When You Have Loose Stools

"Diarrhea kept me from going out and doing things. My nurse told me how important it was to drink more liquids. Drinking more water and avoiding certain foods helped me feel a lot better."

Editorial Team
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Jan 20, 2013
When You Have Loose Stools

Drink more liquids each day.
  • Drink lots of clear liquids each day to replace the fluid you are losing.
  • Try to drink 1 cup of liquid after each loose stool.
  • Drink clear liquids, such as water, ginger ale, and clear soup.

Eat small meals that are easy on your stomach.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day, instead of 3 large meals.
  • Eat a meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Your doctor or nurse may suggest the BRAT foods. BRAT stands for:

Don't have things that can make your diarrhea worse.
  • Don't eat raw fruits and vegetables, whole wheat breads and cereals, spicy foods, or greasy fried foods.
  • Don't drink milk or milk products, drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or prune juice.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you are dizzy or have diarrhea or stomach pain for more than a day. Ask about medicine that can help.


These foods and drinks may be easy on your stomach until you feel better:


Soups (clear liquids) Drinks (clear liquids) Meals and snacks Fruits and sweets
  • Clear broth, such as chicken, vegetable, or beef

  • Clear soda such as ginger ale
  • Cranberry or grape juice
  • Oral rehydration solution drinks, such as Pedialyte®
  • Tea
  • Water

  • Chicken - broiled or baked, without the skin
  • Crackers
  • Cream of wheat or rice cereal
  • Noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes - boiled, without the skin
  • Pretzels
  • White rice
  • White toast
  • Angel food cake
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Canned Peaches or apricots
  • Gelatin (Jell-O®)
  • Yogurt

How to take care of your bottom (rectal area):

  1. Use a baby wipe that is alcohol free and unscented.

Questions to ask your doctor or nurse:

  1. What problems should I call you about?
  2. How much liquid should I drink each day?
  3. What medicine can I take to stop the diarrhea?
    What are the side effects of this medicine?
  4. What are oral rehydration solution drinks?
    Where can I find them?
  5. What is a sitz bath? Should I take these?
  6. What creams can help my bottom feel better?