Diarrhea is the passage of loose and watery stool more frequently than usual. One thing to note about diarrhea is that most cases are self-limiting, that is they can resolve on their own without the use of medications.
Most people instantly resort to antibiotics at the first sign of diarrhea especially in Nigeria where people do not realize that Metronidazole (Flagyl) which is their “go-to” drug for diarrhea is actually an antibiotic. Many cases of diarrhea are viral and do not require the use of antibiotics.
Proper rehydration and home remedies are all that is needed sometimes. This does not remove the fact that some cases of diarrhea are caused by infections or serious underlying conditions that require immediate medical attention.
How to identify viral cases of diarrhea
As said above, many cases of diarrhea are viral and can be resolved without the use of medications but how can you tell them apart? Viral cases of diarrhea generally do not involve the production of mucus or blood in the stool, they usually just involve the consistent passage of loose and watery stool. A person passing blood and mucus in their stool most likely has a case of bacterial diarrhea and may require the use of antibiotics. Such a person should see their physician immediately and should not self-medicate as the actual bacteria causing the illness has to be identified before a proper antibiotic can be prescribed.
Nigerian staple food items for diarrhea remedy
Pap water (Omi Ogi)
You might not know that the fermented water usually at the top of raw pap that you pour away before making your pap is very healthy. It is a ready source of probiotics, that is, microorganisms that help to improve your health. One of the health benefits of this pap water is the stoppage of diarrhea. The probiotics in it helps to restore the normal flora in the gastrointestinal tract and can help to quickly resolve diarrhea and even improve the general health of the GIT in the long run. It is very important to not boil pap water before drinking it in order to enjoy this health benefit as the heat from the boiling would have killed off the healthy microorganisms that are needed in it.
Some toxins that cause diarrhea affect the proper reabsorption of fluid and this is what causes the production of watery stools in these cases of diarrhea. Due to the high fiber content in garri, it helps to resolve diarrhea by absorbing this excess water in the GIT and swelling as it does. After it’s complete passage through the GIT, it would have absorbed the bulk of the excess fluid and would result in the formation of denser stools and ultimately stop the diarrhea. For a quick and almost instant relief of diarrhea, it might be helpful to take about 3-5 handfuls of dry garri powder.
Bread and other flour made products help to relieve diarrhea in almost the same way garri does. They absorb the excess fluid in the GIT and swell as they pass through the GIT. A dry loaf of bread can be taken in the morning without butter, mayonnaise or any other fatty substance to obtain relief from diarrhea.
Home remedies are very effective in cases of viral diarrhea. Rehydration is also very important as dehydration can be very dangerous and is greatly associated with diarrhea. Misuse of antibiotics is very common for diarrhea due to the common belief that all cases of diarrhea are from bacterial infections. Viral diarrhea cannot be treated with antibiotics and household remedies such as the food items highlighted above are very effective, healthy and rapid ways of stopping diarrhea.