A Person is considered to have diarrhea if a person has loose stools three or more times a day. Diarrhea is a condition in which loose, watery stools (bowel movement) appear. Acute diarrhea is a condition that lasts a short time. It is a common problem that usually lasts about one or two days. Then it goes away on its own.
A condition of diarrhea lasting more than a few days may be a sign of a more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea is a condition that lasts at least four weeks. In a condition of the weakened immune system, chronic diarrhea may represent a life-threatening illness.
About 75 % of deaths are due to diarrhea occurring in the first two years of life. The main cause of death is from acute diarrhea that results from the loss of fluids and electrolytes in diarrheal stools. Other important causes of death are dysentery.
Diarrhea is an important cause of under nutrition. This is because patients eat less during diarrhea and their ability to absorb nutrients is reduced.
What are the Causes of Diarrhea?
Acute diarrhea is commonly caused by a bacterial (Salmonella), viral (rotavirus), or parasitic (Giardia) infection of the bowels. Diarrhea caused by any of these infections is called gastroenteritis.
The most common condition of chronic diarrhea is following diseases and conditions:
- Bacteria born from contaminated food or water.
- Certain parasites, found in contaminated food or water.
- Use of certain medicines like antibiotics, cancer drugs, and antacids that contain magnesium.
- Gluten intolerance (e.g. Celiac disease)
- Lactose intolerance
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic bowel infection
- Bowel cancer
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhea?
Diarrhea refers to watery stools, but it may be accompanied by other symptoms like
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Weight loss
Diarrhea is symptoms of other conditions, some of which can be serious. Other possible symptoms are:
- Blood and pus in the stools
- Persistent vomiting
What is the Ayurvedic view of Diarrhea?
In Ayurveda, it is called as “Atisara”. Some conditions like weak digestive power, impure water, toxins, and mental stress commonly cause diarrhea. Depending upon which particular Dosha, Atisara has been classified in to vataj, pittaj, kaphaj, sannipatik, bhayaj, and shokaj types.
Atisara is mainly caused by vata dosha. Vataj atisara is marked by painful loose motion with gases and sounds. Pittaj atisara causes motion with a burning sensation that shows offensive odor. Kaphaj atisara is sticky, oily, whitish motion with a foul odor. Sannipatik atisara is caused by vitiation of all three doshas and have mixed characteristics. Bhayaj and Shokaj atisara are caused by fear and grief respectively.
What is the Ayurvedic Treatment for Diarrhea?
In Ayurveda, there are numerous herbs that deal with all the signs & symptoms related to diarrhea patients. This ayurvedic treatment provides the best results to diarrhea patients as all the signs & symptoms are treated with the use of the ayurvedic medicines mentioned below in detail:
1. Kutaj Ghan Vati
Kutaj ghan vati is purely herbal formulation. It is very useful in curing diarrhea, intestinal infection, and dysentery. These tablets also help in curing irritable bowel syndrome. Kutaj ghan vati contains ingredients like Kutaj (Holarrhena antidysenterica), Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum).
These tablets manage symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, etc. It is also effective to manage the problem of loose stools.
Recommended Dosage: Take two tablets twice a day before meal with water.
2. Kutaj Bilva Syrup
Kutaj Bilva syrup is herbal syrup that shows the main action on diarrhea. It is an effective herbal remedy for chronic and acute amoebiasis, diarrhea, giardiasis, enteropathy, and colitis.
This medicine is a rich source of electrolyte and nutrition. It contains ingredients like Kutaj (Holarrhena antidysenterica), Bilwa (Aegle marmelos), Mustak (Cyperus rotundus), Dadima (Punica granatum), Nagkesar (Mesua ferrea), etc that shows antioxidant, anti-diarrheal, anti-inflammatory properties.
Recommended Dosage: Take two teaspoonfuls twice a day.
3. Detox Standard Powder
The powder contains a combination of natural and pure herbs which is the best for balancing the electrolytes and nutrition of the body. This herbal powder contains ingredients such as– Parwal pishti, Giloy satav, Shankh bhasam, Sutshekhar ras, Sudhyog tab, Shwet parpati, Tal sindoor, Shukta pisti, Akik pishti, Jahar mohra, Moti pishti. Detox standard powder that boosts immunity & acts as immuno- modulator. In diarrhea patients, it reduces gastritis and acidity.
Recommended Dosage –Take 1 sachet twice a day with normal water.
4. Sheetdhara Syrup
This herbal syrup is a very good antacid that neutralizes stomach acidity, relieves heartburn, & indigestion. It is also used in the condition of gastritis, belching, bloating, etc. This syrup commonly used to treat the symptoms of too much stomach, stomach upset, & heartburn conditions related to diarrhea patients. It relieves extra gas, the feeling of pressure, and discomfort in the stomach or gut of your body.
What is the Panchakarma Treatment for Diarrhea?
There is no panchakarma treatment for diarrhea patients. As already the patient is feeling weak & discomfort. So, only ayurvedic treatment is good in diarrhea. The Ayurvedic treatment mentioned above is the best herbal treatment for diarrhea patients.
Healthy Tips and Diet for Diarrhea Patients
People with diarrhea should eat well-balanced food because spicy or complex foods can irritate the bowels. The foods that may help with diarrhea include:
- Plain white rice
- Brown bread or toast
- Boiled potatoes
- Unseasoned crackers
- Hot cereals such as oatmeal, cream of wheat, or rice porridge.
Eating many small meals throughout the day can help to keep the digestive system becoming overworked.
In this case, the body also loses minerals and electrolytes through diarrhea. People should try to drink liquids containing minerals and electrolytes to replenish those lost. Sources of electrolytes and minerals contain:
- Soup broth
- Coconut water
- Electrolyte water
- Fruit juices
- Lemon water
Foods to Avoid
Foods to avoid while experiencing diarrhea include:
- Spicy foods
- Pork and veal
- Fried, fatty, greasy foods
- Processed foods, especially those with additive foods.
- All citrus fruits
- Fruits like pineapples, cherries, berries (seeded berries), figs, currants, and grapes
- Coffee, soda, and other caffeinated or carbonated drinks.
- Milk products, butter, ice cream, and cheese. If the diarrhea isn’t caused by lactose intolerance: stay away from these foods when you are suffering from diarrhea.
Yoga postures and pranayama for diarrhea patients are:
Some yoga postures that help in curing diarrhea are the following:
Do perform pranayama like omkar, sheetali, sheetkari, bhastrika are very beneficial in diarrhea conditions.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh