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How to Stop Diarrhea

Diarrhea is defined as a condition in which a sufferer has frequent loose and watery stools. It is often caused by a viral infection and sometimes by a bacterial one, but can be caused by an underlying disease. The main concern with diarrhea when it is the only symptom is that the patient may become dehydrated. Learn how to stop diarrhea to alleviate discomfort and prevent further problems.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

See your physician if your diarrhea lasts more than two days. You may have an infection that needs to be treated professionally. Alternately, your diarrhea may stem from an underlying disease that needs to be diagnosed. Write down any other symptoms you are having, and take a list of your medications, so your doctor can obtain a full picture of your health. Follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends.

How to Stop Diarrhea Fast

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Treat your diarrhea with Loperamide hydrochloride, if you obtain the consent of your physician. This is an over-the-counter medication that slows down the motility (spontaneous movement) going on in your intestines, thus stopping your diarrhea. Do not take this medication if you are feverish. Check the drug information on the label and use as directed.

Ingest 2 oz. of bismuth subsalicylate three to four times a day to treat "traveler's diarrhea." This is a case of loose bowel movements most often caused by a bacterial infection. Do not use this medication if you have an aspirin allergy or suffer from kidney disease or gout. Check the label for additional warnings and take only as directed.

Side Effects of Anti-Diarrhea Medicine

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Eat when you are hungry, despite having diarrhea. Start with bland foods such as toast, broths and gelatin. Gradually add bananas, rice and baked chicken. Avoid anything fatty, spicy or deep fried. Abstain from highly acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruits and juices.

Check all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter ones to make sure they are not causing or worsening diarrhea. Your doctor may need to adjust a medicine, if you suspect it is contributing to your condition.

Drink clear liquids. While the liquids will not stop the loose stools, they will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Avoid pear or apple juices, as these are known to exacerbate diarrhea. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. If the diarrhea is severe, you should drink an electrolyte-balancing drink.


Consult your physician prior to traveling out of the country about taking antibiotics or bismuth subsalicylate as a preventative for loose and watery stools. The use of one or both of these agents can significantly decrease your chances of becoming ill with traveler's diarrhea.


Women on birth control pills need to use a back-up method of protection if diarrhea persists for more than two days or if antibiotics are prescribed.

Make sure all diary products you consume are pasteurized to help prevent developing loose bowel movements.

Do not leave foods out at room temperature, as this encourages bacterial growth that can cause illness, including digestive ones.