About the Illness

Diarrhoea is the body’s way of removing poison from the gut. For most cases of diarrhoea no medicine is needed. If diarrhoea is severe, the biggest danger is dehydration. If it is long-lasting, the biggest danger is malnutrition. Diarrhoea is not really a disease in itself, rather a sign of some other problem. When treating diarrhoea, identify the cause and treat and manage that, as well as following the treatment guidelines below.

Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms
Passing loose, watery stools more than 3 times a day; sense of urgency to have a bowel movement; bloating and cramping of stomach.
Issues Specific to Children
In small children diarrhoea can be caused by infections outside the gut.

Always look for signs of infection in the ears, throat or urinary system and treat them as well as the diarrhoea. Also look for signs of measles.
Four steps to follow:


1. Identify the cause of diarrhoea, then manage and treat this as necessary.


2. Stop the diarrhoea.


3. Rehydrate yourself.


4. Recovery – make sure you continue to take enough liquid and eat the right foods to regain your strength.


Identifying the Cause


The table below describes the different types of diarrhoea you might experience and explains what might cause them and the treatment steps you should follow:




1. Sudden, mild diarrhoea; no fever.


2. Diarrhoea with vomiting.


3. Diarrhoea with mucus & blood; no fever.


4. Sever diarrhoea with blood; fever.


5. Severe diarrhoea; fever.


6. Yellow, bad-smelling diarrhoea with bubbles or froth.


7. Chronic diarrhoea (lasts a long time and keeps coming back).


8. Diarrhoea like rice water.


Possible Causes


1. Upset stomach, intestinal flu.


2. Many causes.


3. Possible amoebic dysentery.


4. Bacterial dysentery.


5. Typhoid; malaria.


6. Giardia.


7. Malnutrition; chronic infection (amoebas, giardia, HIV).


8. Cholera.


Children’s Issues

In small children diarrhoea can be caused by infections outside the gut.


Always look for signs of infection in the ears, throat or urinary system and treat them as well as the diarrhoea. Also look for signs of measles.


Important Information

1. Drink plenty of liquids.


2. This can be VERY DANGEROUS.

Danger of dehydration is great, so give liquid, especially rehydration drink.


3. Treat diarrhoea.

Go for stool test and medical treatment.


4. Seek medical treatment.


5. Fever may be caused by dehydration. Give rehydration drink.

Check for signs of typhoid fever. If present, treat.
Check for signs of malaria, if present, treat,


6. Plenty of liquid, nutritious food and rest.

If it continues, seek medical help.


7. Eat larger quantities of nutritious food more often.

If diarrhoea continues, seek medical help.


8. Treat dehydration continuously.


Seek medical help.


Herbal Therapy

If diarrhoea is more serious and the nutrition suggestions don’t stop it, try one of these remedies:

Ficus sycomorus Tea good for all

Boil 1-2 pieces of bark in 1 ltr water for 30-40 minutes.
Drink 1/4 glass.
(All children take 1 tsp tea dissolved in 1 glass water or mixed in porridge).
Take 1 dose only.

Guava Leaf Infusion good for all

Crush a few young guava leaves, steep in 1 glass hot water for 5-10 minutes then drink 1 glass 3x daily for as long as necessary.
(6-10 yrs: 1/4 glass 3x daily; 2-6 yrs: 3 tbsp 3x daily; up to 2 yrs: 1 tbsp 3x daily).

Lantana camara Infusion good for all

Crush a handful of leaves and soak them in 1 glass hot water for 5-10 minutes.
Drink 1/2 glass 3x daily.
(6-10 yrs: 1/4 glass 3x daily; 2-6 yrs: 2 tbsp 3x daily; up to 2 yrs: 1 tbsp 3x daily).

Pawpaw Seed Solution good for all

Dissolve 1 tsp dried and powdered pawpaw seeds in 1 glass warm water.
Take 2 tsp up to 3x daily.
(6-10 yrs: 1/2 tsp 3x daily; 2-6 yrs: 1/4 tsp 3x daily).

Food and Nutrition Advice

If diarrhoea is mild, try one of these foods to help stop it:


• Guava Either eat hard, unripe fruit or just the seeds.


• Millet Porridge Prepare it with no sugar. Feed patient as much as they can take.


• Pumpkin Seeds Dissolve 1 tsp dried and crushed pumpkin seeds in 1 glass warm water and drink or mix into a serving of porridge. (6-10 yrs: ½ glass; 2-6 yrs:1/4 glass; up to 2 yrs: 2 tbsp 2x daily)


  • Keep feeding yourself as often as possible. As soon as you are ableto accept food, take frequent meals of foods you like and can eat.


  • Babies should keep taking breast milk.


  • Eat cooked foods that are soft, mashed, moist and easy to swallow.


  • Foods to Eat: Steamed rice; millet porridge; finger millet;watermelon; banana; green vegetables(susa, lisebebe, mitto, mnavu); andfermented milk (maziwa mala) which is easy to digest and helps restorehealthy bacteria to your stomach.


  • Foods to Avoid: Fatty foods; meat; milk; coffee/tea; alcohol; spicyfoods; acidic green vegetables(spinach and mchicha); pawpaw.

Body Work and General Advice


The best way to prevent dehydration is to make people drink rehydrationdrinks every time they pass a stool. Adults need 2 litres of water perday, and up to 3 litres if they have diarrhoea.


Try the following rehydration drinks:


ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) Dissolve 1/2 level tsp salt and 8 leveltsp sugar in 1 ltr clean water. Add salt first and taste to make sureit is less salty than tears before adding sugar). Drink as often as necessary.


Cereal Drink Add 1/2 level tsp salt and 8 heaped tsp of powdered cerealto 1 ltr clean water. Boil for 5-7 minutes to make a liquid gruel. Coolthe drink quickly and start giving to patient. Best cereals to use for this are powdered rice, finely ground maize, wheat flour, sorghum ormashed potatoes.


Coconut Water (Maji ya madafu) Feed children as much of this as they can take.


Symptoms of dehydration include: On pinching or lifting someone’s skinbetween your two fingers, it doesn’t fall back to normal when you letgo; dark urine or a very small amount of it; rapid heart rate;headaches; flushed, dry skin; irritability and confusion.



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