Hey everyone! How are you poo-in’? Sorry, I couldn’t resist a poop pun. Not that you asked, but ever since I ate a wonky Subway while road tripping about two weeks ago things have been um…loose for me. Thus, I thought a post about diarrhea, and specifically what to eat (and to avoid) when you have diarrhea, could be helpful or useful to everyone because the reality is, we all have the runs from time to time.
I’ve been implementing several of these tactics into my routine since the Subway incident. If you want to know just how ruthless this bout of diarrhea has been for me, let’s just say, I had a full adult “blowout” at the grocery store the other day. Yup. It was messy. Like, dripping down my legs messy. And the craziest part was, I didn’t even realize it was happening until I felt the cold trickle down my leg and abandoned my cart full of bananas to inspect the situation in the lady’s room.
Well now. I don’t know what else to say except that you probably didn’t want to know that, but now that you do, let’s just move past this awkwardness and read about what diarrhea is, and what you can eat and do and avoid when you have diarrhea.
*Disclaimer: As always, this is general information intended for healthy adults to gather general information about what to eat (and to avoid) when you have diarrhea. Your needs may vary based on medical status, lifestyle, or life-stage. Please never replace generalized health information you’ve read online with individualized clinical care.
First of all, what is diarrhea?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Diarrhea is defined by loose, watery stools three or more times a day. Diarrhea can be further categorized as acute, persistent, or chronic.
Acute diarrhea typically lasts a day or two and goes away on its own. Persistent diarrhea lasts anywhere between 2-4 weeks. And chronic diarrhea typically lasts over 4 weeks, but may come and go.
Other symptoms often related to diarrhea include cramping, an urgent need to go to the bathroom, abdominal pain, and nausea. You may experience all, none, or some of these symptoms.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Many things may cause diarrhea, including food allergies and intolerances, foodbourne illness, viral infections, bacterial infections, bowel disorders including IBS, IBD, Crohn’s disease and colitis, and parasites.
Anxiety may also lead diarrhea by making IBS symptoms worse.
Why is Diarrhea Dangerous?
All poop jokes aside, diarrhea can be dangerous, and is the second leading cause of death in children under 5 in developing countries.
Even in developed countries, diarrhea often leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, both of which can be serious and dangerous. Electrolytes are essential minerals that regulate blood pressure, muscle contractions, and many other bodily functions, and electrolyte imbalance puts the body at risk of heart coma, seizures, heart palpitations, and even death.
Furthermore, diarrhea may cause nutrient malabsorption. Because food is moving through the intestines at such a rapid pace, the body may not be able to absorb enough nutrients from the food consumed, putting individuals at risk of becoming malnourished.
What To Do When You Have Diarrhea:
If you have diarrhea, there are many things you can do to make yourself feel better, or at the very least, avoid dehydration, and/or making your diarrhea worse. Read on for a quick list of things to do when you have diarrhea!…