Having diarrhea is kind of like having a hangover: It's really painful and makes you regret everything you consumed the day or night before. Everyone gets diarrhea — a.k.a. loose, frequent, or watery poops — and it can be caused by an infection, inflammation from another GI disorder, or something you ate, says Melissa Rosen, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.
It's "normal" to poop anywhere from three times a day to three times a week, and everyone is different, Dr. Rosen says. "It's also a matter of perception: For somebody who moves their bowels once a day, a sudden increase in frequency will be of concern to them," she says, adding that diarrhea can also refer to a change in the consistency of your stools. Now that we've talked a lot of shit (sorry), here's how you can get rid of diarrhea.
The good news? Even though it can feel kind of gross, diarrhea is usually not a huge deal and will go away on its own. However, if you've had diarrhea for at least two weeks, or you have blood in your stool, significant abdominal pain, fevers, or dehydration, that is a sign that there may be something more serious going on, so you should see a doctor, Dr. Rosen says.
But, if you're just waiting for your bowels to get back to normal during a typical experience with diarrhea, you should drink lots of fluids (at least one cup per bout of diarrhea) and eat binding foods, Dr. Rosen says. "These are foods that tend to be easily digested; they're bland foods," she says. It's best to stay away from greasy foods, raw veggies, and dairy until your poop is back to normal, she says. It's also a good idea to eat a bunch of small meals, rather than three big ones.