Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea caused by bacteria or viruses can be treated at home. You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You should avoid drinks that contain caffeine and milk. Milk may make diarrhea worse. Your doctor may recommend hydration drinks for your infant or child. People with severe dehydration may need fluid replacement via an IV line and hospitalization.
Avoid eating greasy foods, fatty foods, and alcohol. Bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast are helpful foods to eat. If you feel too sick to eat, try sucking on ice chips until you can tolerate food.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat some types of bacterial infections. However, antibiotics do not work on viruses. Stomach viruses usually go away on their own in a few days. Generally, anti-diarrhea medications should not be given for the stomach flu as they only prolong the infection. You should not take over-the-counter diarrhea medications unless your doctor instructs you to.
Treatments vary for diarrhea caused by other medical conditions. Lifestyle and dietary changes may help some conditions. Ask your doctor for suggestions specific to your condition.
If you have a serious medical condition including HIV, AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease, contact your doctor as soon as your diarrhea starts. You may need prompt treatment. You may be at risk for developing complications from diarrhea.
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