Diarrhoea happens. No matter how strongly we prefer not to think or talk about it, and no matter how much it stresses us out, it still happens. In fact, sometimes the more we stress out, the worse the diarrhoea gets, no matter the original cause! Stress is tied to a range of gastrointestinal problems [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22314561] including diarrhoea, but integrative health & medicine has remedies you can use to successfully treat them both.
How are Stress and Diarrhoea Related?
Stress in this context can be defined as an acute threat to “homeostasis,” or internal balance, of the body. The mind-brain, body and gut are always influencing each other in every moment — even right now. When one area is affected - positively or negatively - the others respond in kind. For instance, remember a time when you had a negative thought about something (brain) and then experienced a sinking feeling in your gut? Or another time you got really angry at somebody (brain) and felt tension and heat in your chest (body) or stomach? Or another time when you were in pain (body) and found yourself reacting more strongly and feeling more irritable (brain) around a coworker? These are just a few examples of the connection between these seemingly separate aspects of our existence. Diarrheas are another such response. When these connections are thrown off balance, really anything can happen. And when you experience reactions like those above, diarrhoea, or any other kind of upset, it helps to think of them as your body’s attempts to make the imbalance known to you so that you can do something about it!
Natural Remedies for Diarrhoea
1. Probiotic Supplements
Diarrhoea is a common response to gut disturbances, including problems with gut bacteria, which are supposed to help us digest our food, regulate hormone production, promote good blood pressure, and encourage brain health. [http://ow.ly/VxeBA]. Antibiotic usage is the biggest disturbing factor, as they kill off good bacteria as well as the bad. Poor diet (processed foods, large amounts of sugar, etc) and inflammation - often caused by poor diet - are other common culprits. The right probiotics, i.e. - good bacteria in supplement form, can help reverse this damage, replace the good bacteria that were lost due to the antibiotics, and reduce pain and inflammation as well.
But not all probiotics are created equal. It’s best to take a multi-strain probiotic with at least 10 billion units (total) including lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus bulgaricus, bifidobacterium lactis, and lactobacillus reuteri - shown to be a particularly helpful remedy for children’s diarrhoea and abdominal pain. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20626584] Some products that have may be helpful include:
2. Gentle Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement
Diarrhoea means your body is not absorbing your food properly. This creates an unfortunate cycle where ongoing diarrhea depletes your body of nutrients, which worsens the imbalance and your body’s state of physical and mental stress, which in turn further prolongs the diarrhoea. You can restore balance faster by breaking this cycle. To do this, add a quality multivitamin to your probiotic supplement and take it even during acute diarrhoea.
“Quality" means a food-based vitamin (it should say food-based on the label) that is gentle on the stomach and that includes a broad range of vitamins and minerals in good, absorbable forms. Sadly, not many brands fit the bill, but two that work for my clients without any issues of stomach upset are:
Another option besides the multivitamin supplement is to use himalayan pink salt on your food - it contains many different mineral types and can assist with the process of mineral replenishment. Plus it really tastes great.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils, volatile substances distilled from plants, can be a great ally when trying to restore balance, reduce inflammation and pain, and relieve stress associated with diarrhoea. In my practice, peppermint, lavender, and chamomile (german or roman) essential oils have been the most helpful. You can find these oils in most natural foods stores or at large online retailers like Amazon. Brands I recommend are Veriditas Botanicals, Springfield, Essential Therapeutics, Aura Cacia, or Doterra.
There are a few ways you can use them. For chamomile, I recommend putting one drop of it directly under your tongue and leaving it for as long as possible, then swallow. You can also make the following blend:
4. Energy Work
Relieving stress helps relieve diarrhoea. Any form of relaxing complementary therapy that you like, such as Reiki, Emmett therapy, or a gentle massage, can quickly put your mind and body at ease and contribute to the restoring of the internal balance that is key to healing.
I recommend experimenting with as many of these remedies as you can. The more you do to support your healthy return to balance, the sooner you will see results. If you have any questions, or would like help finding the right complementary therapy for you, contact me at the firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing. For more frequent updates, please check my Facebook group page.