Traveler's diarrhea is a common and unpleasant condition that can affect anyone who travels to a new area with different water and food sources. Symptoms of traveler's diarrhea can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While it is important to take appropriate precautions to prevent traveler's diarrhea, sometimes it can still happen. In this post, we will take a closer look at how to recover from traveler's diarrhea naturally, discussing potential remedies and the scientific evidence behind them.
What is traveler's diarrhea?
Traveler's diarrhea is a common condition that affects people who travel to new areas with different water and food sources. It is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are found in contaminated water or food. The most common cause of traveler's diarrhea is the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is found in contaminated water and food.
Symptoms of traveler's diarrhea
Symptoms of traveler's diarrhea can include:
Loss of appetite
Causes of traveler's diarrhea
As mentioned above, traveler's diarrhea is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites found in contaminated water or food. Some of the most common causes of traveler's diarrhea include:
E. coli: This is the most common cause of traveler's diarrhea. E. coli is found in contaminated water and food, and can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Salmonella: This bacterium is found in contaminated water and food, and can cause fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Shigella: This bacterium is found in contaminated water and food, and can cause fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Giardia: This is a parasite found in contaminated water, and can cause stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea.
Norovirus: This is a virus that is found in contaminated water and food, and can cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How to prevent traveler's diarrhea
To prevent traveler's diarrhea, it is important to take the following precautions:
Only drink bottled or treated water. Avoid drinking tap water or beverages made with tap water, such as ice cubes and mixed drinks.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked food, especially meat, poultry, and seafood. Make sure to cook food thoroughly and eat it while it is still hot.
Avoid eating food from street vendors or other unhygienic sources.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food.
Avoid eating dairy products, as they may be contaminated with bacteria.
How to recover from traveler's diarrhea naturally
If you have traveler's diarrhea, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Here are some natural remedies that may help to relieve the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea:
Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut. They can help to restore the balance of bacteria in the gut, which can help to reduce the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea.
Ginger: Ginger is a natural digestive aid that can help to reduce stomach cramps and nausea. You can take ginger in the form of ginger tea, ginger capsules, or by adding fresh ginger to your food.
Chamomile: Chamomile is a herb that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and reduce digestive discomfort. You can drink chamomile tea to help soothe your stomach and reduce the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea.
Peppermint: Peppermint is a herb that has been shown to have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. You can drink peppermint tea, or take peppermint capsules, to help reduce stomach cramps and nausea.
Rehydration solutions: If you are experiencing severe diarrhea and vomiting, it is important to replace the fluids and electrolytes that your body is losing. You can make your own rehydration solution by adding salt to coconut water or by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 4 teaspoons of maple syrup (or sugar) into 1 liter of clean water. You can also buy rehydration solutions at most pharmacies.
Probiotics for traveler's diarrhea
Some probiotic strains that have been shown to prevent or treat traveler's diarrhea include:
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Saccharomyces boulardii is a type of beneficial yeast that has been shown to be effective at preventing and treating traveler's diarrhea. This yeast is not related to the bacteria that cause traveler's diarrhea, and it works by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. It can also help to restore the balance of bacteria in the gut, which can help to reduce the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea.
In a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, researchers found that taking saccharomyces boulardii reduced the risk of developing traveler's diarrhea by more than 50% in a group of travelers. Another study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that taking saccharomyces boulardii shortened the duration of traveler's diarrhea by about a day in a group of travelers.
Saccharomyces boulardii is available in the form of capsules or powder, and can be taken as directed by the manufacturer. It is generally considered safe, but it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
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Journal of Travel Medicine, "Saccharomyces boulardii reduces the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a meta-analysis," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22609609
Clinical Infectious Diseases, "Efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii in the treatment of acute infectious diarrhea," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23190399
Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, "The use of probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a meta-analysis," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23695571
The Journal of Nutrition, "Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18806863
World Journal of Gastroenterology, "The effect of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16117758
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, "Anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects of chamomile," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15651494
Phytotherapy Research, "Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis," https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24715838