Whist many patients do not present with acute diarrhoea it is often something patents phone up about as they are house bound whilst suffering. Diarrhoea is often part of the experience of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and occasionally the result of chronic constipation. There are many causes of diarrhoea and ruling out a serious pathology is always a primary consideration.

Diarrhoea is often part of the body’s natural mechanisms to effectively and quickly rid the body of the causative agent. Taking medication to stop the diarrhoea without treating the cause is not a recommended naturopathic approach to the problem. There are other methods which will work with your body to restore the correct bacterial balance and to help neutralise any toxicity produced by the infective agent if present.

Diarrhoea is the frequent passage of loose, watery stools, generally the result of increased motility in the colon. The stool may contain mucous, pus, blood or excessive amounts of fat and can be accompanied by fever, chills and malaise. Complications can be serious particularly in infants and elderly patients.

Diarrhoea is a symptom of an underlying condition, and acute diarrhoea is usually self-limiting (two to three days). Chronic diarrhoea (2-3 weeks or more in duration), however, requires appropriate assessment and management usually from your GP with stool samples being sent for testing. It is important in all cases of diarrhoea to quickly determine the cause(s).

  • Microbial infection
  • Recent antibiotic use and certain other medications
  • Food allergies, sensitivities intolerances
  • Nervous anxiety and/or other emotional disturbances
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Laxative abuse
  • Poisoning
  • Excessive intake of vitamin C supplements
  • Excessive intake of magnesium supplements
  • Other health conditions
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disorders
    • Coeliac disease,
    • Crohn’s disease,
    • Ulcerative Colitis
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Bowel cancer
    • Diabetic neuropathy

Common Symptoms & Signs

  • Frequent and loose, watery stools
  • Pus and/or blood in the stools
  • Abdominal discomfort, cramping and/or pain
  • Flatulence and/or bloating
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Fever (if related to infection)
  • Increased thirst
  • Nutrient malabsorption
  • Weight loss (in chronic diarrhoea)
  • Dehydration

Naturopathic Treatment

Treatment involves two stages; symptomatic relief followed by addressing the driving causes.

In most cases, the initial symptoms of diarrhoea respond quickly to naturopathic treatment and advice.

The treatments on offer will differ depending on the causal factors involved. These will as always be determined by a full consultation preceding advice. With chronic diarrhoea with no obvious cause a GP referral and or further testing is often recommended.

Initially the treatment will focus on the reduction of the acute symptoms usually with short-term supplementation. This will be followed by both nutritional and lifestyle guidance and intervention to help improve the health of your digestive system, concluding with knowledge of future prevention depending on the cause.

Dietary and lifestyle guidelines that may assist in the management of long-term diarrhoea, and dependent on the cause may include the following:

A low reactive diet eliminating a variety of common reactive foods to determine if they are contributing to, or are causing, irritation and diarrhoea.

An elimination/challenge trial may be helpful in uncovering sensitivities and the removal or reduction of known food allergens or food irritants is imperative. Allergy and digestive ability testing may well be indicated