Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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:

Watery Stool Diet

Foods that may reduce diarrhea include:

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Lean meats
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Oral rehydration therapy liquids
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Strained carrots
  • Wheat
  • Yogurt with live cultures

Foods that may worsen diarrhea include:
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • 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:

  • Infalyte
  • Lytren
  • Naturalyte
  • Pedialyte
  • Rehydralyte
  • Re Vital
  • Generic drugstore brands

Adults may also use the following fluids:
  • Non-caffeinated soft drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Tea
  • Water (not exclusively)

Watery Stool Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat diarrhea:

Continue to Watery Stool Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Watery Stool References
  1. Aranda-Michel J, Giannella RA. Acute diarrhea: a practical review. Am J Med. 1999 Jun;106(6):670-6. [10378626]
  2. Camilleri M. Chronic diarrhea: a review on pathophysiology and management for the clinical gastroenterologist. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Mar;2(3):198-206. [15017602]
  3. Fine KD, Schiller LR. AGA technical review on the evaluation and management of chronic diarrhea. Gastroenterology. 1999 Jun;116(6):1464-86. [10348832]
  4. Mylonakis E, Ryan ET, Calderwood SB. Clostridium difficile--Associated diarrhea: A review. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Feb 26;161(4):525-33. [11252111]
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