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what to do about red stools

Typically, people with healthy immune systems don’t need specific medication to treat rotavirus or E. coli. Rotavirus symptoms last a few days and E. coli symptoms should clear up within a week. It’s important to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea. Drink lots of water and other fluids. You may be able to treat diarrhea at home using over-the-counter medications, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D), but ask your doctor first. In some cases, your doctor may advise against taking standard anti-diarrheal medications because they are not effective against E. coli.

Diarrhea from rotavirus or E. coli could lead to dehydration that requires hospitalization. Your doctor may need to give you intravenous fluids to help replace lost fluids.

If your red diarrhea is caused by anal fissures, you may be able to treat them by eating fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains and vegetables. Staying hydrated by regularly drinking water and exercising can help prevent tears to the anus. If symptoms continue, your doctor may recommend externally applied nitroglycerine (Nitrostat, Rectiv) or topical anesthetic creams such as lidocaine hydrochloride (Xylocaine).

If your doctor suspects gastrointestinal bleeding, they will ask questions about your symptoms and may run tests.