 3. Nervousness Argentum nitricum tinct.. 4. Early morning onset (5 a.m.) Sulphur. 5. Early morning onset (4 a.m.), much flatus Podophyllum. 6. Food intolerance Aloe.
Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.
X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.
Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.
Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.
Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.
Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.
Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.
Calc. Phos. especially teething children; Ferr. Phos. sudden onset with fever; Kali Mur. light colored stools; Kali Phos. foul-smelling stools; Kali Sulf. yellow, watery stools; Mag. Phos. painful cramping relieved by hot packs; Nat. Mur. watery stools, from excess salt; Nat. Phos. sour-smelling, green stools; Nat. Sulf. bilious stools (dark or green); elderly.
Red raspberry plant
Slippery elm bark
White oak bark
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Chamomile reduces inflammation, relieves spasms, counteracts flatulence and reduces pain. (1,500 mg t.i.d. between meals.)
Peppermint oil is a carminative. (2 capsules t.i.d.)
Valerian root extract is also carminative. [2 tablets b.i.d.] (It should be avoided if pregnant!)
Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Camphor Essence, Chamomile Essence, Eucalyptus Essence, Geranium Essence, Lavender Essence, Lemon Essence, Marjoram Essence, Peppermint Essence, Rosemary Essence, Sandalwood Essence.
Related Health Conditions
Allergy Gastroenteritis Acute renal failure Hemorrhoids Adrenal fissure Inflammation Celiac disease Infection Cirrhosis Intestinal influenza Crohn's disease Irritable bowel syndrome Cramp Pain Cushing's syndrome Pseudomembranous enterocolitis Diabetes mellitus Rectal prolapse Fatigue Ulcerative colitis Fever Vomiting Food poisoning Whipple's disease
Alpers, D.H., R.E. Clouse, & W.F. Stenson. 1983. Manual of Nutritional Therapeutics. Little, Brown, and Company, Boston. 457
Ballentine, R. 1978. Diet and Nutrition. The Himalayan International Institute Pub., Honesdale, Pennsylvania. 634 pp
Bartlett, J. G.: Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 1992;15:573-581.
Bauer S et al., [Energy and nutritional intake in young weight lifters before and after nutritional counseling]. Schweiz Z Med Traumatol, :35-42, 1994.
Belknap D et al., The effects of psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid on diarrhea in enterally fed patients. Heart Lung, 26:229-37, 1997 May-Jun.
Bhandari N et al., Breast-feeding status alters the effect of vitamin A treatment during acute diarrhea in children. J Nutr, 127:59-63, 1997 Jan.
Bhatnagar S et al., Prognostic factors in hospitalized children with persistent diarrhea: implications for diet therapy. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 23:151-8, 1996 Aug.
Bhatnagar S et al., Efficacy of milk-based diets in persistent diarrhea: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics, 1996 Dec, 98:6 Pt 1, 1122-6.
Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
Chart, H. et al: Linoleic Acid Inhibition of Adhesion of Enteropathogenic Escheria Coli to HEp-2 Cells. The Lancet, July 13, 1991;338:126-127.
Chasroff, I.J. & J.W. Ellis. 1983. Family Medical Guide, William Morrow and Company Inc., pub. 594 pp.
Chicago Dietetic Association & the South Suburban Dietetic Association of Cook & Will Counties. 1981. Manual of Clinical Dietetics. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadephia.
Clausen, M.R. et al: Colonic Fermentation to Short Chain Fatty Acids is Decreased in Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea. Gastroenterology, 1991;101:1497-1504.
Clements, M.L. & T.P. Hughes. Exogenous Lactobacilli and Their Ability to Prevent Diarrheal Disease. Progress in Food Nutri Sci, 26 (1983).
DeBiasse MA & Wilmore DW: What is optimal nutritional support? New Horiz, 2:122-30, 1994 May.
Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial Populations of the Intestine and their Relationship to Intestinal Function in Man. New England Journal of Medicine, 270 (1964).
DuPont HL & Capsuto EG: Persistent diarrhea in travelers. Clin Infect Dis, 22:124-8, 1996 Jan.
Eagles, J.A. & M.N. Randall. 1980. Handbook of Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition. Raven Press, New York. 323 pp.
Eschleman, M.M. 1984. Introductory Nutrition and Diet Therapy. J.B. Lipincott Co., Philadelphia. 464 pp.
Fine KD et al., The prevalence and causes of chronic diarrhea in patients with celiac sprue treated with a gluten-free diet [see comments]. Gastroenterology, 112:1830-8, 1997 Jun.
Framm SR & Soave R: Agents of diarrhea. Med Clin North Am, 81:427-47, 1997 Mar.
Fuchs SC et al., [Hierarchical model: a proposal for a model to be applied in the investigation of risk factors for severe diarrhea]. Rev Saude Publica, 30:168-78, 1996 Apr.
Hitchins, A.D. & N.P. Wong. Amelioration of the Adverse Effect of a Gastrointestinal Challenge with Salmonella by Yogurt Diet. Am. J. Of Clinical Nutrition, 41 (1985).
Hogan DE The emergency department approach to diarrhea. Emerg Med Clin North Am, 14:673-94, 1996 Nov.
Horwitz JR et al., Importance of diarrhea as a presenting symptom of appendicitis in very young children. Am J Surg, 173:80-2, 1997 Feb.
Hui, Y.H. 1983. Human nutrition and diet therapy. Wadsworth, Inc; Belmont, California. 1039 pp.
Jin S et al., Trends in hospitalizations for diarrhea in United States children from 1979 through 1992: estimates of the morbidity associated with rotavirus. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 15:397-404, 1996 May.
Johanson JF Diagnosis and management of AIDS-related diarrhea. Can J Gastroenterol, 10:461-8, 1996 Nov-Dec.
Kirby RK et al., The effectiveness of a nutrition education program for family practice residents conducted by a family practice resident-dietitian. Fam Med, 27:576-80, 1995 Oct.
Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: NY.
Kroser JA & Metz DC: Evaluation of the adult patient with diarrhea. Prim Care, 23(3):629-47 1996 Sep.
Larson SC: Traveler's diarrhea. Emerg Med Clin North Am, 15:179-89, 1997 Feb.
L?pez-Alarc?n M et al., Breast-feeding lowers the frequency and duration of acute respiratory infection and diarrhea in infants under six months of age. J Nutr, 127:436-43, 1997 Mar.
Luboinski J et al., [Functional diarrheas are not, in most cases, minor clinical forms of lymphocytic or collagenous colitis]. Gastroenterol Clin Biol, 20:838-43, 1996.
Lysy J et al., Decreased substance P content in the rectal mucosa of diabetics with diarrhea and constipation. Metabolism, 46:730-4, 1997 Jul.
Margolis, S. 1984. Food allergies. Nutritional Management: The Johns Hopkins Handbook. M. Walser, A.L. Imbembo, S. Margolis and G.A. Elfert, eds. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia.
Murray, M.T., & J.E. Pizzorno. 1991. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, Ca; Prima Publishing.
Payne ML et al., Sorbitol is a possible risk factor for diarrhea in young children. J Am Diet Assoc, 97:532-4, 1997 May.
Rahman MM et al., Absorption of nutrients from an energy-dense diet liquefied with amylase from germinated wheat in infants with acute diarrhea. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 24:119-23, 1997 Feb.
Robinson RJ et al., Normal rectal mucosa. Should we biopsy? Hepatogastroenterology, 44:703-5, 1997 May-Jun.
Ronan A et al., Hyperglycemia during childhood diarrhea. J Pediatr, 130:45-51, 1997 Jan.
Roy-SK et al: Persistent diarrhoea: efficacy of a rice-based diet and role of nutritional status in recovery and nutrient absorption. Br-J-Nutr. 1994 Jan; 71(1): 123-34.
Rubino A ett al., [Advances concerning acute diarrhea (editorial)]. Recenti Prog Med, 88:35-9, 1997 Jan.
Ruel MT et al., Impact of zinc supplementation on morbidity from diarrhea and respiratory infections among rural Guatemalan children. Pediatrics, 99:808-13, 1997 Jun.
Sazawal S et al., Efficacy of zinc supplementation in reducing the incidence and prevalence of acute diarrhea--a community-based, double-blind, controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr, 66:413-8, 1997 Aug.
Snyder, J. D. et al: Review: Home-Based Therapy For Diarrhea. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 1990;11:438-447.
Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.
Vanderhoof JA et al., Use of soy fiber in acute diarrhea in infants and toddlers. Clin Pediatr (Phila), 36:135-9, 1997 Mar.
Wyngaarden, J.B. & L.H. Smith. 1985. Cecil's Textbook of Medicine. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 2341 pp.
- Product Categories
- Detox & Immunity
- Digestive Health
- Joint Health
- Weight Loss
- Popular Products
- CellRenew Collagen Hyaluronic Acid
- Foundation Blue-Green Algae
- Reference Materials
- Product Testimonials
- Health Journal Archive
- Health Briefs
- Health Basics
- Frequent Product Q&A's
- Med-Scope (health database)
- Health Conditions
- Natural Solutions
- Alternative Therapies
- Toxicity Sources
- Foods Advice
- Anatomy & Fitness
We test only on humans