Once you’ve had a baby, you can forget about privacy when it comes to your body. With that said, there are still some topics that you may want to keep to yourself. Postpartum diarrhea is probably at the top of your list.
While you may think you’re the only one suffering from postpartum diarrhea, you’re not alone. Plenty of women are dealing with it and trying to figure why it’s happening and what they can do to make diarrhea stop.
Check out our guide with everything you wanted to know about postpartum diarrhea (but were too afraid to ask) as well as what you can do to get back on track.
Why is this Happening to Me?
Being a new mom and dealing with all the postpartum stuff is enough to have on your plate. Add a case…or two or three of diarrhea and it’s enough for any momma to go bonkers. The crazy thing about it is that there are so many factors that can contribute to diarrhea. It’s not a “just because” condition. That’s why it’s important to know the causes so you can see what may be at the root of your postpartum diarrhea problem. Here are some common diarrhea causes:
- 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 be worried about how your postpartum diarrhea will affect your newborn.
The good news is that in most cases, it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding your baby. 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 through your milk. In fact, continuing to breastfeed can help protect your newborn from some 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 because they have been known to make their way into breast milk and to your baby. These are medicines like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate. Imodium, which contains loperamide, is not believed to have an adverse effect on breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before taking any over the counter medicines while breastfeeding.
Concerning Symptoms with Diarrhea
If you have 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 on its own. There may be a bigger problem when you have other symptoms to go along with diarrhea. These include:
- Chills and/or fever over 100.4 F
- Blood or pus in your stools
- Not keeping fluids down for a day
- Severe abdominal pain or rectal pain
Besides these symptoms you also want to watch for signs of dehydration. When you have diarrhea you could lose large amounts of water and become dehydrated quickly, especially if it’s lasting a few days. This is especially true for breastfeeding moms, who should already be drinking extra fluids.
Watch for these signs of dehydration:
- Less frequent urination
- Feeling extremely tired or fatigued
- Dark yellow urine
- Feeling dizzy or confused
- Extreme thirst
If you have any of these other symptoms and diarrhea, call your doctor because it could be a sign that there’s something else going on in your body.
How to Avoid Dehydration
If you want to avoid dehydration you should obviously drink more fluids, but not just anything you can find. Skip soda and high-sugar fruit juices because they won’t do the trick. Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t count either because it actually dehydrates you. Instead try water with lemon and/or lime slices, herbal teas, diluted sports drinks (1 part water to 1 part sports drink) or even broths.
Naturally Combating Postpartum Diarrhea
No one wants to deal with diarrhea for an extended period of time. By adding these certain items to your diet you may be able to get rid of it without taking any over-the-counter medicines.
Broths are not only good to keep hydrated, there are also valuable electrolytes found in the broth’s salt. It’s best to make broth at home and use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt instead of table salt to get all those good minerals in.
Cook carrots until they are soft enough to puree and add a little broth or water. Carrots have pectin which acts to absorb excess fluids in your intestines and slow down the amount of times you have to run to the bathroom. Aim to eat between 1/4 cup to 1 full cup every hour when suffering from postpartum diarrhea.
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. If you have enough good bacteria you can avoid bacterial related diarrhea.
Add coriander to your water, favorite broth or even sports drink helps you to digest better and ward off that pesky diarrhea.
Garlic is known to help with all kinds of digestive problems, 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 get rid of your diarrhea.
Add a pinch of allspice to one cup of water with a little honey. Drink this concoction after each trip to the bathroom.
B.R.A.T stands for bananas, rice, apples (although not apple juice) and toast. Bland foods like these will help ease your tummy troubles. These will help add bulk to your stools gradually without causing constipation.
There also herbs, such as grapefruit seed extract, chamomile, raspberry leaves, slippery elm bark, fenugreek and wild oregano that can help ease your postpartum diarrhea.
Before choosing any home or herbal remedies, talk to your doctor to make sure they’re safe for you, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Things to Avoid
If you are experiencing postpartum diarrhea, you should avoid:
- Fruit Juices (too much fructose)
- Spicy Foods
- High Fat or Greasy Foods
- Foods with a Lot of Sugar
You should also avoid dairy, since bouts of diarrhea can reduce the enzyme found in your body which helps break down lactose.
As hard as it may be, it’s best to let postpartum diarrhea run its course, as long as it doesn’t last more than two days straight and doesn’t bring any other symptoms along for the ride. If postpartum diarrhea does last longer, call your doctor.