Home treatment may be all that is needed to treat
diarrhea caused by cancer or the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation
therapy. Be sure to follow any instructions and take any medicines your doctor
has given you to treat diarrhea. Check with your doctor before using any
nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea.
Take frequent, small sips of water or a
rehydration drink and small bites of salty crackers.
Try to increase your fluid intake to at least
1 qt (1 L) each hour for 1 to 2
hours or until diarrhea symptoms disappear.
Begin eating mild foods the next day or sooner, depending on how
Avoid spicy foods, fruits, alcohol, and
caffeine until 48 hours after all symptoms are gone.
gum that contains sorbitol.
milk, cheese, or ice cream for 3 days after symptoms go away. When
you have diarrhea, some milk products may be harder for your body to digest.
Try foods like white bread or white rice, bananas, applesauce, yogurt, gelatin (such as Jell-O), or eggs.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
or more of the following symptoms occur during home treatment, contact your
You develop severe diarrhea (large,
loose bowel movements every 1 to 2 hours).
You have any diarrhea
for longer than 1 week.
You have severe pain in your
You develop black or bloody stools.
Your symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
When you have diarrhea, make sure to wipe gently after using the bathroom. Using moist wipes or water squirted from a spray bottle may also help. Talk to your doctor if you have soreness, bleeding, or hemorrhoids.
Cleaning up diarrhea
The U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wear disposable gloves when
cleaning up diarrhea or other body fluids. You may wear reusable rubber gloves
if you wash them after each use. If you don't have gloves, be sure to wash your
hands thoroughly with soap and water when you are finished.
steps on how to clean up diarrhea from skin, soiled linens, or hard surfaces,
see Cleaning Up Diarrhea.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.