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Diarrhoea is very common across all ages and usually caused by gastroenteritis (a bowel infection), however it can also be caused by anxiety, food allergies, or long-term conditions such as IBS.

Over the counter diarrhoea treatments are a safe and effective way to tackle the symptoms of diarrhoea while you recover from the underlying cause. Loose and watery stools happen when the natural process of the gut is stopped from being able to absorb water from food or when excessive fluid is secreted into the bowel that outpaces the absorption rate.

Diarrhoea comes in two main types acute and chronic with acute being far more common and usually not needing a visit to your GP. It is very easy to distinguish between the two:

  • Acute diarrhoea comes on suddenly but will clear up within 5-10 days
  • Chronic diarrhoea lasts longer than 4 weeks and should always be treated by a doctor


Common causes of diarrhoea are:

  • Intestinal infection (gastroenteritis)
  • Food poisoning
  • Medications such as antibiotics - it’s always worth asking your doctor about potential side effects of prescriptions.
  • Anxiety
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food intolerance - most commonly lactose intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease
  • Surgery: Any removal of significant parts of the digestive tract can result in diarrhoea, sometimes this can also cause dumping syndrome


Most cases of acute diarrhoea can get better without specific medical advice and can be safely managed with over the counter treatments, however you should talk to a doctor if you experience:

  • Diarrhoea lasting more than 14 days
  • Blood appearing in diarrhoea
  • High fever
  • Severe and constant cramping and abdominal pains


At Rightdose we supply fast acting options that can help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhoea even in under an hour after taking them. Whatever the cause of your diarrhoea, our pharmacists can review and approve options for effective relief.

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