What is diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is passing stools that are loose and watery, or more frequently than is normal for you. Usually, diarrhoea can be brought on with a sense of urgency, where we feel we need to find a toilet immediately, and can also be accompanied by cramping or pain in our stomach.

What causes diarrhoea?

There are many different causes of diarrhoea, but a bowel infection (gastroenteritis) is a common cause in both adults and children.
Infections such as this can often be caught during travel to areas with poorer hygiene standards. This is known as travellers diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea can also be the result of anxiety, a food allergy, medication, or a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What to do if you have diarrhoea

Most cases of diarrhoea clear up after a few days without treatment. However, if you experience frequent bouts of diarrhoea, we advise speaking to a healthcare professional.

Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. Remember to drink plenty of water in small but frequent sips until it passes and consider a rehydration treatment.

Over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide, can help reduce diarrhoea but are not always necessary.

If your diarrhoea episode is not the result of an infection, identifying your triggers is a great first step. Keeping a food and symptom tracker can help identify foods that could be causing your symptoms. Keeping a note of how you are feeling can also help you identify any lifestyle factors that can trigger you, such as periods of intense stress.

Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of yeast. It has been proven to improve the rate at which intestinal enzymes are replenished. This helps to reduce the severity of diarrhoeal symptoms and helps to restabilise the intestinal balance of bacteria.

Soluble fibre such as Psyllium Husk can also aid those experiencing diarrhoea. This type of fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. This helps to soak up water in the digestive tract, reducing the urgency and frequency of passing stools.

Peppermint is an antispasmodic, that can help calm the digestive system. This can be helpful in alleviating the cramps, bloating and spasms that can often accompany an episode of diarrhoea.

Slippery Elm is another soothing herbal supplement, that can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and has been used to support those with IBS.