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Diarrhoea Print

Diarrhoea is an abnormal increase in the frequency and liquidity of stools. The amount of water in the stool each day is generally not more than 200 ml for an adult. When it exceeds this amount, it is called diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is not itself a disease, but can be a symptom of several underlying diseases. It can be life-threatening to the elderly and children.


This process leads to loss of fluids and salts which need replacing. Rehydration preparation can be purchased or made at home. Add one teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar to a litre of boiled water. Drink about 150 m? every 15 minutes. This helps replenish body fluid reserves faster than ordinary water does. This solution is also beneficial during endurance exercise.

The following “brat” diet is advisable after 24 hours of experiencing diarrhoea:

  • Bananas for potassium which assists in regulating the body’s fluid balance.  
  • Boiled white Rice is a low fibre carbohydrate that will not irritate the bowels.
  • Apples which aid in cleansing the digestive system.
  • White Toast has a similar benefit as boiled white rice.

Eat small amounts of the above at regular intervals. After 48 hours boiled potatoes, cooked vegetables and eggs can be eaten. Normal diet can be resumed after the symptoms dissipate, however dairy products should only be reintroduced right at the end.

Sipping herbal teas slowly can also help soothe the digestive tract and replace lost fluids. Raspberry leaf (except during early pregnancy) and ginger teas are recommended.

Avoid caffeine for the first 48 hours after having diarrhoea. It stimulates urine output and can thus cause dehydration.

Diarrhoea can be short-lived or chronic. Food–borne infection can cause diarrhoea which may last from 6 hours up to 3 days. Less commonly, overeating figs, bran, prunes or dried fruit may also cause a short bout of diarrhoea.   

Consult your medical practitioner if the symptoms persist.

Traveller’s Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea can affect travellers, especially in the developing parts of the world. Avoid raw fruit and salad if the hygiene is doubted. Use boiled or authentic bottled water for drinking and oral hygiene. Do not use ice in drinks unless certain that it is hygienically sourced. Cold buffets are shelters for bacteria and flies and should be avoided. Undercooked meat, raw fish and shellfish should also be avoided.


Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmizi narrate in different wording that Allah’s Messenger (Allah’s salutations and peace be upon him) advised a man whose brother was suffering from diarrhoea that the patient should consume honey. His condition initially worsened but then he recovered, i.e. honey flushed out the bug that was causing the diarrhoea in this case.


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