Chronic diarrhoea is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Many times it's a symptom of another illness but it's important to eat correctly to avoid making the problem any worse. There are foods you should avoid and some foods that can help with diarrhoea.
Foods to Avoid
You should avoid foods that have been shown to aggravate diarrhoea. Avoid milk and dairy products. Don't drink caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee and dark soft drinks. Spicy foods, and high-fat or greasy foods will also cause irritation. Don't eat high-fibre foods or high-sugar foods like cookies, cakes or milkshakes. Avoid apples, pears and cherry juice, in particular.
Avoid sugar free foods including gum and mints. The artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, can cause diarrhoea.
Even after diarrhoea has subsided, you may experience lactose intolerance. This is normal so it's best to avoid any dairy products for at least a week after the diarrhoea has stopped.
Foods to Eat
When you're suffering from chronic diarrhoea you should eat a bland diet. Eat things like bananas; they tend to be binding. Also eat plain rice, boiled potatoes and toast, all with no butter. Crackers and cooked carrots are also gentle on your system. You can also eat skinless, fat-free baked chicken.
Yoghurt is the exception to dairy. Look for yoghurt that contains acidophilus, which is helpful to the digestive tract.
It is important to rehydrate after bouts of diarrhoea. Drink water, but you also need to replace lost electrolytes. You can use an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or, for children, Pedialyte. Soup or broths with salt and fruits and vegetables containing potassium will also replace electrolytes. White grape juice is a good choice if you want juice.
Consider taking high quality probiotics such as Florastor, which can be found in almost any pharmacy without a prescription or you can purchase Shaklee's Optiflora. These help restore the balance in the digestive system. Probiotics also help strengthen the immune system.
A gluten intolerance or coeliac disease could be the cause of diarrhoea. Your physician can test you for this. Lactose intolerance can also cause diarrhoea. It may be wise to avoid these foods until tests can be run to determine whether you have an intolerance or allergies.