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A Comprehensive Guide to Gastroenteritis and Natural Remedies for Relief

September 18, 2023


 

NOTE: This post is not to be substituted as treatment - please make sure to seek medical attention or talk with a provider!


Gastroenteritis, also known as "stomach flu," is a common digestive condition that affects numerous people each year. The condition can be caused primarily by virus or bacteria, and causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and occasionally a low-grade fever. Most gastroenteritis cases are self-resolving and can be managed effectively with natural remedies. There are rare cases in which medical attention is crucial. So let's explore what gastroenteritis is and discuss natural ways to find relief from its symptoms.


A woman sipping on tea while being sick from gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

Understanding Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Typically, it is caused by viral infections (e.g. norovirus or rotavirus), or bacterial infections (e.g. E. coli or Salmonella). Sometimes, it can also be causes by parasitic infections (e.g. Cryptosporium or Giardia). The inflammation leads to various symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea: Frequent, loose, or watery stools.

  • Nausea and/or Vomiting: Sensation of wanting to vomit and the act of throwing up.

  • Abdominal Pain: Cramping and discomfort in the stomach area.

  • Fever: A mild to moderate increase in body temperature.


Natural Remedies for Gastroenteritis

1. Stay Hydrated

One of the most significant concerns with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This is because of the fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea. Drink plenty of water, oral rehydration solutions, clear broths, and herbal teas to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.


One of my favorite electrolytes that easily dissolves into my water bottle is the Nuun electrolyte tablets. You can buy a bulk of them from Amazon, with variety of flavors!

Nuun Daily Hydration Electrolyte tablets


2. BRAT Diet

Follow the BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Though they may not be the most amazing flavors, these foods are gentle on the stomach and can help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, you can sip on bone broth (or vegetarian versions) with a pinch of salt and little bit of lemon juice.


3. Avoid Irritants

Stay away from spicy, fatty, or overly processed foods during your recovery. Since your intestinal tract is inflamed, eating these can aggravate your stomach and digestive function, and can prolong your symptoms.


4. Ginger

Ginger is great when it comes to anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. You can eat it in various forms like ginger tea, ginger root (tea, broth, food), or ginger chews.

Bonus - ginger chews usually are made with honey, which is also a great anti-inflammatory agent!


My favorite brand of ginger chews are from Chimes - I first discovered it at my local health food store. I wasn't the biggest fan of ginger flavor at the time, but their mango flavor ginger chews helped me start getting it in my body.

Chimes Ginger Chews - Variety 3 Pack


5. Peppermint Tea

Mint can help alleviate symptoms of nausea and gas, as it has carminative properties. Carminative describes something that aids in the movement of gas. Peppermint tea can be soothing for your upset stomach. Any organic peppermint tea from your local grocery store or health food store is fine.


6. Rest and Relaxation

Allow your body to rest and recover. Your body is in a high state of fighting off infection and battling inflammation. Stress can also worsen symptoms, so focus on relaxation techniques like deep breathing, bed rest, and anything that helps to calm your nervous system.


7. Heat Therapy

Heat application to our stomach region can help with circulation and detoxification pathways. Applying a warm compress or heat pack to your abdomen can provide relief from abdominal pain and cramping. If using an electrical heat source, avoid using it overnight in your sleep.


8. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is an amazing binder - it can help to absorb toxins in the gut and eliminate it through your stool. BUT, because it's an amazing binder, it can bind to anything including medications, supplements and everything in-between! Make sure to consult a healthcare professional before using it, especially if you're on other medications or supplement regimen.


My favorite activated charcoal product is by Integrative Therapeutics. One of the main concerns with activated charcoal supplement is where they source the charcoal from, including is it posing increased exposure and risk to heavy metals and toxins? Integrative Therapeutics is a well-trusted, professional-grade brand and I've been using their products for my patients and myself as well!


Integrative Therapeutics Activated Charcoal



When to Seek Medical Help

While natural remedies can be helpful, it's very important to consult a healthcare professional, especially if:

  • Symptoms Persist: If symptoms worsen or don't improve after a few days.

  • Severe Dehydration: If you experience severe dehydration, characterized by extreme thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, or dizziness.

  • Blood in Stools: If you notice blood in your stools or vomit.

Gastroenteritis can be managed with a blend of natural remedies and adjustments. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly. Remember to listen to your body, get plenty of rest, and stay well-hydrated to facilitate a smooth recovery. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or remedy.



 

DISCLAIMER:

THIS POST DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION. ALWAYS SPEAK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATION OR NUTRITIONAL/HERBAL/HOMEOPATHIC SUPPLEMENT, OR ADOPTING ANY TREATMENT FOR A HEALTH PROBLEM. INFORMATION AND STATEMENTS REGARDING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS POST.

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