Diarrhea is a common side effect of many medications. Learn effective home remedies and OTC treatments to stop diarrhea caused by medication.
Diarrhea is a common medication side effect that can be very uncomfortable and inconvenient.
It can also lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and malabsorption of nutrients.
If you are experiencing diarrhea as a result of taking medication, you may wonder how to stop the runs from meds and restore your digestive health.
In this blog post, we will share some tips and advice on how to deal with this unpleasant condition, and how to use a medication side effect checker to find out if your meds are causing it.
Rehydrating is Key
One of the main concerns with diarrhea is dehydration. When you have frequent watery bowel movements, your body is losing fluid and electrolytes.
Rehydrating should be your first priority when experiencing medication-related diarrhea. Drink plenty of water, coconut water, or an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte.
Broths and soups are also great options. Try to avoid caffeinated, carbonated, or sugary drinks as these can make diarrhea worse.
Absorb and Soothe
There are a few over-the-counter medications that can help absorb excess fluid in the intestines and soothe diarrhea symptoms.
Two of the most common options are:
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol): This medication coats the intestines and helps absorb fluid. The recommended dose for adults is two tablespoons or chewable tablets every 30 minutes or 1 hour until diarrhea subsides. Don’t exceed 16 doses in 24 hours.
- Loperamide (Imodium): This helps slow digestion and decrease bowel movements. For diarrhea, the usual adult dose is 4 mg initially, followed by 2 mg after each loose stool. Don’t exceed 16 mg per day.
These absorbent medications can provide quick relief of acute diarrhea symptoms. However, they aren’t a cure and shouldn’t be used for more than 2 days unless directed by your doctor.
Try a BRAT Diet
When dealing with medication-related diarrhea, go easy on your stomach by eating bland, gentle foods for a couple days.
The BRAT diet has been recommended for years to help firm up loose stools:
- Bananas: High in potassium to replenish electrolytes lost from diarrhea. Choose slightly green bananas which have more starch.
- Rice: The white variety is starchy and absorbs extra fluid in the intestines.
- Applesauce: Soft, mild, and high in pectin to help firm up stool.
- Toast: Stick to plain white bread or saltine crackers. The starch and carbs can help bind stool.
Stick with the BRAT foods for 24-48 hours to give your digestive system a break. Then gradually reintroduce bland foods like skinless chicken, eggs, mashed potatoes, noodles, and clear broths.
Probiotics are Your Friend
Getting your gut bacteria balanced can also help stop diarrhea in its tracks. Taking a daily probiotic supplement can help replenish the good bacteria in your intestines.
Common strains linked to diarrhea relief include Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and Bifidobacterium.
You can also eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
I like to take a probiotic supplement for at least 2 weeks anytime I have to take antibiotics or experience medication-related diarrhea.
Probiotics really help get my digestive system back on track.
Chat with Your Doctor
If home remedies aren’t getting your diarrhea under control within 2 days, contact your doctor.
They may adjust the medication dosage or frequency to alleviate the side effects.
For severe or persistent diarrhea, prescription anti-diarrheal medications may be needed. Your doctor can also test for other causes like infections.
The most important thing is never stop or alter dosages of prescribed medications on your own without medical guidance.
Work closely with your doctor to find the optimal treatment plan that manages your condition while minimizing uncomfortable side effects like diarrhea.