When my younger daughter was about five years old, she kept complaining of stomach aches that weren’t associated with restaurant visits nor were they due to illness. In fact, she was hardly ever sick other than those stomach aches. I also noticed that her bowel movements were unusually messy and she wasn’t telling me about it. I just saw the soiled clothes in the dirty clothes hamper and I asked her how often she was soiling herself. She was very embarrassed, but shared that it was happening often. She hadn’t been telling me about it because she thought it was normal. All of her allergy tests had come back normal, but I had a suspicion that her chronic diarrhea was still due to food allergy. I took her off of all gluten and the stomachaches and diarrhea went away. One of the first natural cures for diarrhea isn’t really a cure at all. Some chronic cases are due to the foods that we are eating, things like gluten, fruit, caffeine, and lactose. If you don’t otherwise feel sick but suffer from chronic diarrhea, this is the first thing to consider. Try eliminating all of these things from your diet and see if you get better after a few days. If you do get better, then try adding them back in one at a time over a few weeks to see which one is the culprit.
Even though I have been following the Paleo diet for nearly a year, there are times when I eat at a restaurant or eat a gluten free dessert item (gluten free doesn’t mean grain free, which is what the Paleo diet is). This isn’t often, but when it’s my wedding anniversary or my child’s birthday, I want to celebrate and not feel stressed out about being super strict with my diet. I know that there are consequences for eating prohibited foods, and one of those is occasional acute diarrhea.
Sometimes the diarrhea is a direct result of eating contaminated food at the restaurant (you never can tell what goes on in the kitchen) and sometimes it is from eating the gluten free dessert item (rice, corn, and sorghum flour come from grains). Usually, these acute cases clear up in a couple of days. Thankfully, I don’t generally suffer any dehydration during these brief bouts, but that is a possible risk.
Sometimes I get cramping with the diarrhea and I will use some herbal aids to help clear out the germs. I make a tea that contains ginger, cinnamon, and peppermint. It is pretty tasty and when my children have upset tummies with diarrhea, they will drink it too. It is one of my favorite natural cures for diarrhea.
While I don’t always do this, it is a good idea to take some probiotic supplements, or good bacteria, to help your body combat the germs that are wreaking havoc in your intestines. I will often eat lacto-fermented food instead of a pro-biotic supplement, since the lacto-fermentation provides the same benefits.
While this type of diarrhea can be uncomfortable, the body is trying to get rid of toxins, and it is best not to interfere too much with this process or it could result in more serious illness.
I feel blessed that my family and I have been able to resolve our diarrhea issues. My dad’s brother and my mother’s sister both had colon cancer. One of the symptoms of colon cancer is chronic diarrhea that does not go away with dietary changes. I know that in my aunt’s case, there was also intestinal cramping and the diarrhea alternated with constipation. She experienced weight loss and came close to death before they removed her colon. Since my uncle’s colon removal, my father has opted to have regular colon checks and has advised me to do the same.
Before I had allergy testing and switched to a more whole foods based diet, I struggled with a bowel that alternated between constipation and diarrhea, accompanied by intense abdominal pain and cramping. Sometimes, it would be over a week between bowel movements. I had trouble keeping weight on and was chronically underweight. I was not formally diagnosed with irritable bowel, but that is essentially what I suffered from. If I had not made changes in my diet, I would have been on the road to more severe issues, possibly even cancer. Only after changing my diet did I start to see a change in my bowel patterns. I still have to be very careful because my bowel is sluggish. Even with dietary changes, I only have one bowel movement a day.
When we occasionally travel to the southern part of the United States, I do not allow my children to run around barefoot because they could contract hook worms through the soil. I am also careful with pork. We usually buy pastured pork directly from the farm, but occasionally we run out and have to buy store bought pork. Pork raised on factory farms is more prone to infection with worms and other harmful organisms. I like to marinate my pork in an acidic solution, usually containing wine or vinegar, for several hours and then cook it until no pink remains. I do not want my family to contract worms from improperly cooked meat. Worms are another common reason for chronic diarrhea. If you are experiencing unexplained weight loss, often feel hungry in spite of eating adequate meals, feel tired and have chronic diarrhea, you might want to see if perhaps you have some parasites. Some natural remedies for diarrhea caused by parasites include garlic, wormwood (plant native to cooler regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America), oregano oil, and eliminating sugar from the diet. Worms love sugar!
What I have found is that while diet is the key to resolving diarrhea, it is important to pay attention to sources of germs and parasites that can cause diarrhea as well. Doing a personal evaluation of possible food intolerances and infections will reveal the source of your intestinal troubles. Once your system is running better, there will be no more embarrassing trips to the bathroom cramping your style.
Please comment below on how this article has helped you overcome diarrhea.