Q. I have diarrhea regularly. I have read your column with some great suggestions for more natural remedies.
What I have the most success with is Pepto-Bismol. Are there any ingredients in it that would make it harmful to take one or two tablets three or four times a week?
A. Pepto-Bismol has a long history dating back to the early 20th century. It was originally developed to treat severe diarrhea in babies.
The active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate. It remedies a wide range of digestive problems including heartburn, diarrhea and nausea. Since the label says you can safely take up to 16 tablets in 24 hours, your dose is not unreasonable.
Despite its good safety record, Pepto-Bismol is not meant to treat a chronic condition. Too much bismuth can lead to loss of appetite, canker sores and poor absorption of nutrients. The salicylate component can cause ringing in the ears. You should check with your doctor about the cause of the diarrhea to see if that can be addressed.