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Diarrhoea is defined as an increase in frequency of bowel motions, or loose bowel motions, which may be due to a huge range of causes. Causes of acute bouts of diarrhoea range from bacterial and viral infections to food poisoning from contaminated food or water (commonly occurs whilst traveling & is termed travelers' diarrhea). Chronic (longer term) diarrhoea may be a symptom of conditions such as Coeliac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Diverticular Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Lactose Intolerance. It is important to investigate the underlying cause of long term diarrhoea as there is a loss of important electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, bicarbonate & chloride which may seriously affect the body’s fluid balance.

Natural medicine may be useful for both acute and chronic diarrhoea as various herbs have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial actions which can assist to ‘fight off’ foreign pathogens; there are also herbs and nutrients which assist in decreasing inflammation, reducing pain and cramping, minimising nausea and helping normal bowel function to resume.

Watery stools which occur fairly quickly after ingestion of lactose containing foods such as milk, cream, yogurt or cheese may be due to lactose intolerance; these symptoms are often accompanied by cramping pain, mucus in the stools or urgency. If you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance it is important to avoid lactose, however enzymes such as Lacteeze are useful to decrease symptoms if there are situations where lactose can’t be avoided. Food intolerances in general are a common cause of irritable bowel digestive symptoms such as the cramping, diarrhoea, pain or flatulence – fortunately there are home-tests available to identify which foods are triggering symptoms. Food detective kits are quick, easy & accurate; many people find that there is more variety in their diet once they know the specific foods to avoid.

Many of the symptoms associated with diarrhoea are linked to the inflammation which is occurring in the digestive system. Aloe Vera, Slippery elm, Probiotics & Golden seal all assist to repair the bowel wall, which in turn assists with absorption of nutrients, efficient elimination of waste & brings the bowel back to balance. In acute situations herbal teas such as Chamomile, Ginger, Fennel, Peppermint & Liquorice.

Updates - May 30 2011

Alam, N et al (2011), ‘Efficacy of L-Isoleucine Supplemented Food and Vitamin D in the Treatment of Acute Diarrhea in Children’, Gastroenterology, Volume 140, Issue 5, Supplement 1, May 2011, pp: S-571

Scientists have come up with a novel way of treating diarrhoea in children. The amino acid L-isoleucine has been shown to induce the cells of the intestines to produce anti-microbial substances. In a recent trial, it was added to the food of children between 6 and 36 months who attended hospital with acute diarrhoea. While recovery time was similar between those treated and untreated, the children who were given L-Isoleucine had lower stool volume, indicating that they were absorbing more of their food, and thus getting more nutrition. This was be vitally important in a draining condition like Diarrhoea.

Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for Diarrhoea:

Products Suggested Dosage
1. Nutra Life Gut Relief (125g) 1 scoop x 1-2 daily.
2. Thompson’s Slippery Elm 800mg (120 Tabs) 1 tab with a small glass of water x 2-3 daily.
3. Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus (30 caps) OR

Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus Dairy Free (30 Caps)

1 tsp or cap before bed (away from food).
4. Ethical Nutrients IBS Relief (30 Caps) 1 cap daily (away from food)
5. Nature’s Sunshine Golden Seal (100 Caps) 2 caps x 2 daily with a meal.
7. Lact-eeze  (7ml, 10 Tabs, 100 Tabs) (if lactose intolerant) Chew 1-3 tabs immediately before consuming dairy.
8. Rainbow Herbals Worming Mixture (50ml) 20 drops in 25ml of water x 4 daily (for three days).

NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.

For more information on Diarrhoea or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.

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