Facts about diarrhea: what really helps?
Rusk, drink a lot and fruit - everyone probably knows the parental tips for diarrhea. Prof. (Univ. Chisinau) explains which of these home remedies actually help and which one is better to stay away from. Dr. Stefan Hillejan, phlebologist and proctologist from the practice clinic for venous and rectal diseases in Hanover and chairman of the professional association of qualified medical experts in Germany.
Be careful with pretzel sticks, cola and rusks
Many still believe that pretzel sticks and cola are particularly suitable to compensate for the mineral loss caused by diarrhea. And indeed: in the short term, the soft drink increases well-being. Because with corresponding digestive problems, the loss of fluid leads to low blood pressure, which cola temporarily increases again. But the good feeling does not last long, the caffeinated drink increases the intestinal activity even more. In addition, the large amount of sugar often leads to increased water excretion via the kidneys and thus to flushing out the electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, which are particularly important in liquid stool.
The latter is contained in pretzel sticks, but these do not provide the body with any other important nutrients. Rusk, on the other hand, helps to compensate for the loss of nutrients due to the content of simple sugars. However, people with known intolerances should exercise caution. "Certain types of grain irritate the intestine and the excessive consumption of fiber in the dough also often leads to diarrhea," explains the expert.
Which really helps
Fruit and tea in particular improve the digestive problems. Bananas contain vitamins and starch, for example, and restore the body to the potassium lost in the case of diarrhea. Blueberries are said to have a germ-inhibiting property, and apples contain both anti-inflammatory polyphenols and pectins. The latter swell in the intestine, absorb liquid and thicken the stool. In addition, their multiple sugars absorb toxins and soothe the mucous membranes.
For an optimal effect, it is advisable to grate the apples and their skins into a sauce. This makes the fruit more digestible and water is best bound during digestion. Tea is one of the most effective remedies for diarrhea: it soothes the digestive tract, supplies the organism with fluid and, due to its tannins, bitter substances and essential oils, often has an anti-inflammatory effect. Peppermint in particular has a high proportion of tannins. Chamomile acts against germs and is also an antispasmodic. Only affected people should refrain from black tea, because if they are consumed too much, they have an effect similar to that of cola. "Caffeine increases this type of intestinal problem," emphasizes Prof. Hillejan.
In an emergency, an expert
If the diarrhea persists for more than two days despite all measures, a visit to the doctor is recommended. If the affected person is a child or if there are side effects such as fever and circulatory problems, an expert should be consulted immediately. Electrolyte solutions, medical charcoal and yeast tablets from the pharmacy help with pronounced forms of the symptoms, but in these cases they do not replace a visit to the doctor. (sb, pm)