University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Diarrhea

What is it?

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery bowel movements occurring frequently throughout the day. It may be an acute attack, coming on suddenly and lasting 24-48 hours, or chronic, occurring over a long period of time.

What causes it?

•Viral and bacterial infections
•Food poisoning
•Food intolerances
•Stress/tension
•Medications, e.g., antibiotics
•Diseases of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine
•Traveler’s diarrhea-In an acute case of diarrhea, the most important step is to consume fluids in small amounts throughout the day.

What should I eat?
In the first 12 hours your diet should consist of:

•Weak tea
•Clear fruit juices (cranberry, grape or fruit drinks)
•Clear broth
•Carbonated beverages (ginger ale, 7-up)
•Flavored gelatin
•Honey
•Sugar
•Popsicles
•Fruit ice
Once these foods are well tolerated, progress slowly to a soft, easily digested diet, e.g., soft-cooked eggs, crackers, poultry, fish, cooked vegetables, canned fruits, and refined breads,cereals, pastas.

Examination by a physician or nurse practitioner is recommended for those who suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhea or have symptoms such as: rectal bleeding or pain, mucus/pus in the stool, abdominal pain, or diarrhea lasting greater than three days.