How to Stop Diarrhea: 5 Easy & Effective Remedies

Clinical review: Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
June 2022

To stop diarrhea quickly, it is important to increase your water intake to replace any fluid and minerals you lost through the stool. You should also eat foods that add bulk to the stool and that reduce intestinal movement, like guava for example. Another excellent strategy is to consume probiotics so that intestinal flora can be restored to its natural balance more quickly. This will help to prevent even more liquid stools.

Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria or viruses found in contaminated food that is infested. This can cause food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Diarrhea can also be a medication side-effect. which is particularly common following a course of antibiotics. A food intolerance can also cause diarrhea.

Generally speaking, diarrhea usually lasts for 3 to 4 days. If your diarrhea lasts for longer, or if you are experiencing other symptoms, you should see your doctor, as this may indicate that you diarrhea is caused by an infection and requires treatment with medication.

The following are ways you can stop diarrhea faster at home:

1. Eat easy-to-digest food

When you have diarrhea, it is important to eat food that is easy to digest, helps to restore intestinal flora and maintains the body hydrated. Some examples include:

  • Vegetable soup, cream of vegetables (these should be low in fat and based in natural ingredients)
  • Natural fruit smoothies that are unsweetened, coconut water, apple tea or guava leaf tea
  • Fruit like unripe banana, guava, apple without the peel, all which contain astringent properties
  • Mashed or pureed veggies, like potato, carrot, cassava, sweet potato or squash
  • White rice, pasta, white bread, corn starch, porridge
  • Chicken, turkey, and fish, preferably shredded
  • Jello or crackers

It is important that fruits and vegetables are peeled and cooked. This will help to reduce intestinal movement caused by fiber intake, which can worsen diarrhea. 

2. Avoid high-fat foods

Foods that are high in fat should be avoided, as well as foods that are spicy. Other foods to avoid include sauces, stock cubes, alcohol, sodas, coffee, green or black tea, milk, raisins, plums, beans, and ice cream.

In addition, foods that produce gas and cause more discomfort should also be avoided. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower and corn.

3. Take probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the intestine. They can be consumed as part of some foods, particularly food that has been fermented like natural yogurt, kombucha and kefir. Probiotics can also be taken as supplements purchased at the pharmacy, like Florastor.

These bacteria help to improve intestinal flora, and help to fight off and prevent intestinal disease. They can improve digestion as well as the immune system.

4. Maintain hydration

It is important to restore electrolytes and minerals that can be lost through diarrhea. Homemade saline solutions or electrolyte solutions purchased at the pharmacy. Ideally. you should drink these fluids after every episode of diarrhea, in approximately the same volume that was eliminated.

5. Diarrhea medication

There are many types of medications that can be used to treat diarrhea, however they should only be used under medical guidance. A doctor is able to take the cause of the diarrhea into consideration, as well as the person's health history, the current symptoms and the type of diarrhea the person has.

Some medication the doctor may recommend includes:

  • Racecadotril, which helps to reduce the secretion of water through the intestine, which helps to harden or add bulk to the stool
  • Loperamide, which reduces peristaltic movements in the intestine. This helps stool to remain for longer in the intestine, which which helps to manage water absorption and makes the stools harder.

It is important to avoid taking any of these medications before speaking to a doctor first. If the diarrhea is related to an infection, these medication can actually worsen the situation. Learn more about the medication that is safe to take for diarrhea during pregnancy.

When to see a doctor

You are advised to see a doctor if the diarrhea is frequent, or if you experience other symptoms like blood or pus in the stool, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, or significant weight loss. Learn more about the causes of diarrhea and what to do.

In addition, you should also be aware of symptoms of dehydration, which can include thirst, dry mouth, drowsiness or altered level of consciousness. If any of these occur, proceed immediately to the hospital.

Was this information helpful?

Atualizado por Tua Saude editing team, em June de 2022. Clinical review por Tatiana Zanin - Registered Dietitian, em June de 2022.

References

  • ÁLVAREZ María Luisa et al. Nutrición en pediatría . 2ª. Caracas, Venezuela: Cania, 2009. 694-696.
  • MAHAN, L. Kathleen et al. Krause: Alimentos, Nutrição e Dietoterapia. 13.ed. São Paulo: Elsevier Editora, 2013. 352-364.
Show more references
  • MORAES, Antônio C.; CASTRO, Fernando M.M. Diarreia aguda. JBM. Vol.102, n.21. 21-28, 2014
  • EDUFBA. Manual Básico para Atendimento Ambulatorial em Nutrição. 2008. Available on: <http://books.scielo.org/id/sqj2s/pdf/villela-9788523208998.pdf>. Access in 03 Dec 2019
  • SECRETARIA MUNICIPAL DE GESTÃO E CONTROLE. Orientação nutricional para a diarreia. 2019. Available on: <http://www.saude.campinas.sp.gov.br/especialidades/nutricao/Orientacao_nutricional_para_Diarreia_FO1224.pdf>. Access in 03 Dec 2019
Clinical review:
Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
Graduated in Clinical Nutrition in 2001 and has a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Licensed to practice under the CRN-3 in Brazil and the ON in Portugal