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Diarrhea is a symptom of disruption to your digestive system, and you might be surprised how easy it is to tip the sensitive balance.
When your digestive system is in its normal rhythm, food and fluid pass regularly from the stomach into the small intestine. Food is then broken down and nutrients are absorbed along with most of the fluid. The remaining waste and some water pass into the colon (large intestine) where more water is absorbed and finally the waste is passed in the form of stools.
When the cells in your small intestine or colon are irritated, the coordinated and regular movement of your intestines can become overactive. Essential salts and fluids end up being passed through the colon too quickly with less fluid being absorbed by the body. The result is loose or watery stools, commonly known as diarrhea.Back to top
Several things can tip the balance of our sensitive digestive systems. For most people, it’s occasional - a stomach bug or travel related. Others suffer more frequently and, for them, it can be changes in food (or drink) and mood (like stress) that might act as triggers for a bout of diarrhea.
Here are some common factors that could cause diarrhea:
- Mood. Are you going through a particularly stressful period? Stress, anxiety and nervousness can play a key role in unsettling your system.
- Food. Knowing your ‘trigger’ foods, drinks and eating habits is an important way of limiting the incidence of diarrhea.
- Stressed bowels. This is sometimes diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Food allergies and intolerances. These are different but can both cause diarrhea. Keep a food diary to get to know what works and doesn’t work for your body.
- Menstruation. Many women react to their monthly hormonal changes when episodes of diarrhoea can be more common.
- Gastroenteritis. This is inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a bacterial infection.
- Norovirus. This is a viral infection that leads to gastroenteritis.
- Food poisoning. Eating or drinking contaminated food or drink can lead to gastroenteritis and associated diarrhea.
According to our survey of over 2000 sufferers of frequent acute diarrhea in 14 countries, 84% of us feel weak and tired when suffering from acute diarrhea. This is no surprise when you consider the resulting loss of important fluids and salts from our body. So why leave it untreated when you can relieve diarrhea along with its uncomfortable symptoms and dehydrating effects?
IMODIUM® contains an active ingredient called Loperamide, which works in harmony with your body to help restore your digestive system back to its natural rhythm, renewing the absorption of fluids and salts in your system.
Here’s what to do if you get diarrhea :
- Take IMODIUM® straight after your first bout – it can stop diarrhea in just one hour so your body can start to recover sooner
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and/or taking a rehydration treatment
- Avoid fizzy drinks and rich or spicy foods
- As your appetite increases, eat regular meals of simple baked foods
Experts agree that, if you have acute (short term) diarrhea and you’re otherwise healthy, you can self-medicate and use a diarrhea treatment right away, and there’s no advantage to letting diarrhea run its course. Gastroenterologists recommend Loperamide, the active ingredient in IMODIUM®, as the ‘treatment of choice’ for the relief of diarrhea.
If you have longer lasting or persistently recurrent diarrhea, it might indicate an underlying medical condition, so you should talk to your doctor.
You should also see a doctor if :
- Your symptoms last longer than 48 hours
- You develop a fever over 38°C
- You have blood or mucus in your stools
Many people think diarrhea is a sign that your body is trying to get rid of something, or that it's better to let it ‘flush’ any bacteria or toxins out of the body. But diarrhea is not a defence mechanism. It’s a symptom of disruption to the finely tuned machine that is our digestive system. It’s your immune system that fights infection, so there’s no need to leave diarrhea to run its course. In fact, when left to run its course, diarrhea can cause you to lose essential fluids and salts, leaving you feeling weak and depleted. Early treatment limits this loss so you can start to feel better and your system can recover more quickly.Back to top
As with many medicines, IMODIUM® is not recommended when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or caring for a newborn, diarrhea can be the last thing you need. But, while you can’t use IMODIUM®, you can try to look after yourself by drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthily and resting. If you’re concerned, it’s best to ask your doctor for advice.Back to top
IMODIUM® is suitable for children over 12 years of age, but not for younger children. Children with diarrhea can become dehydrated more quickly than adults, so it's a good idea to use an oral rehydration treatment, which you can find in soluble sachets. Oral rehydration solutions replace lost fluids and salts and help prevent dehydration, but they don’t relieve the symptoms of diarrhea.
Here’s some advice for treating your child’s diarrhea :
- Avoid sweetened fluids like soft drinks, energy drinks, sugar water and undiluted fruit juices. These all contain sugar that draws water into the intestine and can make diarrhea worse.
- Giving your child solid foods, such as bread, cereal, rice, lean meat, yoghurt, fruit and vegetables, can help restore essential nutrients needed to fight infection.
- Offer your child yoghurts that contain live or active cultures.
- Keep your child’s bottom dry. Use care, tenderness and plenty of nappy cream when changing nappies, since it’s easy for your baby’s bottom to become irritated.
If your child’s diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours, or you’re otherwise concerned about their health, you should consult your doctor.Back to top
IMODIUM® will not act to hinder your digestive system. It doesn’t interfere with the body’s natural processes and it contains no ingredients that might bind content or act as a bung. Instead, IMODIUM® works to restore the regular movement of your intestinal wall and to resume the natural rhythm of your digestive system, helping your bowel movements return to normal more quickly.Back to top
IMODIUM® contains no ingredients that might bind content or act as a bung. Instead, IMODIUM® works to restore the regular movement of your intestinal wall and to resume the natural rhythm of your digestive system, helping your bowel movements return to normal more quickly.
Constipation may be experienced after diarrhea has finished as a result of the bowel being emptied or by eating less during the diarrhea episode. Data from clinical studies on Imodium shows that only around 3% of people will experience constipation as a result of taking Imodium to treat the symptoms of diarrhea .Back to top
Diarrhea is the most common health condition suffered by tourists when abroad, and it can really upset your rhythm – not to mention your holiday.
Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water are the two most likely causes of travellers’ diarrhea. It might also be caused by exposure to new types of bacteria – foreign bugs – that your body isn’t immune to, or simply by eating unfamiliar rich or spicy foods.
Don’t let diarrhea spoil your trip - pack IMODIUM® before you travel. IMODIUM® Instants are especially helpful if you’re on the go, as they dissolve on your tongue and you don’t need to take them with water.Back to top
Overeating and drinking can upset your digestive system and lead to diarrhea. So always try to eat sensibly and avoid excess.
Here are some everyday eating habits that can upset your digestive system :
- Eating too quickly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your ot hey’s full, so eating more slowly means you’re likely to eat less and so have less to digest.
- Gulping down food. When you gulp, you swallow air, which can lead to trapped wind and poor digestion.
- Eating big, heavy meals. These take longer to digest and make your system work harder.
- Eating late at night. Your digestive system is at its least efficient at the end of the day, so try to eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Eating too many fatty or spicy foods or drinking too much alcohol. These are common trigger foods, which can set off diarrhea or worsen symptoms for people with IBS.
When you get nervous, anxious or stressed, your body produces adrenaline and other chemicals, which speed up the function of your nervous system. This can make some of your muscles work too fast. If the muscles in your intestines speed up, the natural rhythm of your digestion will speed up too.
Faster digestion means your intestines absorb less fluid, making your stools more frequent and watery – what we know as diarrhea. Just a small reduction in the fluid you absorb can be enough to bring on an attack of diarrhea. And, if you suffer from IBS, you’re even more likely to experience stress-related diarrhea.
If you have a stressful event coming up and you’re worried that it ot hey as a trigger, keep a pack of IMODIUM® with you for added peace of mind. IMODIUM® Instants are especially helpful if you’re out and about because they’re very discreet, they dissolve instantly on your tongue and you don’t need to take them with water.Back to top
About a third of women experience diarrhea around the time of their period. So, if you’re one of them, rest assured it’s totally normal. While women with IBS are more prone to monthly bouts of diarrhea, perhaps along with constipation and bloating, women who don’t have IBS can also suffer from these symptoms when menstruating. Although it’s not fully understood, it’s believed that the hormonal changes taking place during your period are the cause of menstrual-related diarrhea. Hormonal changes during the menopause also cause diarrhea and other digestive health problems.Back to top
If you’re someone who suffers from frequent acute diarrhea, rest assured you’re not alone. Research suggests that up to one in ten people could suffer from diarrhea on a frequent basis – four or more times in a six month period.
It means that diarrhea is one of the most common complaints your pharmacist will deal with, and he or she is trained to offer you the best treatment possible. Remember, you can always ask to speak to your pharmacist in private.Back to top
IMODIUM® Instants are specially made to dissolve instantly on your tongue, so you don’t need to swallow or use water. They simply melt and get to work, giving you fast and effective relief from diarrhea – ideal if you’re on the go.Back to top
Everyone’s different and it can be hard to identify the causes of your frequent diarrhea. For some, it could be what they eat : a trigger food or intolerance. For others, it might be a reaction to stress, anxiety or nervousness, while some people have diarrhea related to IBS, when taking medication or during their period. It’s good to understand your body to help manage your diarrhea accordingly.
Our Manage Your Diarrhea area is full of tips and advice to help you watch out for triggers, improve your digestive health and avoid the next bout of diarrhea.
If you have longer lasting or persistently recurrent diarrhea, it might indicate an underlying medical condition, so you should consult your doctor.Back to top
Norovirus is the biggest viral cause of gastroenteritis and a common cause of diarrhea, as well as vomiting. (Gastroenteritis is an infection and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.) Sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, Norovirusis caused by a number of different viruses, but every variation of the virus can cause gastroenteritis. Norovirus is very contagious and can spread quickly if you don’t wash your hands regularly.Back to top