Why treat diarrhoea ?
In the majority of cases, acute diarrhoea is mild to severe, but it can carry a significant risk of loss of water (dehydration) and loss of mineral salts.1 In certain cases the diarrhoea may be more serious and require a medical consultation.1,2
Why should you rehydrate if you have diarrhoea ?
During the course of the diarrhoea, your body loses water and mineral salts.1 You need to compensate for this loss by drinking liquids high in sugar.3 Or have an electrolyte-rich soup …3
Note: if you have an intense thirst, or your tongue is dry, it is important to consult your doctor immediately.2
What should you eat if you have diarrhoea ?
In the case of acute diarrhoea, it is advised that you modify your eating habits… Eat smaller meals, containing food which has a high content of salt and sugar.2,3
Choose rice, cooked carrots, bananas.1
Avoid milk, fruit and raw vegetables, iced food and drinks.2
In order to be more comfortable, you can take anti-diarrhoeal medicines that are available without prescription at your nearest pharmacy.2 Although these medications may reduce the symptoms, it is still important to keep hydrated.2
If you have diarrhoea and a fever, please see a doctor as it could be due to an infection. Antibiotics are only used when necessary and will not be of any use in a viral infection.1,2
There are several types of medicines for acute diarrhoea:
- Intestinal anti-infectives1: to be reserved for cases assumed to be bacterial in origin.
- Medicines that slow down transit1,2: they reduce the contractions in the intestines and reduce the frequency of stools output.
- Micro-organism- based Anti-diarrhoeal : aimed at acting on the intestinal flora1.
- Anti-secretory agents,4 which reduce the hyper-secretion of water and electrolytes in the intestine.
Diarrhoea : which medication should you choose ?
It depends on your state of health and the precautions for the correct use of each medicine. In general, choose medicines that have only one active ingredient and ask your pharmacist for advice. Never take treatment for longer than recommended without medical advice.1
1: Boyce TG. Gastroenteritis. MSD Manual Consumer Version 2019. https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/digestive-disorders/gastroenteritis/gastroenteritis?query=gastroenteritis [Accessed 5 November 2019]
2: Greenberger NJ. Diarrhoea in Adults. MSD Manual Consumer Version. Diarrhea in Adults. https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/digestive-disorders/symptoms-of-digestive-disorders/diarrhea-in-adults?query=diarrhoea# [Accessed 5 November 2019]
3: Khediri F, Mrad AI, Azzouz M, Doughi H, Najjar T, Mathiex-Fortunet H, et al. Efficacy od Diosmectite (Smecta®) in the Treatment of Acute Watery Diarrhoea in Adults: A Multicentre, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Study. Gastroenterology Research and Practice 2011: Article ID 783196 1-8. doi:10.1155/2011/783196
4: Alam S, and Bhatnagar S. Current Status of Anti-Diarrheal and Anti-Secretory Drugs in the Management of Acute Childhood Diarrhea. Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2006;73:693-696.