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Nutritional Management of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements. It occurs when waste matter passes quickly through the bowel before your body has a chance to absorb the water from it. Diarrhea may cause dehydration - a lack of water in your system. Thus, it is very important when you have diarrhea to drink a lot of fluids, especially water. Drink liquids that are at room temperature - not hot or icy.

If you have a sudden, short-term attack of diarrhea, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends taking nothing but clear liquids for the next 12 to 14 hours. This lets your bowel rest and replaces the important fluids lost during the incidence of diarrhea. Discuss any difficulties with diarrhea with your physician or registered dietitian.

The following are good food choices if you have diarrhea:

Try to avoid the following:

Some people need to avoid milk and dairy products when they have diarrhea. This is because they may not tolerate the lactose contained in these products.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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