Diarrhea is the frequent passage of watery stools. It is a symptom, not a disease. Your diarrhea can be accompanied by abdominal cramps/pain, gas and bloating; generalized malaise; blood and mucus in your stools; rectal soreness; fever; weakness; loss of appetite; weight loss; and intestinal rumbling sounds.
Signs of dehydration often accompany diarrhea and these dehydration signs are increased thirst, dry mouth, anxiety or restlessness, body odor, little or no urination, severe weakness or dizziness or light-headedness.
What causes it:
There can be many possible causes of your diarrhea, ranging from simple to complex. Possible causes include:
- emotional stress
- deficiency of stomach acid
- nutrient deficiencies
- incomplete digestion of food
- pancreatic insufficiency or tumor
- inadequate bile secretion that causes malabsorption of fat
- food poisoning
- exposure to parasites
- consumption of contaminated water
- infections (bacterial, viral, and/or fungal)
- bacterial toxins
- food allergies, especially to milk, eggs, and wheat (histamine and allergic compounds have a strong laxative effect)
- excessive consumption of alcohol
- regular or excessive use of caffeine-containing beverages, foods, and drugs (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, No-Doz, Excedrin)
- sugar intolerances or intolerance of sugar substitutes
- use of certain drugs (especially antibiotics, NSAIDs, too much vitamin C and/or magnesium) that can damage the gut lining
- laxative use/abuse
- use of magnesium-containing antacids
- celiac disease/gluten intolerance
- metabolic disease (hyperthyroidism)
- surgical resection of the small intestine
- short bowel syndrome
- bowel diseases (Crohn’s, IBS, diverticultis, ulcerative colitis, and cancer)
- irritation of the bowel
- increased motility (the time elapsed from ingestion to elimination of food)
- heavy metal poisoning
- radiation or chemotherapy
- neurological disease such as diabetic neuropathy
- fecal impaction (blockage in the large intestine)
- overuse of antibiotics (resulting in overgrowth of Colostridium difficele)
- gallbladder disease (after consuming a fatty meal)
Acute diarrhea takes the form of an isolated incident caused by a temporary problem, usually a viral infection (that lasts from 3 to 7 days) or from food poisoning. Food-borne illnesses include: salmonella, E. coli, botulism, and staphylococcus. If you have insufficient stomach acid, you will be more susceptible to parasitic and other infections. Food and water-borne diarrhea is often associated with travel to underdeveloped countries, but it can happen in developed countries as well.
What can I do about it:
Alternative practitioners take the approach of determining the underlying cause of your diarrhea which can include your diet, stress levels, hormone function, what drugs and environmental toxins you’ve been exposed to. Here are some diet and lifestyle options for you:
Steps to immediate relief are:
(1) Determine the cause of your diarrhea. When your diarrhea last longer than a few days it can become a serious problem because it can lead to dehydration, malabsorption of nutrients, electrolyte imbalances, and even death. In these instances, we advise you to seek medical attention from your healthcare practitioner. They can help you determine the cause of your diarrhea through various medical tests.
(2) Choose your team of healthcare practitioners wisely. Your health condition and experience of discomfort may be the result of many imbalances in your body (requiring proper testing and an accurate diagnosis), especially if your diarrhea is chronic. Choosing practitioners with additional training in the areas nutrition, hormone testing/balancing, and detoxification processes will help you take a multi-faceted approach.
Taking ownership of your health equation can be one of the most empowering steps you can take and you can do this by: becoming more informed, listening to your inner wisdom, focusing on your “ideal experience” of health, and partnering with your healthcare and wellness practitioners to effect the best possible outcome. Essential Wellness would be honored to be a part of your wellness team.
(3) When you suffer from chronic diarrhea, you most likely have a gut ecosystem imbalance. Determine whether your symptoms are related to an overgrowth of Candida, Parasites, or Leaky Gut Syndrome as they often show up in concert. With this information, you will be better informed and know what steps to take next. We can teach you how to improve your diet, eliminate candida and parasites, and repair leaky gut by incorporating an elimination diet as your next step.
(4) Water is one of nature’s natural cleansers. Drinking optimal levels of purified water benefits your overall health by supporting your ability to digest your food, supporting your liver in its ability to detoxify your body, and providing fluid for optimal elimination of toxins.
Commit to drinking 1/2 your weight in fluid ounces of water each day. Drinking sips of warmed water (not microwaved) can help support you with detoxifying the congestion in your intestinal tract and lymphatic system throughout your entire body. Eliminating all other caffeinated, sugary, mucus-producing, carbonated beverages (such as coffee, tea, dairy, and soda pop) is essential as they support digestive dysfunction, parasitic and yeast overgrowth, and insulin resistance.
With diarrhea, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, including water, broths, meat stock or bone broths, herbal teas and green drinks like freshly juiced vegetables. Sports drinks as well as rice water can help to rebuild electrolyte balances, but keep in mind that sugary sports drinks and beverages can feed candida and other unfriendly microorganisms.
(5) It’s very important that you digest, assimilate, detoxify and eliminate properly. Anytime a food is eaten and not completely digested, it will only feed inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut. Low stomach acid interferes with the first step of digestion and can be a factor in your health equation.
The HCI Challenge Test can help you determine if you have low stomach acid. If your HCl Challenge Test causes you to experience immediate reflux symptoms, confer with your doctor to rule out a possible H. pylori infection, ulcer, or other stomach issues. Repairing your stomach lining is essential.
(6) With chronic diarrhea, focusing on repairing your metabolism and gut ecosystem is crucial. Eliminating the most common highly-reactive, inflammatory foods (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and corn) can help you eliminate the food sources that are contributing to your diarrhea, while you complete the required repair work. Upgrading your building materials will help you to unburden your digestive system, remove the foods that feed unfriendly microorganisms, stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, and support your body’s detoxification and elimination processes.
Replace inflammatory foods with satisfying balanced meals (healthy, lean and clean proteins; low-glycemic and high fiber carbohydrates; lots and lots of dark leafy greens; and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, oils). Reintroducing each reactive food group separately will allow you to determine what foods are still a problem for you.
Other steps include learning to read food labels, knowing how to choose meals when eating out, and how to create a stress-free environment when eating for optimal digestion. At Essential Wellness, we have a specific coaching program that will teach you all these things and more. It is designed to help you formulate a diet that will work best for you.
(7) Beware of over-the-counter medications like Pepto-Bismol, NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) for pain, and antacids. Pepto-Bismol will slow down your diarrhea but it also slows down the elimination of the infectious agent and actually prolongs your diarrhea. Pain relievers are extremely hard on your stomach lining and can increase your risk of parasites. Antacids also impair your stomach’s ability to produce the acid necessary to sterilize your food and digest it properly.
Most cases of diarrhea are just the body’s self-cleansing mechanism in action – a way of eliminating an irritant. Consider using charcoal tablets to absorb toxins and escort them out of your body until your diarrhea subsides. They can be found at your local pharmacy or drug store. Do not take charcoal at the same time you take medications or supplements.
(8) When traveling to another country where traveler’s diarrhea may be an issue, avoid drinking local water, using ice cubes made from local water source, eating raw vegetables, eating dairy products, and eating unpeeled fruit, and brushing your teeth with local water.
(9) When your diarrhea is caused by imbalances in your gallbladder, follow Step 6 with emphasis on eliminating all unhealthy fats, fried foods, and sugar from your diet. When you have gallbladder issues, it’s difficult for your body to digest your dietary fats and it’s extremely important for you to clean up your diet.
(10) Massage your neurolymphatic points and foot reflex points that correlate to areas of the body that are troubling you (liver, small intestines, large intestines, spleen, stomach, triple warmer). You can use essential oils to magnify the effect of massaging specific reflex points. Layering multiple oils can create a synergistic effect. Look at oils that will also support your digestive system (such as DiGize, Ginger, Peppermint, Fennel).
Young Living Essential Oils are safe, effective, and known for their purity and therapeutic-grade qualities. Schedule an appointment with Essential Wellness, and we can show you these points, meridians, and what oils may be the best match for you.
Steps to long-term, permanent relief:
If you are experiencing chronic diarrhea, your inner ecosystem is out of balance. It’s time for you to think about implementing these additional steps:
(11) Making your dietary improvements permanent might be exactly what you need to feel better. When you do not provide your body with key nutrients all aspects of digestion, absorption, detoxification and elimination become impaired. Your body can only mirror the quality of the building materials you provide it through your diet.
The place where most people fail is falling back into old habits that slowly recreate their imbalances and symptoms. Eating healthy 95% of the time and indulging only 5% of the time supports your optimal well-being. If you are struggling with how to integrate these changes on your own, an Essential Wellness practitioner skilled in the areas of nutrition, digestion and detoxification can help you.
(12) ALCAT allergy testing can easily determine what allergens are triggering you. Your test results will tell you what foods, chemicals, and other environmental triggers (like pet dander, mold, fungi, grasses) are triggers for you. This testing determines the severity of your intolerance and gives you recommendations of how long to remove it from your environment while you repair your digestive system.
If it’s determined that you have food, chemical or environmental sensitivities, receiving NAET Desensitization Therapy might be part of your allergies answer. This desensitization therapy works in combination with cleaning up your diet, strengthening your ability to digest your food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating toxins. It helps reduce the over-triggering of your immune system.
(13) Once the cause of your diarrhea has been determined, it’s time for you to begin repair work of your digestive terrain. Herbal supplements like a Biocult probiotic, L-glutamine powder, NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, digestive enzymes, and Glutathione spray all have their place in supporting the rebuilding of your gut ecosystem, but they will not make up the difference if you eat a “crappy” diet.
You can also introduce organic, home-made probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, etc., to continue feeding and rebuilding your gut ecosystem. The healthier your gut ecosystem is, the more able your immune system is to chelate toxins from your body. There are many ayuredic herbs that benefit the repair of your digestive system. Young Living has many nutritional supplements that can help you balance your digestive terrain. We can help teach you about these supportive supplements and live foods at Essential Wellness.
(14) Detoxifying your body through dietary improvements, an herbal cleanse program, and/or detoxification therapies can be an effective way to improve your overall experience of well-being. Before beginning any detox protocol, check in with your healthcare practitioner, to determine if there is a reason you should not complete a cleanse at this time. (When your body is in an extreme state of stress and toxicity, it’s important to replenish your nutrient reserves before beginning any detoxification protocol.)
It is also very important for your elimination channels to be open before beginning and during any detoxification program, otherwise you may suffer from a Herxheimer Reaction. At Essential Wellness, we know the ins and outs of the cleansing and detoxification process and we can help you minimize your discomfort as you detoxify your body.
How can Essential Wellness help:
At Essential Wellness, we believe repair and recovery is based on many factors. Although we cannot diagnose, prescribe, treat or claim to cure any medical condition you may have, our focus is on helping you reduce the many levels of stress that are playing into your current health experience.
When you are experiencing diarrhea and the therapies you’ve tried are not giving you relief, Essential Wellness can help you. We do this by sharing our knowledge and experience, tools, techniques, and these therapies:
- Nutrition & Wellness Plan is one of our coaching programs that will help you get clear about what your wellness goals are (based on your individual needs), teach you how to decipher and make sense of all the dietary information available to you, and help you formulate your own wellness plan with accountability. The foundation of your wellness plan will be structured around habits that only you have the power to control and change.
- Based on our knowledge and experience, most health disorders including diarrhea are connected to some physiological dysfunction that causes accumulated toxicity in the body and vice versa. We offer the detoxification therapies of Colonics, Core Lymphatic, and IonCleanse Foot Detox to help reduce stress on your digestive, detoxification and elimination channels. Colonics in combination with herbal support will compliment your dietary foundation and can be especially helpful to you when you are experiencing bowel problems such as diarrhea.
- We offer Core Synchronism, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, and Vibrational Raindrop Technique therapies to assist you in balancing your physical body by reducing your stress. When your body feels out of balance and you feel stress, it is usually due to blocked or congested energy that has settled in your physical body. We can add Essential Oils to compliment the therapy you receive.
- Toxic emotions can block the flow of your energy channels and become stuck in your physical body. The emotional component of diarrhea can be connected to: not feeling safe to or having an inability to let go of unresolved emotional abuse, sadness and sorrow; holding onto hate and an inability to forgive and move forward; or inwardly criticizing and judging with an inability to forgive yourself. If any of these descriptions match what you are experiencing, Mental-Emotional Stress Release techniques may help you understand and integrate these experiences and diffuse the stress they cause you. Flower Remedies can compliment the therapy you receive.
- With chronic diarrhea you are most likely experiencing multiple symptoms. We offer RAE Radionics Hair Analysis as another tool to help you understand any stress that is present in your energy system.