3 Home Remedies for Diarrhea

How to get rid of mild diarrhea without medication

Using home remedies for diarrhea can help you naturally stop a mild case fast. This may include eating bland foods, drinking plenty of fluids, taking probiotics, as well as avoiding certain foods and drinks.

Keep in mind that diarrhea caused by a virus or bacteria usually goes away on its own in two to three days.

This article goes over how to get rid of diarrhea naturally without turning to medicine.

Some people reach for Imodium (loperamide) the moment they have loose stool. But, the drugs are meant for frequent or severe diarrhea rather than an occasional episode.

Young woman drinking a glass of water in a bedroom
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What Can Naturally Stop Diarrhea?

In some cases, taking an over-the-counter antidiarrheal drug will replace watery stools with constipation. Both are unpleasant. Try these helpful home remedies to stop a mild episode of diarrhea and cramps naturally.

What Drinks Help Diarrhea?

One of the biggest problems with diarrhea is dehydration. This is what leads many people to the emergency room.

Diarrhea causes the body to lose a lot of water and electrolytes it needs to function normally. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that are needed for various bodily processes.

It's important to treat dehydration properly. Otherwise, it can become dangerous, especially in young children.

To manage a mild bout of diarrhea, you need to replace the fluids and electrolytes you lost.

Adults should drink plenty of water, clear juices, clear broths, or an electrolyte-rich sports drink.

Children and toddlers with mild diarrhea who aren't vomiting can continue drinking what they normally do such as breast milk, cow's milk, or formula. Young children may drink pediatric rehydration drinks if they have mild diarrhea and are also vomiting. These are marketed under certain brand names, like:

  • Pedialyte
  • Enfalyte
  • Gastrolyte

Breastfed babies should continue to breastfeed.

Some people want to avoid the artificial colorings or flavorings in some rehydration drinks. You can make a homemade rehydration drink with only salt, sugar, and water.

You can also buy oral rehydration salts over the counter at most drugstores. Follow the preparation instructions and don't use too much salt. Do not prepare these for children, as they can be harmful.

What to Avoid

When you want to stop an episode of diarrhea fast, it's best to avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, prune juice, sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol. These all have a laxative effect. It's also a good idea to avoid dairy products if you're lactose intolerant, which means you can't digest the main sugar in milk well.

What Foods Stop Diarrhea?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases doesn't recommend following a restrictive diet to treat diarrhea. But, that doesn't mean all foods are the same. There are some foods you should avoid, as well as foods that may help you get rid of diarrhea faster.

Adults may try the BRAT diet to help stop diarrhea naturally.

The diet is made up of four bland, low-fiber foods:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

Bananas are especially useful. They help restore any potassium your body lost through diarrhea.

Adults can add other bland, easy-to-digest foods as diarrhea symptoms start to get better. This includes:

  • Baked, skinless chicken breasts
  • Plain cereal
  • Baked potatoes
  • Chicken soup with saltines

Don't eat or drink foods or beverages that cause gas, such as:

  • Carbonated drinks, like sodas or seltzer
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower

Children with mild diarrhea who aren't vomiting can continue eating their normal diet. If your child begins vomiting and their diarrhea becomes more severe, it's best to reach out to their healthcare provider.

If diarrhea lasts more than a couple of days, check the foods that you're eating. Diarrhea can get worse if you eat foods high in fiber (such as bran, whole grains, and brown rice) as well as greasy foods or those sweetened with sorbitol.

Using Probiotics to Get Rid of Diarrhea

Taking probiotics in food or or as supplements might help naturally shorten a mild bout of diarrhea. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are beneficial to your digestive system.

Diarrhea can cause you to lose a lot of the healthy bacteria in your stomach and intestines.

Probiotics can quickly replace these protective microorganisms and help restore normal bowel function. Some helpful probiotics include:

  • Lactobacillus bacteria
  • Bifidobacterium bacteria
  • Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) yeast

In particular, S. boulardii has powerful antidiarrheal effects.

It may be best to avoid some dairy products during diarrhea, but not all. Certain dairy foods, like yogurt or kefir with live probiotic bacteria, are extremely beneficial.

Other natural probiotic sources are fermented foods like:

  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Aged soft cheeses
  • Cottage cheese
  • Green olives
  • Sourdough bread
  • Tempeh

Kimchi is another popular fermented food. Some people even call it a "super-probiotic." But kimchi has hot spices that might make your diarrhea worse.

Side effects of probiotics, whether in food or supplement form, tend to be mild and may include an upset stomach, bloating, and gas.

When to Seek Medical Help

You should never ignore diarrhea. If you have tried the above-listed home remedies and still have loose stools, call your doctor or your pharmacist. They might recommend over-the-counter medicine that can help.

On the other hand, you should see a doctor right away if you or your child have persistent or severe diarrhea or show signs of dehydration, such as:

Adults
  • Diarrhea for three days or more

  • Severe stomach pain

  • Bloody or black stools

  • Fever over 102 F (39 C)

  • Little or no urination

  • Extreme weakness

  • Dry skin and mouth

  • Excessive thirst

  • Dark urine

Children
  • Diarrhea for more than 24 hours

  • No wet diapers in three hours

  • Fever over 102 F (39 C)

  • Dry mouth or tongue

  • Crying without tears

  • Unusual sleepiness

  • Black or bloody stools

  • Sunken cheeks or eyes

  • Skin that doesn't retract when pinched

Babies under 3 months old with diarrhea should be taken to a doctor or emergency room right away. Don't wait or try to treat the condition at home.

Summary

You might be able to treat diarrhea naturally without taking medication. Try changing your diet temporarily, taking probiotics, and drinking lots of liquids. Talk to your healthcare provider if the diarrhea doesn't go away.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What foods should I eat if I have diarrhea?

    Bland, low-fiber foods are the best choice. Some low-fiber foods include potatoes, white rice, bananas, apples, fish, and chicken or turkey without the skin. Changing your diet and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration can help treat diarrhea symptoms faster.

  • Why do I get diarrhea after drinking?

    Certain drinks including alcohol, coffee, and prune juice have a laxative effect that can cause diarrhea. Sodas, like coke, can also worsen diarrhea.

  • How do I prevent diarrhea?

    It may not be possible to fully prevent diarrhea, but these steps can reduce the chances of it:

    • Practice proper hygiene. Washing your hands regularly throughout the day can reduce the spread of viruses that cause diarrhea.
    • Get a vaccination for rotavirus, a gastrointestinal infection that can cause diarrhea and dehydration.
    • Avoid eating spoiled food, keep food at recommended temperatures, and cook food to recommended temperatures.
    • If you travel to other countries, avoid drinking tap water unless you know the water is safe.
  • Is it better to stop diarrhea or let it go?

    If diarrhea is mild, goes away within a few days, and you aren't showing signs of dehydration, you can let it run its course. See a doctor if it becomes severe. Always call a doctor if you have an infant with diarrhea.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Jeanette Bradley
Jeanette Bradley is a noted food allergy advocate and author of the cookbook, "Food Allergy Kitchen Wizardry: 125 Recipes for People with Allergies"