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What Is Diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea affects a lot of people from time to time, especially during trips to different countries or when trying out new cuisine. Diarrhoea is the frequent passing of watery or runny stools. Even if this condition is not serious or life-threatening, it can be very uncomfortable. It will hinder you from enjoying your daily activities or keep you home and away from school or work.
Diarrhoea usually lasts for a limited time, normally for a few days or a week depending on the cause.
What Causes Diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea can be triggered by many causes but most of the time it is hard to pinpoint the exact culprit. A very common cause is gastroenteritis. This occurs when a virus, bacteria or parasite enters the bowel and causes an infection. These organisms typically come from contaminated food and water or contaminated areas with poor hygiene. This is the reason travellers often experience this ailment when going to developing countries.
Aside from being caused by an infection, diarrhoea can also be triggered by certain food allergies or intolerances. Even stress or anxiety can act as a trigger.
Taking certain medications may also cause diarrhoea as a side effect. Such medicines include antibiotics and laxatives. Long-term conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease can also cause diarrhoea as a side effect.
What Is The Treatment For Diarrhoea?
Most of the time, diarrhoea clears up without treatment after a few days. However, passing runny stools more frequently can lead to dehydration. Therefore it is crucial to increase your water intake. You should also consume rehydration salts that contain glucose and salts to refill the lost electrolytes. This will help you recover faster than drinking water alone. A soft diet is recommended until you have recovered from diarrhoea but you may go back to eating normally as soon as you feel better.
If your diarrhoea is quite severe, you may need to treat it with diarrhoea medications. We offer next day delivery for most treatments and you can order using any device from the comfort of your home. This means you won’t have to go out to see a GP and you can stay at home while dealing with diarrhoea.
After recovering from diarrhoea, it is best to stay at home for at least 48 hours to avoid the spread of the infection. This will save others from contracting the same infection in case the cause was viral. Diarrhoea normally clears on its own within a week even without treatment. If you notice that the symptoms last longer than that you should consult with a doctor as prolonged diarrhoea can be a sign of a more serious condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Eat When You Have Diarrhoea?
If you have diarrhoea, try to limit your diet to:
- High energy foods including fats, cereals and yoghurt. Make sure to limit consumption to small portions. These foods will help you keep your energy levels higher.
- Foods that are rich in potassium such as bananas, lentils, pineapples and mangoes. These will help prevent cramping.
Try to avoid spicy and high fibre food, as they may aggravate the condition. Drink boiled and cooled water. Use rehydration sachets and avoid drinking alcohol to prevent dehydration.
How Can I Know I’m Dehydrated?
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Flushed or red face
- Extreme thirst
- Unable to drink
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Dry and warm skin
- Thick saliva
- Dark, yellow urine
- Irritability and drowsiness
- Feeling unwell
If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to rehydrate using rehydration sachets or drinks rich in electrolytes (sports waters or soup). Dehydration is the main complication that diarrhoea can lead to.
Does Diarrhoea Treatment Cause Constipation?
No. Diarrhoea treatment does not cause constipation if used according to the instructions.
Is It Normal To Have Diarrhoea And Vomit At The Same Time?
You may experience bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting at the same time. These are usually caused by an infection such as the norovirus. If both symptoms persist for a few days, make sure you visit your GP to determine what’s causing them.
What Is The Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
Travellers’ diarrhoea affects more than 50% of tourists in the UK. You are at a higher risk of developing travellers’ diarrhoea if you’re travelling to countries such as Africa, Asia, South America or South-East Asia. The symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.
In nearly a third of all cases, the symptoms are strong enough to confine travellers to the bed. Therefore, it can seriously affect your trip whether it’s a holiday or a business trip.
What Causes Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
The most common cause of travellers’ diarrhoea is bacteria and viruses that visitors encounter on their visit to a particular destination. The local drinking water is the most common source of contagion. Therefore, you should avoid drinking tap water and only drink bottled water while travelling.
In nearly 40% of all cases, travellers’ diarrhoea is caused by ETEC or enterotoxin-forming Escherichia coli bacteria.
Some other types of bacteria and parasites that may cause the travellers’ diarrhoea also include:
- Paratyphoid fever
- Typhoid Fever
- Bacillus Cereus
- Giardia Lamblia
Is The Travellers’ Diarrhoea Common?
The risk of contracting travellers’ diarrhoea is high, as between 30 to 80% of travellers get it during their trip abroad. The risk increases depending on how exotic the destination is, what the climate is and how well-maintained hygiene is at the place of visit. Stomach infections may occur anywhere in the world, so there’s no guarantee you won’t get it in developed areas as well.
When Should I See The Doctor For Diarrhoea?
A lot of diarrhoea cases will subside on their own in five to eight days with no treatment. However, if you develop any of the following symptoms, make sure you seek immediate medical attention:
- Bloody Diarrhoea
- High Fever
- Green or Yellow Mucus in the stool
Can I Use Antibiotics To Treat Diarrhoea?
Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by bacteria. They are very effective in treating traveller’s diarrhoea.
If you are going to travel abroad, you should take an antibiotic such as azithromycin in case you suffer from travellers diarrhoea.
However, using antibiotics to treat traveller’s diarrhoea is “off-label”, meaning it is not the treatment’s primary use. However, doctors often prescribe treatments “off-label” when their efficiency has been proven through use and studies and based on updated evidence and information.