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How to Stop Diarrhea Fast

How to Stop Diarrhea Fast
Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways:

Diarrhea is common and normally doesn’t cause serious issues.

  1. Typically, diarrhea lasts for 2-3 days.
  2. Diarrhea causes your stool to be loose and watery.
  3. Many people get diarrhea a few times a year, but those with conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can get it more often.
  4. Diarrhea can be treated at home, typically with OTC products, and HPFY has everything you need to stop diarrhea fast.


For numerous reasons, people everywhere can get diarrhea several times a year. Yes, this can be incredibly inconvenient, not to mention embarrassing. When someone gets diarrhea, the number one thought on their mind is, “How do I stop diarrhea fast.” Depending on the cause of your diarrhea, the method needed to stop it can vary. Let me shine a light on this issue, and I hope to give you some guidance on stopping diarrhea at home. 

Types of Diarrhea

For anyone who has suffered from diarrhea, your main concern is, “How do I make it stop?” Diarrhea treatment depends on your type of diarrhea. I’m sure, to your surprise, that there are different types of diarrhea. The different types of diarrhea are:

  1. Acute diarrhea: This is the most common form of diarrhea, which typically lasts a few days and gets better without treatment.
  2. Persistent diarrhea: Typically, this type of diarrhea can last for a couple of weeks or even up to a month.
  3. Chronic diarrhea: This type of diarrhea lasts longer than a month or can appear/disappear over time. It can be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as IBS, and you should see your physician.

The good news about diarrhea is that it is usually mild (even though it’s embarrassing and inconvenient) and typically dissipates in a couple of days. It can often be referred to as a “stomach bug” or intestinal distress. 

Symptoms & Causes of Diarrhea 

Fortunately, most cases of diarrhea are short-lived (just a couple of days), but if it lasts longer, it could be a sign of something more serious like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Typically, symptoms of diarrhea are loose and watery stool, but other symptoms associated can include: 

  1. Stomach cramps
  2. Bloating
  3. Vomiting/nausea
  4. Bowel movement urgency
  5. Blood/mucus in the stool

Nailing down the exact cause of your diarrhea can be challenging since there can be many reasons for your diarrhea. The one certain thing is you want to get rid of it as soon as possible!! Some causes of diarrhea are: 

  • Viruses (such as norovirus, enteric adenoviruses, astrovirus, etc.) 
  • Bacteria such as E. coli 
  • Food intolerances or allergies 
  • Parasites through contaminated food or water 
  • Lactose intolerance 
  • Medicines such as antibiotics can cause diarrhea 

How To Stop Diarrhea Fast At Home

While most cases of diarrhea will clear up on their own after a couple of days, there are measures you can take to get rid of diarrhea fast. Antidiarrheal OTC medications (think Imodium or Pepto-Bismol) typically do the job. The two most common are: 

  • Loperamide: This OTC diarrhea medicine works by slowing down digestion so your body can draw more water from the intestines. It makes stools firmer and reduces the frequency of bowel movements. One of the most common brands is Imodium. 
  • Bismuth Subsalicylate: You may know this OTC medication by one of its common names, Pepto-Bismol. It coats your digestive tract and even kills some of the diarrhea-causing bacteria in your gut. 

These medications typically solve the problem, but if your diarrhea is accompanied by fever, signs of infection, or bloody stools, they are not suitable. If they’re not suitable or don’t work, your doctor may recommend the following: 

  • Antibiotics 
  • Anti-parasitic 
  • Electrolyte/fluid replenishment 
  • Adjusting medications 
  • Treating underlying conditions 
  • Diet modifications (BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) 

The obvious way to avoid diarrhea is to not get it, but that’s not always an option. In addition to OTC antidiarrheal medications, eating foods with soluble fiber and drinking plenty of fluids can help with diarrhea treatment at home. Also, try to follow the BRAT diet, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. 

Our Best Anti Diarrheal Products

When to Seek Medical Attention 

Diarrhea typically clears on its own, but if it should persist, there is a danger of dehydration due to the loss of liquid. This typically affects infants, older folks, and those with compromised immune systems. Without treatment or intervention, dehydration can cause issues such as kidney failure, hypovolemic shock, or heart attack. Signs of dehydration include: 

If you experience any of these signs of dehydration, increase fluid intake and contact your physician. Also, contact your physician if your fever is 102° or higher, you experience severe pain in the abdomen, or diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours or for 24 hours in children. 



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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