Diarrhea can be caused by an infection, as traveler’s diarrhea generally is. Prudent eating and drinking (and daily Pepto-Bismol) can sometimes prevent it, but once the symptoms start, it is too late for prevention. Antibiotic medications can help. People with chronic diarrhea due to other causes frequently suffer for years. Sulfite sensitivity can trigger a bad bout. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also be troublesome. Here are some of the home remedies our readers and listeners have found helpful.
I’d like to try coconut macaroons for controlling diarrhea, but I am trying to cut out sugar. Could I make my own macaroons using Splenda instead of sugar? Can I use shredded coconut by itself instead of eating the cookies?
Readers tell us that eating two coconut macaroons daily can ease chronic diarrhea. Some report that plain coconut also does the trick.
I noticed a report on your website (www.peoplespharmacy.com) about coconut macaroon cookies stopping diarrhea. I am a hospice nurse, and one of my patients was literally dying of diarrhea. None of the medical treatments were helping. After reading about macaroons, I asked my patient’s daughter if we could try giving her mom coconut milk and rice milk. She had nothing to lose. The diarrhea stopped in 24 hours, and the patient began to eat again. As a result, she began to thrive and had to leave our hospice program!
Flunking out of hospice is good news. We are so glad this suggestion inspired you and was so helpful for your patient with life-threatening diarrhea. We have heard from many readers that coconut is a traditional remedy for diarrhea.
Thank you so much for writing about IBS and coconut macaroon cookies. It works. I suffered with chronic diarrhea for years and have been healed for the last two years.
We’re always pleased to hear about success with home remedies. Donald Agar wrote us nearly ten years ago to report that two Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies a day banished the chronic diarrhea he suffered as a consequence of Crohn’s disease. We have heard from other readers that coconut helps combat diarrhea. But not everyone who suffers with IBS benefits from coconut macaroons.
Thank you for your invaluable advice. After a colon resection I had severe diarrhea diagnosed as IBS. Nothing helped except four to six Lomotil pills daily. Then I tried your remedy of shredded coconut, and it worked like a miracle. Can I safely increase the dosage, which is presently three teaspoons?
It is possible to increase amount of coconut you are taking. Be careful, though, since too much may lead to constipation. Coconut is high in fat and calories. So you may need to adjust your diet to compensate.
I have a student with irritable bowel syndrome. Nothing—even removing her gallbladder—gave her relief. She was thinking of dropping out of school. I told her what I read in your column about coconut, and it worked. Her digestion is normal again. Amazing!
Some people report that two Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies daily control chronic diarrhea.
Has anything shown that fish oil is effective in reducing chronic diarrhea? It worked instantly for me, although I started taking it for heart health. The results were startling—no more runs or trots.
The only research we found on fish oil for diarrhea involved studies on rats.1 Scientists gave rats a drug that caused chronic diarrhea, and fish oil sped intestinal repair and recovery. We don’t know if this will work for anyone else, but fish oil has enough health benefits to be well worth a try.
Some of your readers have asked about chronic diarrhea. One of the best things to take is pomegranate juice, which can be found in grocery stores. You can actually get constipated if you drink too much (as I found out!).
Researchers are rediscovering the healing power of pomegranates. Studies suggest that this ancient fruit may help reduce the risk of blood clots and keep cholesterol from damaging arteries. People have traditionally used pomegranate to treat diarrhea and dysentery, though there isn’t any research to show it is effective. We’ll go along with the warning not to overdo.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic