If you are one of the many people who suffer from stomach and digestive problems, you are probably looking for relief – whether it’s from a short-term issue like diarrhea or vomiting, or from a chronic illness such as Crohn’s disease. Fortunately, digestive health can be improved with diet and lifestyle changes, and medical treatment is available for more serious issues. Improve your stomach problems with changes you can make yourself and by seeking appropriate care.
Cope with having diarrhea. Stay hydrated by drinking water, juice, and broth throughout the day. Get plenty of rest by staying home from work or school and staying in bed. Try over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines like Pepto-Bismol or Immodium A-D to help relieve symptoms. Follow a clear liquid diet of water, broth, juice, and sports drinks until you can handle solid food, then introduce the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).
Ease nausea and vomiting with a gentle diet. Stay hydrated — like with diarrhea, dehydration is the biggest risk when you’re sick with vomiting. Follow the same guidelines as for when you have diarrhea. If you can eat without vomiting, eat small amounts of bland foods like toast, crackers, and Jell-O. Once you can keep these down, add rice, cereal, and fruit to your diet. Increase what you eat slowly as your illness improves.
Seek medical care if you become dehydrated. If you have diarrhea or vomiting that lasts over 24 hours, or you cannot keep any liquids down for over 12 hours, see your doctor right away. Seek emergency care if you have any signs or symptoms of dehydration, such as:
See your doctor if you have pain or a high fever. Signs that your stomach problems necessitate medical care include a fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher, or moderate to severe stomach, rectal, or chest pain. If you have blood in your stool or vomit, or your stool is black and tarry, see your doctor right away.