Diarrhoea means having more frequent, lose or watery stools. It can be a side-effect of medications or as a result of damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms usually settle after an acute spell of diarrhoea but for some people, symptoms will persist. Other causes include:
If untreated, diarrhoea can cause weight loss, fluid loss and an imbalance of the electrolytes needed to keep you healthy. So, treating diarrhoea is very important to limit loss of nutrients, protect health and nutritional status and prevent malnutrition. Try to keep eating and drinking during a bout of diarrhoea. If new symptoms persist for more 7 days contact 111 or your healthcare team for advice. Use our Food & Symptoms Diary to record what you are eating and drinking and any symptoms – this will be useful to identify causes and to take to your next appointment.
Try to increase sources of soluble fibre in the diet. Soluble fibre contains gums and pectin that allows it to absorb water to form a gel in the stomach which adds bulk to the stool and helps to slow digestion.
Don’t forget that it is important to re-introduce wholegrains, fruits and vegetables into the diet once your symptoms have passed. For more information, check out our Diarrhoea Factsheet