How to Treat Diarrhea and Sour Stomach
Problems within the digestive system, including diarrhea and sour stomach, affect 95 million Americans every year, according to the Johns Hopkins website 3. Diarrhea refers to frequent watery bowel movements, typically caused by food or illness, which may or may not be accompanied by a sour stomach. Sour stomach, more commonly known as indigestion, describes symptoms such as gas, bloating and belching. Diarrhea and sour stomach both tend to subside over time, but they can also be treated and cured, saving the individual from discomfort.
Drink clear liquids such as water, electrolyte replacement beverages or juices other than apple or pear, which can cause additional stomach upset. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should also avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages, as well as alcohol, all of which can cause diarrhea and sour stomach to continue or even worsen. It's also important to stay adequately hydrated when you have diarrhea because you can lose large amounts of water and electrolytes.
Avoid foods that are spicy, high in fat, contain dairy products or are high in fiber. While your digestive system is upset, you need to allow it to recover without having to digest foods that may perpetuate the diarrhea and sour stomach. The Mayo Clinic recommends that as your stomach problems begin to resolve, you can resume adding small amounts of these foods to your diet. If, however, you begin to experience symptoms of diarrhea or sour stomach again, stop eating these types of foods, wait a day or two, and try again.
Take two to four grams of powdered ginger root or 30 to 90 drops of ginger extract daily, available at your local health food store. According to the University of Maryland, ginger is widely used by medical professionals in the treatment of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and indigestion 5. Ginger also decreases inflammation, which can occur in prolonged episodes of sour stomach and diarrhea. Alternatively, you can drink two cups of ginger tea or chew a piece of peeled fresh ginger root as needed.
Consume smaller meals more often. As you begin to feel better, the Mayo Clinic advises that you eat meals that are smaller, take the time to chew thoroughly and eat more slowly. Both diarrhea and sour stomach can be caused by stress, which can impair the digestive process. Eating less food and being sure to chew it thoroughly helps to initiate digestion in the mouth, rather than the stomach. As a result, the stomach has less work to do once the food reaches it. In the meantime, you should also learn techniques to reduce stress, such as meditation and physical activity.
Take an over-the-counter medication for diarrhea and sour stomach. In mild cases of these illnesses, over-the-counter treatments can be effective in relieving symptoms. For diarrhea, be sure the medication contains loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate, and for sour stomach, use a medication that reduces acid in the stomach. If you are currently taking prescription medications or have a pre-existing illness, talk to your doctor before using an over-the-counter medication because it may cause an unwanted interaction.
If your symptoms last for more than a couple of days or you are experiencing symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, fever or yellowing of the eyes or skin, see your doctor or go to the nearest hospital immediately.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Digestive Disorders including IBS, colon cancer, heartburn, ulcer, Crohn's
- Family Doctor: Nausea and Vomiting in Infants and Children
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Indigestion--The Discomfort of Sour Stomach
- Mayo Clinic: Indigestion--Treatments and drugs
- University of Maryland: Ginger
- ginger hand with minced and sliced ginger image by David Smith from Fotolia.com