When you have a case of acute gastro, your digestive system becomes irritated and goes into overdrive. The result is that water and nutrients move too quickly through the intestines resulting in watery, loose stools; or diarrhoea.
The resulting diarrhoea is not only unpleasant, but it can be uncomfortable, especially if you also suffer from gas-related symptoms such as bloating, cramps and wind.
How can diarrhoea make me dehydrated?
A bout of diarrhoea can cause the digestive system to become overactive. The intestines move too quickly which means there is not enough time for water and nutrients to be absorbed into the body. As a result, there is a risk of becoming dehydrated. This can happen quickly, especially in babies, young children and the elderly. Rehydration should be a priority for anyone who has diarrhoea.
Water and electrolytes are lost through diarrhoea. As a result, it is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Other fluids such as diluted lemonade and fruit juice, and clear soups can also help to replenish and rehydrate your body. Try to avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee or tea as they may increase bowel movements.
Specially formulated oral rehydration solutions, such as ORS Oral Rehydration Salts, are also available from the pharmacy.
If you find it difficult to keep liquids down, or if your diarrhoea persists, see a healthcare professional. Dehydration can quickly become an issue especially with young children so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
Should I eat when I have diarrhoea?
Some people think that they should avoid solid food when they have diarrhoea, but this is not always necessary. If you want to eat, it is best to avoid large, fatty, spicy or heavy meals as they can make diarrhoea worse. Try to have small light meals and stick to starchy foods such as banana, rice and bread.