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Rather harmful: experts advise against cola and pretzel sticks for diarrhea
If you have to spend half a day in the toilet because of diarrhea, you often get well-intentioned advice on how to alleviate the symptoms. For example, cola and pretzel sticks are said to help with diarrhea. But health experts advise against it; this is more harmful than useful. But there are other recommended home remedies for diarrhea and vomiting.
Different causes of diarrhea
Especially the beginning of the norovirus season in Germany has led to many people suffering from diarrhea. Other infections with viruses, stress, food intolerance and various diseases can lead to the need to go to the toilet constantly. Most health experts advise against cola and pretzel sticks for diarrhea. But there are ways to alleviate the symptoms.
Medicines usually don't have to be
Those who have diarrhea usually do not need medication. Some of these involve enormous risks anyway. Last summer, for example, a warning was given against an anti-diarrhea medicine that, in high doses, can apparently lead to serious, sometimes fatal heart problems.
Home remedies for diarrhea are often sufficient. However, it depends on what causes the symptoms, because diarrhea is not a disease, but a symptom.
In a message from the dpa news agency, experts explain how diarrhea can occur, what can help and when a doctor should be consulted.
Body loses important minerals
According to Ursula Sellerberg from the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists in Berlin, diarrhea occurs if you have to use the toilet more than two to three times a day for several days. The stool is liquid or even watery. In addition to the liquid, the body also loses important minerals.
Diarrhea is often caused by viruses or bacteria. Or certain medications. For example, antibiotics sometimes have diarrhea as a side effect, explained the director of the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Infectiology at the University Hospital Jena in Thuringia, Prof. Andreas Stallmach.
Diarrhea can also result from food poisoning or from inflammatory bowel disease. And stress can also hit your stomach and intestines.
Clarify the cause medically
Often the stool becomes firmer on its own after two to three days. "However, if the diarrhea lasts longer or returns frequently, the cause must be clarified medically," explained Bettina Sauer from the Stiftung Warentest in Berlin.
Special care should be taken if the victim finds blood in the stool, they have a fever and dizziness and their skin looks saggy.
Blood in the stool can indicate a tumor in the intestinal wall and sagging skin shows that the body is very dry. In such a case, liquid may need to be infused in the hospital.
Therapy depends on the trigger
Which therapy is necessary depends on the cause of the diarrhea. Affected people have to drink a lot in order not to dry out. According to Stallmach, it should be two to three liters a day.
As scientists reported a few months ago, among other things, diluted apple juice helps against the risk of fluid loss in the case of mild diarrhea.
In some cases, however, nausea also leads to diarrhea. That makes it hard to drink a lot. According to Stallmach, it is best to only take small sips throughout the day. And not just water: "Electrolyte solutions from the pharmacy can help compensate for the loss of minerals," says Stallmach.
This mixture of salts such as table salt and sodium citrate, as well as potassium chloride and glucose can also be made by yourself: in a liter of boiled tap water or still mineral water there is a quarter teaspoon of table salt and baking powder, two tablespoons of sugar or honey and half a cup of orange juice.
Cola can make diarrhea worse
One or two mashed bananas are also helpful. The combination of cola and pretzel sticks is better avoided. "Cola contains far too much sugar, which can increase diarrhea," said Stallmach. In addition, other salts such as potassium or nitrates are missing in the pretzel sticks.
If the diarrhea arises from the fact that the person concerned is stressed, relaxation exercises to reduce stress can be useful.
Nowadays, doctors no longer recommend healthy food in the event of diarrhea, but if the diarrhea occurs on a trip to a country with rather low hygiene standards: "There you should avoid eating raw food there, only drink boiled or industrially bottled water and on ice cubes waive, ”said Sellerberg.
But hygiene is also important at home so that pathogens don't stand a chance. "Above all, this includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap before and after the kitchen work, before all meals and after using the toilet," explained Stiftung Warentest editor Sauer. (ad)