What you can do while experiencing symptoms of diarrhea

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What can you do while experiencing symptoms of diarrhea?
Liquids
Drink plenty of liquids between meals to avoid dehydration. Water, broth, gelatin, ices, and sports drinks are all good choices.
Room temperature
Some people tolerate liquids at room temperature better than those served hot or cold.
Sugar-free foods
Avoid sugar-free foods when you have diarrhea. The sugar alcohols used to sweeten these foods, such as sorbitol and xylitol, can worsen diarrhea.
Dairy products
Do not consume dairy products when symptoms are most severe. Add low-fat or fat-free milk back into your diet slowly.
Small meals
Have small meals and snacks, rather than big meals.
Bland foods
It is recommended that you choose bland foods when you have diarrhea.
Good choices include:
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Canned soft fruits
  • Cooked hot cereals
  • Crackers
  • Eggs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pretzels
  • Smooth nut butters
  • Soup
  • Toast
  • White rice
Foods to avoid
Do not choose foods that are greasy, fried, or fatty. Do not add butter, oil, or other fats to your foods. Certain foods tend to cause discomfort for many patients, including:
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Dried beans
  • Dried fruit
  • Fried or fatty meats
  • Greens
  • High-fiber breads
  • High-fiber cereals
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Raw fruits (except bananas and melon)
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Whole milk
Grains
Choose grains that contain less than 2 grams of fiber/serving.
* CLEAR LIQUID DIETS are only to be followed for three (3) days.  If adequate
nutrition or hydration can not be maintained, please contact the Physician and health
care professionals promptly and seek medical attention.
Meats, chicken, and fish
Select lean meats, chicken, and fish.
Yogurt
Patients with diarrhea caused by antibiotics may benefit form adding yogurt to their diet.
When should the physician be notified?
Call your doctor if you:
  • Have mucus, blood, or pus in your stools
  • Have diarrhea lasting longer than 2 to 3 days
  • Have not urinated in 12 hours
  • Have severe pain or abdominal cramping
  • Are vomiting and experiencing diarrhea at the same time
  • Have a chronic illness, such as diabetes
  • Have a high fever (more than 101º F)
  • Are pregnant
  • Experience rapid breathing, fever, or dizziness
  • If you have traveled to a foreign country, or have taken an antibiotic recently or in the past two/three months, or have developed diarrhea upon your return from any visit out of your immediate area.
Remember to:
  • Eat and drink whatever you think will work best for you
  • Frequent hand-washing breaks and for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds, before exiting a restroom, before/after eating, before/after entering a patients room, before/after wearing gloves during patient care, after changing diapers, after grooming and handling pets and Wash  hands often.
  • Eat and drink small portions, gradually increasing your diet as tolerated
 
References and recommended readings
Eating hints before, during, and after cancer treatment. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Web site. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/eatinghints/page4#diarrhea. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Mayo Clinic staff. Diarrhea. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diarrhea/DS00292. Accessed June 5, 2013.
US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Diarrhea. MedlinePlus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003126.htm. Updated January 26, 2012. Accessed June 5, 2013.