When you have watery bowel movements more than 3 times a day, you are experiencing diarrhea. Diarrhea may or may not be accompanied by stomach cramps. If you have diarrhea, your first priority must be preventing dehydration by drinking plenty of water and asking your doctor to prescribe you the appropriate medication for relief. It is critical that ongoing diarrhea be addressed, because it can lead to severe dehydration and, in some cases, organ failure, so be in close contact with your doctor regarding your symptoms. After digestive system surgery or when receiving chemo or radiation targeting the pelvic region, diarrhea is common due to cell and beneficial bacteria destruction caused by these treatments. In a normal intestine, beneficial bacteria are always at work, helping to extract vital nutrients from food.
There are many self-care practices which may help relieve diarrhea. Drinking a lot of water is the first, and perhaps most crucial, step. Be sure to eat potassium and sodium-rich foods to help prevent dangerous electrolyte imbalances; fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in potassium, while sodium is a key ingredient in table salt and many processed foods. During a bout with diarrhea, you should try to eat bananas, boiled potatoes, cooked carrots or applesauce. When you are experiencing diarrhea, avoid dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and fried food. Many individuals are also sensitive to wheat and should avoid it as well. To recover eat foods that have calories to gain the weight lost, if needed, as well as foods with higher amount of vitamins and minerals to replenish any lost nutrients.
National Cancer Institute – Managing Side Effects – http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/diarrhea.pdf