What help is available for my struggle with diarrhea?

Uncontrolled diarrhea is debilitating, uncomfortable and embarrassing. But equally concerning, it can also lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, skin breakdown and fatigue.

It is important to determine what is causing your diarrhea so you can receive the most effective treatment. For someone who is seriously ill, it can be due to:

  • Partial blockage in the intestine
  • An infection, such as clostridium difficile infection (C-diff) or E.Coli
  • Side effects of radiation or chemotherapy
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Constipation/fecal impaction that is only allowing backed-up, liquefied stool to be released (overflow diarrhea)
  • Over-use of laxatives following a bout of constipation

Different medications, or a combination of treatments, are indicated for each of these. A physician will need to assess the best course of action.

In all cases, you need to stay hydrated, eat simple carbohydrates such as toast, rice or crackers, and avoid milk and other dairy products with lactose. 

Learn more about managing diarrhea in serious or chronic illness.