Is Diarrhea Cramping Your Style?
Q. In 1992, I had amebic dysentery. Since then I have been suffering on and off from diarrhea. I have no blood in my stool, and my stool tests always come back negative. I'm wondering if there is a connection? What other tests would you recommend?
Chronic diarrhea has many causes -- two of the most common are addiction to coffee (and other forms of caffeine) and emotional stress. However, if you think amebic dysentery is the cause, you can ask your doctor for a blood test which looks for the antibodies that fight the diarrhea-causing microorganism. A sigmoidoscopy, a flexible fiber-optic tube, can also be used to examine your colon. But recurrent episodes of diarrhea along with intestinal gas, bloating, pain, and constipation often lead to fruitless encounters with gastroenterologists who, after many tests (usually with negative results), settle on a diagnosis of "irritable bowel syndrome" and suggest little to correct it.
Because diarrhea can lead to dehydration, be sure you replace lost fluids by drinking plenty of clear liquids, including juices, broth, and decaffeinated teas. Avoid milk and milk products, raw vegetables and fruits, bran, whole-grain cereals, sugary foods, spices, caffeine, and alcohol during (and immediately after) a bout of diarrhea.
You also might try a new product called SB-Normal Stool Formula, a standardized extract from the sap of the Croton lechleri tree, which is found in the Amazon rain forest. The formula contains SP-303, a proanthocyanidin that has been clinically tested and found to be a safe and effective remedy for different types of watery stools. This age-old treatment, used for centuries by shamans and traditional healers in Peru, seems to prevent fluid loss and promote stool formation by normalizing the amount of chloride ions and water secreted into the bowel. To learn more about the product visit: www.ShamanBotanicals.com.
Another natural remedy is carob powder, which is available in health food stores. Mix one tablespoon with some applesauce, honey, and acidolphilus, and take it on an empty stomach. Blackberry root bark can also be helpful. It contains tannins, which have a desirable astringent action on the intestinal lining. Boil the root bark in water for 20 minutes, strain, and drink a cup of the tea every two to four hours until the diarrhea ends. You may be able to find tinctures of blackberry root bark in herb stores; take a teaspoon of tincture in water every two to four hours.