Our daily diet differs from person to person which can often cause changes in bowel movements. Diarrhoea can occur due to stomach irritation caused by taking antibiotics or by an intolerance to certain foods. Most commonly, diarrhoea happens because of bacterial or virus infections that get into your gut. Some people call it “stomach flu” or “Food poisoning”.

Food poisoning, is an intestinal infection where pathogens multiply in the intestines and causes diarrhoea and other symptoms. Intestinal infection is usually caused by eating or drinking contaminated food that contains infectious organisms or their toxins. The most common Infectious organisms that causes food poisoning includes bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Food poisoning symptoms vary with the source of contamination. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever

Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days or even weeks later and generally lasts from a few hours to several days.

How is food contaminated?

Food can become contaminated at any stage during production, processing or cooking. For example, it can be contaminated by:

  • Food not cooked thoroughly (particularly meat)
  • Food not correctly stored that needs to be chilled at below 5 o C
  • Leaving cooked food for too long at warm temperatures
  • Not reheating enough previously cooked food
  • Someone who is ill or who has uncleaned hands touching the food
  • Eating food that passed its "use by" date
  • The spread of bacteria between contaminated foods (cross-contamination)

What to do?

Most people with food poisoning recover at home and don't need any specific treatment, although there are some situations where you should see your GP for advice. Here are several natural methods that can be used to alleviate diarrhoea quickly.

1. Stay Hydrated

Until you feel better, you should rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Liquid intake is crucial for helping your body fight off food poisoning effects. Vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration, so try to drink plenty of water, even if you can only sip it.

Sports drinks that contain electrolytes are the best way to prevent dehydration during this time. Other suggested liquids include:

  • Non-caffeinated sodas, such as isotonic drink
  • Decaffeinated tea
  • Chicken or vegetable broth

2. Eat Bland food

When you feel you might be able to hold down food, eat foods that are gentle on your stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Stick to bland, low fat, low fiber foods. When your stomach is upset, fat is harder for your stomach to digest. Try to avoid fatty foods to prevent upsetting it further.

Foods that are gentle on the stomach include:

  • Toast
  • Bananas
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Plain potatoes, including mashed potatoes
  • Rice

3. Probiotics

During an episode of food poisoning, it’s important for your body to follow its natural reaction to cleanse and purge the digestive tract to get rid of the harmful bacteria. While your symptoms are at their peak, you might want to try taking probiotics, as during food poisoning, the lining of your intestines can become damaged and the amounts of good bacteria in your colon may be reduced because of excessive diarrhoea.

Taking probiotics can work against the harmful microbes that causes diarrhoea, help the gut battle them, or decrease inflammation and damage to the gut in acute infectious diarrhoea. Probiotics are often described as "good" or "friendly" bacteria; they may be present in cultured milk drinks such as Yakult.

The good bacteria in Yakult lives and multiply in your intestinal tract which are necessary for the normal functioning of your gastrointestinal system. They play an important role in protecting your intestines against infection. You can get diarrhoea when your system is changed by antibiotics or overwhelmed by unhealthy bacteria or viruses. Probiotics can help with diarrhoea by restoring the balance of bacteria in your gut.