by Sinead Fine (MAHA)

Diarrhoea can be caused by stress, viral, bacterial or parasitic infections. Food irritants such as spices, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco can also affect diarrhoea. Food intolerance is also a culprit.

The main priority is to replace the fluids being lost.

To replace the mineral salts put 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a litre of water and drink during the day.

The second priority is to find the cause.

If the attack is more than 24 hours, its wise to visit your docter to rule out any serious infection. With young children its imperitive that you do not allow them to become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include poor skin tone, apathy, sunken eyes and scanty urine. Other danger signs are fever and pain.

Eat bland foods during the attack or avoid food altogether to give your digestive system a break. If you are hungry foods such as boiled potatoes, bananas, boiled mung beans and white rice can be taken - fibre can sometimes make the condition worse so avoid fruit and vegetables. Cooked brown rice and millet is healing and soothing during boats of diarrhoea also. Avoid fruit juices at all costs or at least have them heavily diluted.

Herbs, which are astringent, are blackberry leaves, which is a traditional remedy for diarrhoea. To a lesser extent strawberry and raspberry leaves are also useful. Tormintil, also known as blood root is very effective for colicky pain and diarrhoea and is best taken in tincture form. Agrimony is also very useful. Passionflower, Chamomile and Peppermint are soothing and antispasmodic. Mag Phos (homeopathic remedy) and Magnesium (Mineral) also help greatly to lessen attacks.

In cases of suspected bacterial and/or parasitic infection try grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract and oregano extract. Especially in cases of parasites, try the above and also a mixture of 10% Clove tincture, 20% Wormwood tincture and 70% Black Walnut tincture (making sure the inner green husks of the black walnut are used to make the tincture, rather than the bark). Most health food stores sell this mix. This mixture should be 10 drops three times a day for the first week, 20 drops three times a day for the second week and 30 drops three times a day for the third week. Take a break and then repeat if necessary. From experience I know this is very very effective. It should not be taken long term because of the wormwood content, but it seems safe to take Black Walnut for longer periods of time.

Homeopathy is very effective in treating acute attacks of diarrhoea. However if diarrhoea is a regular occurance you should refrain from self help and visit your local professional Homeopath as well as getting medical tests to find the cause. Diarrhoea can be a sign of more serious illnesses.

Try the below medicines in 6c or 30c and follow the instructions given here.  If you find your symptoms do not match the medicines below, contact your nearest professional homeopath.

Aloe - Morning diarrhoea mixed with wind, stools lumpy and watery, sudden urging with a fear of being incontinent.  Tip of tongue is very red.  Symptoms worse in morning and also for eating.  Difficult to distinguish between needing to pass wind and needing to pass stool.

Ars alb - Vomiting and diarrhoea often caused by bad food or water.  Restlessness and anxiety.  Symptoms worse during the night.  Thirst for small quantities of warm drinks at regular intervals.  Burning stinging diarrhoea.  Stools are watery burning and stinging, chill, weak.  Often first remedy to treat with in cases of travellers diarrhoea.

Arg nit - Anxiety and apprehension. Symptoms worse before an important event. Belching.  Craving for salty and sweet things.

Chamomile - Diarrhoea common in teething babies. Stools are greenish yellow.

China - Stools like chopped eggs.  Painless, watery, offensive yellow stools, diarrhoea after eating too much fruit or milk, great weakness and vomiting.  No appetite, painful guts, rumbling and distension.  Diarrhoea with wind.

Colocynthis - Painful cramping colic which starts and finishes suddenly. Relieved by pressure or by bending double.  Think splattery copious yellow stools often immediately after eating, improves by bending double, heat and strong pressure.  Attack may have been brought on by anger.

Gelsemium - Trembling.  A feeling of weakness with inability to speak.  Excellent medicine before exams or stage fright. Less restless than Arg Nit.

Ipecac - Great nausea, not helped by vomiting.  Motions are smelly, frothy yellow, green.  Colicky pain and straining, diarrhoea in spasms.  No thirst, clean tongue.

Phos acid -  Painless, profuse, watery, contains undigested food.  Great exhaustion after passing a stool but the patient feels better. Illness may be of nervous disposition (eg. Homesickness)

Podophyllium - Profuse, spluttery, watery “pea soup” diarrhoea.  Severe gushing, worse in early morning often preceded by painful colic.  Empty feeling afterwards.  Stools are extremely offensive.  Diarrhoea followed by weakness, pain improved by heat and lying on abdomen.

Pulsatilla - Stools constantly change in shape and colour. (no two stools alike)  May be accompanied by weeping and depression.  Often caused by emotional upset or rich fatty foods.  Also made worse by cold foods and onions.

Sulphur - Morning diarrhoea which may drive patient out of bed, (5 - 6am). Anus feels hot. Suitable for warm blooded individuals who crave sweets and fat.