Diarrhea is the passage of frequent (3 or more in 24 hours) stools of a soft or liquid form.
- Eat food warm rather than hot or very cold. Extremes in temperature may aggravate the diarrhea; therefore foods served warmed or at room temperature are more easily tolerated.
- Save beverages for between meals. Drink at least 3 quarts of fluid a day, if approved by your doctor. Beverages used to restore electrolyte imbalance include: bouillon, gelatin, Gatorade, or Pedialyte.
- Eat small, frequent meals. Try and relax!
- Avoid cramp or gas-producing foods: cabbage, coffee, beans, nuts, sweets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carbonated beverages, beer and highly spiced foods. Avoid strong spices and herbs such as chili powder, licorice, pepper, curry, garlic or horseradish.
- Avoid high-fiber foods: raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, bran, nuts, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels. Avoid milk or milk products in the presence of lactose intolerance, try instead: buttermilk, yogurt, processed cheese, lactose-free dairy substitutes.
- Add nutmeg to foods, this spice may decrease the motility of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Include foods high in potassium if signs of weakness or fatigue are present or if the laboratory data indicate a low potassium level; bananas, avocado, baked potatoes, halibut and asparagus tips.
- Potassium supplements may be necessary if diarrhea persists. Your doctor will prescribe these for you.
- When you feel better, eat a low residue diet that is high in protein and calories: eggs (not fried), macaroni, white rice, baked, boiled or mashed potatoes, smooth peanut butter, cooked mild vegetables such as asparagus tips, beets, green and wax beans, carrots, peas, spinach, squash and also cream soup from these vegetables.
- Include frequent rest periods while participating in your usual life style pattern. Rest when experiencing fatigue.
- Initiate care measures of the skin and mucous membranes of the rectal area to promote healing and comfort. Cleanse rectal area with mild soap (Dove or Ivory) and warm water after each bowel movement.
- Do take frequent sitz baths or warm water baths or sit in a tub of warm water.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Check with your doctor or nurse if diarrhea persists.
- Check with your doctor before using any anti-diarrhea medication. Your doctor will be able to pick one that is best for you.
- Keep a record of number, characteristics, and amount of bowel movements and report to your physician.