Watery Stool Treatment
Treatment for diarrhea depends on the underlying cause. Diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection may require treatment with antibiotics, while viral infections do not respond to antibiotics. Most bacterial infections usually resolve within 2 weeks. Some chronic diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, require ongoing therapy to control episodes of diarrhea.
Severe episodes of diarrhea may result in dehydration, caused by the loss of fluids in the stool. Clear liquids replace the missing fluids and allow the intestines to rest until the diarrhea is gone. Treatment for severe dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting may require additional treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids.
Treatment for diarrhea may include:
- Clear liquid diet
- Oral rehydration therapy for older children and adults:
- Drink clear liquids only, such as water, sports drinks (best), fruit juice and dilute tea.
- If vomiting is present, drink small quantities of fluids frequently, such as 2 tablespoons of fluid every 5 minutes.
- The absence of food allows the intestines to rest.
- May be able to advance to full liquid diet once symptoms improve
- Effective to treat mild to moderate dehydration
- Intravenous fluids for severe dehydration
- Medications for nausea and vomiting:
- Medications for diarrhea:
- Antibiotics for bacterial gastroenteritis:
Watery Stool Diet
Foods that may reduce diarrhea include:
- Lean meats
- Mashed potatoes
- Oral rehydration therapy liquids
- Strained carrots
- Yogurt with live cultures
Foods that may worsen diarrhea include:
- Concentrated fruit juices
- High-sugar foods
- Cow's milk
- Spicy foods
- Sugar substitutes
Watery Stool Oral Rehydration
Adults who are taking fluids by mouth can usually restore lost fluids and body salts with oral rehydration therapy (ORT). Oral fluids are adequate to treat most people with mild and moderate diarrhea or dehydration. ORT fluids are usually used in children, but can be used in adults.
ORT fluids include:
- Re Vital
- Generic drugstore brands
Adults may also use the following fluids:
- Non-caffeinated soft drinks
- Sports drinks
- Water (not exclusively)
Watery Stool Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat diarrhea:
Continue to Watery Stool Home Care
- Aranda-Michel J, Giannella RA. Acute diarrhea: a practical review. Am J Med. 1999 Jun;106(6):670-6. 
- Camilleri M. Chronic diarrhea: a review on pathophysiology and management for the clinical gastroenterologist. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Mar;2(3):198-206. 
- Fine KD, Schiller LR. AGA technical review on the evaluation and management of chronic diarrhea. Gastroenterology. 1999 Jun;116(6):1464-86. 
- Mylonakis E, Ryan ET, Calderwood SB. Clostridium difficile--Associated diarrhea: A review. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Feb 26;161(4):525-33.