Diarrhea is a common health condition that affects the digestive system and lasts for one to two days if the condition is acute. Persistent diarrhea(1) is a condition wherein diarrhea lasts for more than two weeks and less than four weeks, while chronic diarrhea typically lasts for four weeks, making the body highly dehydrated and weak.
As the condition removes minerals and fluids from the body, it is natural for the body to feel highly dehydrated. So, to treat the disease effectively and rehydrate oneself, it is advisable to choose some of the best drinks for diarrhea that helps in retaining the water content in the body and keeps one refreshed and healthy.
Read on to find out more about the condition and what are the various best drinks for diarrhea, home remedies, homemade electrolyte drink recipes and more.
An Overview of Diarrhea
If diarrhea lasts for more than a couple of days, it can become a severe health problem. The condition when it lasts for more than four weeks leads to chronic diarrhea. The symptoms of chronic diarrhea can be continual or may come and up. In some of the cases, diarrhea may be the symptom of an underlying health condition. Therefore, it is recommended to get the problem properly diagnosed to avoid any unforeseen health issue.
What Are the Causes of Diarrhea?
As far as the cause of the condition goes, there are three leading causes of diarrhea, and these are:
- Bacterial infections
Some of the common causes of diarrhea are:
- Contaminated food or water infected by diarrhea-causing bacteria
- Parasites found in water and food
- Norovirus, flu or rotavirus wherein rotavirus is caused by acute diarrhea in children
- Instances of food intolerance such as lactose intolerance
- Diseases that cause stomach infection, colon disease, and other intestinal diseases
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Medications including antibiotics, drugs for cancer and other medicines containing magnesium
What are the Symptoms of Diarrhea?
Some of the common symptoms of diarrhea are:
- Diarrhea caused due to viral infection may cause vomiting
- Watery and frequent stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Stomach pain
- Bloody stools
- Mucus in stools
- Loss of bowel control
If diarrhea is caused due to bacteria, the person may also have a fever. As dehydration is a typical result of diarrhea, one should always stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Diarrhea]
General Ways to Cure Diarrhea
Before you visit your doctor and begin the treatment of diarrhea, it is essential to know about the condition. The diagnosis of diarrhea can be made in three ways, and this includes:
- A physical examination conducted by the doctor
- A blood test to get the complete blood count and to know the exact cause of diarrhea
- Stool test to tell whether a parasite or bacterium causes the condition
- Colonoscopy is recommended only under some instances wherein the cause of persistent diarrhea is unknown
In most of the cases, diarrhea gets treated on its own within a day or two. In another case of acute diarrhea, over-the-counter medications help in treating the condition.
Antibiotics are recommended by a doctor when a parasite or bacterium causes diarrhea. In cases where a virus causes diarrhea(2), medicines would not be the ideal choice. Therefore, diagnosis is a necessary step to understand the causing agent of diarrhea.
Your doctor may also recommend probiotics for treating diarrhea. Probiotics are live micro-organisms like bacteria that are found in the digestive tract.
Replacing Fluids in the Diet
One of the best ways to treat diarrhea is to figure out what fluids upset the stomach. That is why the doctor would take note of what fluids are causing the condition and recommend replacing the same. In most of the cases, water is the best way to replace fluids. Certain fruit juices such as apple juice should be avoided during diarrhea as these might worsen the condition.
Treatment of the Underlying Condition
If the cause of diarrhea is an underlying condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, the doctor will work toward treating the primary disease. Therefore, if diarrhea is a symptom of another disorder, one should consult a specialist to get specialized treatment. Diagnosis is, therefore, an essential step before getting any treatment for diarrhea. It helps in gauging the exact cause or underlying condition.
Best Drinks to Treat Diarrhea
Although there is no alternative better than water to keep oneself hydrated when one is suffering from diarrhea, there are a few best drinks to treat diarrhea.
However, most of the packaged electrolyte drinks found in the market are loaded with artificial flavors and sugar that are extremely bad for health and should be avoided.
So, to get a healthier and best drink to rehydrate after diarrhea, here are a few simple ways to make your very own homemade electrolyte drink for diarrhea.
Coconut water: It is packed with electrolytes and is a refreshing drink. Go with fresh coconut water and if you choose a packaged coconut water, choose the one that does not contain sugars.
Salt: Salt helps in both nerve and muscle function. It is required for maintaining the fluid balance in the body.
Raw honey: Using raw honey (not packaged honey) can help in adding some sweetness to the drink. If you do not find raw honey, you can add freshly squeezed orange juice to add some tanginess to your homemade electrolyte drink.
Magnesium or calcium supplement: Adding magnesium or calcium supplement will help in adding the lost minerals from the body. Go for a brand that does not contain sugars. You must read the packet of the supplement thoroughly to know the exact dosage of the supplement.
- 1 cup of orange juice
- One tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cups of fresh coconut water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw honey
- One serving of magnesium or calcium supplement powder
How to prepare?
- Mix magnesium or calcium supplement with fresh coconut water.
- Add all the other ingredients to a blender for a frothier electrolyte drink.
- You can store the drink in a refrigerator and drink within a week.
Black tea helps in retaining the water content in the body, and the astringent tannins in the tea reduce inflammation in the intestines.
- Black tea leaves
- Raw honey as a sweetener
How to Prepare?
- Boil water and add the black tea leaves. Allow it to simmer.
- Now add one tablespoon of raw honey to add some sweetness to your drink. You can also drink it without the honey.
[Read: Tea for Relieving Diarrhea]
Blackberries are rich in tannins and are being used as a natural home natural since ages. Berries are also packed with antioxidants and loaded with minerals. Drinking a cup of blackberry tea every day will help in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea and rehydrate the body. It also helps in regaining strength and supplementing the loss of minerals from the body.
- Two tablespoons of Blackberries or dried blackberry tea leaves
- Water for boiling
- Raw honey
How to Prepare?
- Add two tablespoons of blackberries or blackberry tea leaves to 1 ½ cup of water and boil it.
- Strain the tea in a container and add raw honey to add a sweet taste to the drink.
- Your drink is ready!
Diarrhea leads to loss of minerals and fluids from the body. The condition makes the person weak and dehydrated. So, to regain the minerals and feel refreshed, it is essential to consume some drinks to feel rehydrated. Some of the best drinks for diarrhea post the condition are:
Rich in potassium and magnesium, coconut water is best known as nature’s power-packed drink. The naturally-sweet flavor is popular with kids too. It can be commonly found in numerous grocery stores and other convenience stores. If you find fresh coconut water, go for it; if not, then choose brands that do not contain any added sugars.
Turmeric acts as a natural antiseptic and is commonly found in every kitchen as it is a favorite spice. It is also known to ease any inflammation. Adding a tablespoon of turmeric powder to a glass of lukewarm water can help in reducing abdominal pain caused during diarrhea.
One of the best drinks for rehydration after diarrhea and even during the condition is a chicken or beef broth. An incredibly healthy drink, broth can be easily digested and is packed with amino acids and proteins that help in supporting the health of the gut.
Moreover, it also helps in easing the inflammation in the stomach and offers other essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. However, it is highly recommended to remove the fat from chicken or beef while preparing the broth.
Undoubtedly one of the best drinks for diarrhea, pure water keeps the hydration level intact in the body and compensates for any loss of minerals and fluids during diarrhea. It is recommended to increase the consumption of water during diarrhea to replace the loss of fluids.
In case you are traveling and do not have access to clean water, it is recommended to carry unsweetened, packaged drinking water to avoid worsening of the health condition.
Any health condition can be treated effectively if the right remedies and treatments have been followed. Diarrhea too can be treated with some simple homemade recipes and best drinks for diarrhea. Most importantly, the diagnosis of the condition is necessary along with knowing when to see a doctor.
Once a person has the right medical help, prescribed medications along with these best remedies and drinks for diarrhea can help in treating the condition. By getting to know the best drinks for diarrhea, one can surely recover faster during the condition and also regain strength and minerals.
So, one of the best ways to treat diarrhea is to keep these great and simple drinks and remedies in mind and using them in time of need.
1. What to Drink When You have Diarrhea?
During diarrhea, one must have fruit juices without the soda, caffeine, or pulp, tea with raw honey, chicken broth without the fat. One can also have sports drinks but make sure to choose the ones without added sugars and artificial flavors. It is essential to drink lots of water and drink fluids between meals instead of during meals. Keep sipping fluids in small quantity.