This is one way that your body gets rid of toxins and other harmful substances and so it is actually much better to allow the process to continue, and support the body, rather than trying to stop it. Causes tend to be food poisoning, bacteria or viral infections (tummy bugs), food intolerances, stress and antibiotic use.
If antibiotics are the cause of your digestive upset it would be wise to take a probiotic supplement to replenish levels of good bacteria in the gut (see Supplements below)
Repeated bouts of diarrhoea could be a sign of food intolerances and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, an infection or intestinal parasites. See your doctor or a natural health care provider to investigate the cause. Allergy tests can determine whether any specific foods are a problem. They can be done privately (follow the link) but a simple Skin Prick Test is available on the NHS so ask your doctor about this - you may need to insist. A 'stool culture' can be carried out to check for an infection or the presence of parasites - see your doctor or naturopath for this.
A baby with diarrhoea can become dehydrated very quickly. Ensure that extra fluids are given and contact your health visitor if you are at all concerned.
- It is very important to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated (dilute fresh apple juice with fresh water in a ratio of roughly 1 part juice to 3 parts water) - take small frequent sips.
- It is better to avoid food until the diarrhoea has stopped, but if you do want to eat then consume light, nourishing meals such as homemade soups and plain crackers.
- Cut out all dairy products for two weeks - use rice milk instead. Rice milk is a traditional remedy for infant diarrhoea and is particularly ideal for babies as it is dairy-free, naturally sweet and non-mucous forming. It is suitable to give as an alternative to formula milk for 2-3 days. Rice milk is available in most supermarkets and health food shops.
- Also try avoiding protein for two days to rest the digestive tract.
- If diarrhoea is accompanied by vomiting take a rehydration drink to replace lost electrolytes (minerals). These are available at chemists but in her book 'Boosting Your Child's Immune System' Lucy Burney explains how you can make your own natural formula. Mix together 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 2 dessertspoons of sugar, 1 litre (2 pints) of water and 600ml (1 pint) of orange juice. Gently sip a glass of this mixture every hour after vomiting.
SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT HEALTHY DIGESTON:
Herbal tea - ginger and chamomile both help relieve the stomach ache that can accompany diarrhoea - see Herbal Tea.
Homeopathy - for diarrhoea that is caused by food poisoning, or that is burning and problematic at night use Arsenicum 30c; if it comes on very suddenly, or only on waking and you need to rush out of bed use Sulphur 30c; if stress and anxiety are the cause take Gelsemium 30c; and for diarrhoea after eating shellfish take Lycopodeum 30c - see Homeopathy for all these remedies. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.
Take one dose three to four times a day for up to three days and see if there has been any improvement. If there has continue with the remedy, if not change the remedy. For severe symptoms take every fifteen minutes, every half an hour or every one to two hours as required.
NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.
The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you feel you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath.
Please contact us for specific advice
NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.