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Once you have had a baby, you realize that there is not much left to the imagination when it comes to your body and privacy.
However, there are still embarrassing topics or issues that you probably prefer to sort out on your own, if possible. In fact, you may be experiencing a bout of postpartum diarrhea and wondering what is causing it and how to make it stop–fast!
This helpful guide will walk you through all you need to know about the diarrhea you may be experiencing and the reasons behind why it is plaguing you. Most importantly, this guide will help you find ways to combat your postpartum diarrhea.
Why is this Happening to Me? Causes for Postpartum Diarrhea
As if you don’t have enough to worry about in your postpartum stage, the last thing you want to deal with is a case of diarrhea. Between caring for a newborn and trying to heal from the actual birthing experience, adding a remedy for diarrhea may seem daunting. First, it is important to know that there are causes for diarrhea. It isn’t just something that happens and you have to deal with.
First, it is important to know that there are causes for diarrhea. It isn’t just something that happens, which you’re forced to deal with.
Diarrhea is caused by many different factors, but some common ones are:
- Infection of bacteria in your intestines
- Lack of good bacteria present in your intestines
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Alcohol consumption
- A change in your hormone levels due to giving birth
- Stress, worry, and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal virus
Breastfeeding and Postpartum Diarrhea
If you are a breastfeeding mom, you may become concerned about how your case of diarrhea will affect your
newborn. The good news is that in most cases, it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding your babe. Since the most common causes of postpartum diarrhea are things like stress, changing hormone levels or a gastro-virus, your baby is not going to be exposed to the cause through your milk. In fact, continuing to breastfeed can help your newborn become protected from some forms of infectious forms of diarrhea.
The Center for Disease Control does recommend, however, that breastfeeding moms avoid over-the-counter medicines containing bismuth subsalicylate to combat diarrhea, like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate. These medicines have been found to make their way into breast milk and into the baby.
Immodium, containing loperamide, is believed to not have an adverse effect on breastfeeding, if you must take something. Ideally, it is best to try and resolve diarrhea naturally first, and of course, speak to a healthcare professional for advice before taking it.
Other Symptoms with Diarrhea
If you are just experiencing a bout of diarrhea with no other symptoms, there is usually little cause for concern. Many people experience diarrhea a couple times a year and it goes away naturally. The real issue comes when you are feeling other symptoms along with diarrhea. This is especially hard when you are trying to look after a newborn, too. You need to watch for other symptoms which could signal a bigger issue, such as:
- chills and/or fever over 100.4 F
- blood or pus in your stools
- If you can’t keep your fluids down for a day
- severe abdominal pain
- severe rectal pain
If you have any of these other symptoms with diarrhea, you should seek medical attention since it could signal something is going on with your body other than a simple case of diarrhea. Postpartum chills and fever are very common when a breastfeeding mother develops mastitis so it is important to check in with your doctor.
Dehydration with Postpartum Diarrhea
It is very important to watch for signs that you are dehydrated if you have diarrhea. With frequent bathroom trips, you could lose large amounts of water and quickly become dehydrated. This is especially true for breastfeeding moms, who already should be drinking extra fluids to help along with their breastfeeding.
If your diarrhea is persisting over a few days, you will be more prone to dehydration as well. Signs of dehydration to watch for include:
- Less frequent urination
- Feeling extremely tired or fatigued
- Dark yellow urine
- Feeling dizzy
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling like your head is in the clouds; confusion
How to Avoid Dehydration
The simple answer is, drink more fluids. Having said that, you should be aware of the type of fluids you are taking in. Coffee, unfortunately, does not count towards your daily fluid intake-although as a new mom you probably feel it should!
High sugar fruit juices and soda are also not helpful in keeping you hydrated, so it’s best to skip them too. Try drinking water with lemon and/or lime slices, herbal teas, diluted sports drinks (1 part water to 1 part sports drink) or even broths if you want something warm and cozy.
Naturally Combating Postpartum Diarrhea
Since diarrhea alone is fairly common, you may wish to try some natural ways to fight it instead of taking over-the-counter medicines. There are some tried and true remedies that just might do the trick for you before you head to the pharmacy for an over-the-counter medicine.
Combat diarrhea by drinking broth or soups since you will not only benefit from the extra liquids to your diet but also the electrolytes found in the salt of the broth. It is a tasty way to ingest fluids without upsetting your stomach. It’s best to make it at home and use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt instead of table salt to get all those good minerals!
This may seem odd, but carrots cooked up until they are soft enough to puree with a little broth or water can help deal with your bout of diarrhea. You should aim to eat between 1/4 cup to 1 full cup every hour. Carrots contain pectin which acts to absorb excess fluids in your intestines and therefore, slow down your stool frequency.
Try to eat yogurts containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, which are forms of good bacteria. These live cultures act to balance out the good bacteria versus the bad bacteria in your intestines. Making sure there is enough good bacteria helps ensure you avoid bacterial related diarrhea.
Adding coriander to your water, favorite broth or even sports drink creates a drink to help ease your digestive system and ward off the bouts of diarrhea you have been experiencing.
Garlic is wonderful for aiding in all sorts of digestive issues, including diarrhea. If you can stomach it, try eating garlic first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This will allow the garlic to work quickly to help resolve your diarrhea.
To use allspice for diarrhea, simply add a pinch to one cup of water with a little honey to your liking. Drink this mixture after each bout of diarrhea to speed up the healing process.
Bananas, rice, apples (although not apple juice) and toast. Bland foods like these will help ease your tummy. These will help add bulk to your stools gradually without causing constipation.
Other Herbal Remedies
It is always a good idea to consult your physician to ensure that your chosen herbal remedies are safe for your personal medical circumstances, especially if you are a breastfeeding mom. Other herbs you could try to ease your diarrhea include grapefruit seed extract, chamomile, raspberry leaves, slippery elm bark, fenugreek and wild oregano.
Things to Avoid
If you are experiencing postpartum diarrhea, you should avoid caffeine, sodas, and fruit juices which have a high content of fructose. The fructose will only aggravate your stomach and continue your diarrhea. You should also avoid dairy, since bouts of diarrhea can reduce the enzyme found in your body which helps break down lactose, which will only upset your tummy more.
Spicy foods, high fat or greasy foods and foods with lots of sugar will also hurt you in the process of healing.
Overall, it is best to let postpartum diarrhea run it’s course, provided it doesn’t last longer than two consecutive days or try natural remedies before over-the-counter options. If it does continue for more than two days, you should call a medical professional for advice.
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