6 natural ways to relieve stomach discomfort

stomache painAsalamu alaikum dear sisters and brothers, I pray that fasting in the month of Ramadan has given you better health, more clarity on life issues, extra sabr (patience), and increased shukr (thankfulness) in dealing with everything, Ameen!

Eid Saeed! I know I’m late with my Eid greetings, but the first week after Eid Day, was a bit bumpy for me to say the least. Alhumdulillah, after the Eid prayers, my family and I excitedly visited our beloved relatives and friends. In doing so, we indulged ourselves with all the yummy treats spread out for us on their coffee tables.

Oh how sweet is the Eid!

All through the day I could feel my stomach not settling very well and by 1:00 am that evening, I was running to the restroom non-stop. Ugh! I had diarrhea!

What Are The Symptoms of diarrhea?

  • Abdominal cramps and bloating
  • Watery or thin loose stool
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness or light-headedness

Yup, nasty! So if you ever have diarrhea, you definitely want to avoid the following. It will only put strain on your digestive system and encourage your diarrhea to worsen.

What To Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

  • High-fat, greasy or fried foods
  • Dairy (except probiotic yogurt)
  • Red meat
  • Spicy foods
  • Desserts, candies, and other high-sugar foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeinated beverages

During my bout of discomfort, I researched some natural and effective ways to relieve diarrhea. Here are 6 natural ways that helped the most.

6 Ways To Relieve Diarrhea

1. Hydrate and Replace Electrolytes

Prolonged diarrhea can cause dehydration. The most common cause of dehydration is the loss of electrolytes. Minerals such as potassium, sodium and chloride are essential in the proper functioning of your body. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids at the first sign of diarrhea. Drink a minimum of two cups of fluids per hour. Plain water does not contain electrolytes, but is gentle on the stomach. Avoid pre-made electrolyte replacement drinks because they contain undesirable additives. A healthier option is to make your own:

Homemade electrolyte drink

-1 litre (about 33 ounces) of water
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1 tablespoon of sugar
-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
– a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of orange juice

Mix all the ingredients well. Consume this drink throughout the day.

2. Follow the BRAT Diet

BRAT is an acronym for: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. Since what you put in your stomach is not staying there, you need to feed it foods that will comfort the stomach instead. Remember though these foods should be added and not replace your normal well-balanced diet.

3. Rest and Rejuvenate

Diarrhea is just a symptom and an indicator that your body is trying to fight off another problem. If you want to help aid your immune system resolve it, you must get some rest. Constantly running to the restroom can also make you tired and mess up your sleeping pattern. Find a pillow and take a nap whenever you can during the day.

4. Take Probiotics

The millions of friendly bacteria which live in our intestines are essential to digestion. Diarrhea will flush out these friendly little helpers. Probiotics help repopulate the digestive tract with them. Probiotics can be taken in through capsule or by eating a cup of plain Yogurt also know as fermented dairy.

Fermented Dairy

Although dairy is not recommended during bouts of diarrhea, fermented dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and buttermilk are beneficial. Fermented dairy products help repopulate the intestines with good bacteria which restore balance in the intestine and relieve diarrhea. Fermented dairy does not have the same aggravating effects as regular dairy because some of the lactose is predigested by the bacteria.

Make sure that the products you buy contain “active cultures.” Many of the yogurt sold today are far from being natural and will not contain any active bacterial cultures. Plain yogurt is the way to go. If you do not eat dairy products, some alternatives you can take during bouts of diarrhea are water kefir and probiotic supplements.

5. Enjoy Some Teas

Try chamomile or ginger root tea. Why these specific teas?

They are anti-spasmodic herbs that will calm your muscles along the digestive tract and reduce painful spasms. They don’t stop diarrhea, but they do help relieve the discomfort associated with it.

Ginger is great for reducing the intestinal cramps and is known to help aid digestion and relieve intestinal gas, nausea and vomiting. Grate a small piece of root and let it steep in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

Chamomile can be found in tea bag form and helps reduce intestinal inflammation and calms you down.

6. Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties and is useful in relieving diarrhea. Take 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and mix it into a glass of water. Drink 1-2 times a day.

The Psychological Causes of Diarrhea

Did you know that there is a connection with your mind and your gut? The enteric nervous system which controls the GI tract is very complex; it acts as a “second brain”, being able to control the functions of the gut independently. The brain in our head and the brain in our gut communicate with each other. When they are out of sync, you can experience diarrhea and other digestive issues.

So What Does This Really Mean?

Diarrhea is not always due to physical causes! It can be brought on by intense stress, fear, anxiety and emotional turmoil. If this happens to you, you may want to engage in calming activities. Another reason why our daily 5 prayers are so beneficial, Alhumdulillah!

Prayer is a wonderful form of mediation, concentration and stretching. I know as moms we tend to rush through our prayers, but try to focus and take you time during your prayers – it has many benefits. Be sure to be present with your Lord.

Before you begin, make intention (niyah) to do so. Try finding a quiet space and let your children know it is a time that mommy needs to recharge her batteries to keep going for the rest of the day. You will be surprised to see just how much they do comprehend, MashaAllah! Do some deep breathing and stretching, and you can help the process.

I pray that you never have to go through the discomforts of diarrhea, but if you do, or know someone who is, try these 6 natural steps. May Allah (swt) keep you and your loved ones healthy always, ameen.

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