Top Diet Tips for a Runny Tummy

diet tips for diarrea

This week’s topic is the one leaving you toilet bound for a few hours… It is usually a centre of embarrassment. But I have discovered in my occupation, of being a registered dietician (especially while working in the hospitals), that talking about this is NO BIGGY! You guessed it: Diarrhoea! Dieticians are SO awesome. We use all these “taboo” subjects to actually help our patients and bring them to a healthier place! But enough about my exciting profession and more about the informative blog on a runny tummy…

Diarrhoea refers to stools of very soft or liquid consistency accompanied by excessive fluids; as well as the unusual increased frequency of passing stool.

Let’s take a quick look at the types:

TYPES

There are many different types of diarrhoea - depending on the cause.

EXUDATIVE
This is associated with mucosal damage to the gastrointestinal wall usually due to radiation therapies, ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease.

OSMOTIC
This diarrhoea occurs when there are particles in the gut that is seen as “foreign” and when the gut integrity is “disturbed” which influence the microbiome: For example in lactose intolerance where the lactose cannot be properly digested or if stool transits too quickly in the gut due to surgery etc. Fasting or avoidance of irritants may assist this type.

SECRETORY
As said in the name, there is “secretions” of water and electrolytes to assist the body in FLUSHING out present bacteria/toxins; viruses and increased hormonal secretion. Fasting will not help this type of diarrhoea, as the problem is already inside the gut.

MALABSORPTIVE
When a certain disease condition led to the impaired absorption abilities of the gut, or even impaired digestion, malabsorptive diarrhoea occurs. In this case, some food particles may even be visible in the stool. The most common occurrence is fat in the stool (steatorrhea) which takes place when there is insufficient pancreatic enzymes, or interrupted bile flow leading to the fat only being partially broken down.

MEDICATION-INDUCED
Some medications cause increased bowel movements. Broad-spectrum antibiotics may also decrease the good bacteria in the gut resulting in osmotic diarrhoea (also since these antibiotics may reduce water and electrolyte absorption and thus leaving it available to “FLUSH”).
DIARRHOEA IS NOT A DISEASE, IT IS A SYMPTOM!

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The first step would be to visit your dietician or doctor to determine the official cause in order to treat it - as diarrhoea is not the disease, it is a symptom.
1. ORS
This is oral rehydration. To replace the fluids and electrolytes that have gone lost in the trip down the drain. One of the crucial factors to remember is that it should contain various minerals, salt AND water. After every loose stool, at least half a cup should be consumed. Also after the tummy runs stopped, you should increase your fluid intake for at least one day.

2. PROBIOTICS, PREBIOTICS & SOLUBLE FIBER
During diarrhoea, our bodies are flushing out excessive amounts of fluids and electrolytes through the gut. Together with this, our good bacteria living in the gut may also be flushed out… Leaving their microbiome-home behind - empty and abandoned. To repopulate them, you need to take strong probiotic supplements and ensure adequate levels of prebiotics as well (which act as the FOOD for the probiotics). Good probiotic food sources include yogurt, kefir, fermented onion/cabbage and kombucha etc. Prebiotic foods include those with pectin (apple's flesh), bananas, most soluble fiber. That is why it is commonly recommended to follow a B.R.A.T. diet: Banana, Rice, Apple and Toast. Note: These starches should be simple carbohydrates like white rice and white bread. These fibers and prebiotics assist with BINDING the loose stools to a more formed consistency while providing the gut with prebiotics.

3. SUGAR
If you are having diarrhoea due to toxins or infections - restricted sugar intake is advised. This is because sugar can act as FOOD for these toxins and feed them to quickly grow.

A runny tummy can be quite awful! Treat it as soon as you can, and remember to rehydrate!

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