see also Diarrhoea during Pregnancy, Diarrhoea in Infants
Failure of the large intestine to absorb water from faeces; this can happen with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhoea alternates with constipation), Gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting), Ulcerative Colitis (blood in faeces), Food Poisoning (diarrhoea and vomiting), worms and other intestinal parasites (see Threadworms, tapeworms), lactose intolerance and other food intolerances, and even Anxiety. Certain drugs, especially antibiotics cause diarrhoea; also antacids because of their magnesium content, and so does a lack of Vitamin B3 or folic acid (folate); too much Vitamin D can cause constipation as well as diarrhoea. Liquid stools can also be the price of eating too many pulses or prunes. Chronic diarrhoea can cause potassium deficiency.
If diarrhoea continues for more than 48 hours, or is accompanied by Fever or blood in faeces, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours; regardless of the cause, person may be seriously dehydrated. Orthodox treatment consists of rehydration with electrolyte solutions for 12-24 hours, followed by investigation and, if persistent, anti-diarrhoeal agents such as kaolin and morphine or drugs which inhibit peristalsis or cause constipation.
A tendency towards diarrhoea is best treated constitutionally, although in acute attacks the remedies below may be used.
Specific remedies to be taken every ½ -hour for up to 10 doses
- Diarrhoea comes on suddenly after shock or exposure to cold wind, or overheating in summer, abdomen distended, person feels better after passing stool Aconite 30c
- Diarrhoea after a summer chill, after food which disagrees, or after anger outburst, tip of tongue very red, symptoms worse in morning and made worse by eating, painful urination, yellowish-green stools, a lot of wind, difficult to distinguish between wanting to pass stool and wanting to pass wind Aloe 30c
- Anxiety and apprehension, belching, craving for salt and sweet things Argentum nit. 30c
- Scanty, odourless, brown stools which seem to burn skin around anus, especially after cold drinks, ice creams, ice lollies, or over-ripe fruit, person finds small sips of hot drinks soothing Arsenicum 30c
- Copious and offensive stools the colour of pea soup and the consistency of batter, with a lot of wind and colic, urgency early in morning, empty feeling afterwards Podophyllum 30c
- Profuse, watery stools with bits of food in them, person feels better after passing them Phosphoric ac. 30c
- Need to pass stool propels person out of bed at 5 am, anus feels hot, piles may be present Sulphur 30c
- Profuse stools, vomiting, forehead breaks out in cold sweat, craving for iced water Veratrum 30c
- Stools like chopped egg, a lot of wind, made worse by summer chills or fruit, person very irritable China 30c
- Diarrhoea accompanied by spasmodic, griping pains, doubling up or pressing on abdomen lessens pain, stools copious, thin, frothy, and yellowish, attack possibly brought on by anger Colocynth 30c
- Diarrhoea comes on in damp weather or as a result of getting chilled after exertion, stools are slimy, green or yellow, and may have blood in them Dulcamara 30c
- Diarrhoea worse at night, also made worse by cold drinks, onions, and rich, fatty foods, no two stools alike Pulsatilla 30c
Self-help: Stop eating dairy products and avoid cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bread, pasta, apples, pears, peaches, prunes, sweetcorn, oats, potatoes and processed bran. To combat dehydration, drink plenty of boiled cooled water, with a little honey in it, or rice water, or barley water (water in which rice or barley has been cooked). Once diarrhoea settles down, eat arrowroot tapioca, semolina, or Slippery Elm Food for a day or two, then gradually revert to your normal diet. If diarrhoea has been caused by antibiotics, take Acidophilus capsules. Take extra folic acid (folate) and Vitamin B for 1 month, and cut down intake of Vitamin D. Avoid analgesics.