Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late—Diarrhea is Often Preventable

Nick Rosen, MD
Medically reviewed by Nick Rosen, MDSeptember 29th, 2021

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late—Diarrhea is Often Preventable

When you have to go, you have to go. But what if we told you there were some ways that you could stop diarrhea in its tracks? Make sure to bookmark this article because we are sharing some of the best ways for getting rid of diarrhea or, better yet, avoiding it in the first place. Before we do, let’s take a closer look at the top causes of diarrhea and what you can do about it:

What Causes Diarrhea?

The best way to prevent diarrhea is to avoid the triggers. The causes of diarrhea vary from person to person but in many cases the condition is triggered by a medication, a bacterial infection, a certain food/beverage, or an allergy. Recurrent bouts of diarrhea can be a sign of an underlying sensitivity or intolerance to a food component, such as:

  • Lactose
  • Gluten (celiac disease)
  • Fructose

Recurring episodes of diarrhea may also indicate an underlying chronic condition, such as diabetes or Crohn’s disease. No matter the cause, persistent and chronic diarrhea should be treated by a professional as the side effects—including severe dehydration—can be extremely dangerous if left unmonitored. If you have a mild case of the runs, however, there are some ways that you can treat the condition yourself.

How to Get Rid of Diarrhea

An upset stomach and loose, watery stools are the most common symptoms of acute diarrhea. An individual may also experience bloating, nausea, fever, and abdominal cramps before the watery stools begin. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, try these at-home solutions:
Take an OTC Medication

Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide convenient and fast relief from an acute bout of diarrhea. These include:

  • Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) - If you have an upset stomach and/or diarrhea, this medication can help by killing the harmful bacteria in your gut.
  • Imodium (loperamide) - Imodium is a stronger medication for diarrhea that actually slows digestion, helping your body firm up stools.

Adjust Your Diet

Making immediate and long-term changes to your diet can help keep diarrhea at bay. For quick relief, stick to a BRAT diet. This effective guideline stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These bland, starchy, and low-fiber foods can help bind stools in your digestive tract and are easy on your stomach. You’ll want to stay away from foods and beverages that can worsen your symptoms, including:

  • Caffeinated beverages (sorry, coffee lovers)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fatty, fried, and spicy foods
  • Sugary juices and other drinks

Stay Hydrated

Diarrhea can quickly evolve into dehydration, as loose and watery stools cause the body to rapidly lose fluids and electrolytes. To prevent dehydration and its complications, stay hydrated by drinking at least one cup of clear fluid after each bowel movement. If you start experiencing any of the following signs of severe dehydration, call 911 immediately:

  • Low urine output
  • Increased thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Tips for Preventing Diarrhea

You can’t avoid the unavoidable, and there are unfortunately some types of diarrhea that can’t be prevented—such as those that are caused by an underlying health condition. Infectious diarrhea, however, can be avoided. Some of the best ways to prevent contracting bacterial infections and foodborne illnesses that can lead to diarrhea include:

  • Washing your hands and practicing good hygiene
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables
  • Cooking raw meat and seafood thoroughly
  • Drinking clean, filtered water

DispatchHealth Provides In-Home Medical Care

If your diarrhea lasts for longer than three days or you begin showing signs of dehydration, it’s time to seek professional treatment. That’s where DispatchHealth can help. An upset stomach can make it seemingly impossible to visit your primary care team or travel to the nearest ER. By bringing the treatment to your doorstep, DispatchHealth makes the process of receiving care for acute and advanced medical conditions easy. Upon request, our certified team will arrive at your home with a medical kit that contains roughly all of the tools and technologies you’d find at a traditional ER. What’s more, we’re in-network with most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. [availability_widget] You can learn more about DispatchHealth’s in-home medical service by exploring our site or requesting care today. We’re rapidly growing and covering new markets across the country!


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. Sources referenced in this article:

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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