We’ve all experienced bouts of diarrhoea. The cramping, watery stools, and bloating can get very embarrassing, which is why we want them gone quickly.
Diarrhoea occurs when there are changes in the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract. These changes cause excessive fluid build-up in the gut, leading to our symptoms.
Because diarrhoea is due to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, one way to treat it would be to restore that balance. This is where probiotics come in. Probiotic supplements are great for the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea.
Best types of probiotics for treating diarrhoea
There are different strains of probiotics, and the key to choosing the right one is understanding what is causing your diarrhoea and the symptoms you are exhibiting.
The most beneficial probiotic strains for treating diarrhoea are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus casei. These are not the only probiotic strains capable of treating diarrhoea, but these strains have research backing them up.
There are different ways to get more probiotics. One way is through the food you eat. Fermented foods, fruits, and vegetables are all probiotic-rich foods. You can also get probiotic supplements in the form of probiotic sachets.
Types of diarrhoea that respond to probiotic treatment
Let’s look at the different types of diarrhoea that can be stopped using probiotic supplementation.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea is a very common type of diarrhoea. We use antibiotics to treat several diseases, and while they are effective, they come with side effects.
When antibiotics make their way to your gut, they disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestine. This disruption can lead to diarrhoea. Fortunately, probiotics are particularly effective for the treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
These probiotics work by restoring the balance between the healthy and harmful bacteria in your gut. If you have a condition requiring antibiotic treatment, it might be best to take probiotic supplements to avoid developing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
If you travel to a country where the climate or sanitization practices differ from your own, you may be exposed to a greater risk of contracting travellers’ diarrhoea. It’s caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
To avoid traveller’s diarrhoea, be careful about what foods and drinks you consume when travelling. If you are going on a journey, you should take precautions by taking probiotic supplements.
Infectious diarrhoea is due to infectious agents in our bodies. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses are all capable of causing this kind of diarrhoea.
Infectious diarrhoea is common in developing countries and even more common among children under 5 years old. It can lead to death if left untreated.
Avoid undercooked meats or seafood, unpasteurised milk, or soft cheeses to prevent infectious diarrhoea.
Probiotics can also help treat infectious diarrhoea. They correct the imbalance in the microbiome of the gut, leading to quicker relief from diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea can easily become a long-term problem. Acute diarrhoea is supposed to last for less than two weeks. If you notice that you are still passing watery and loose stools for more than two weeks, you might suffer from chronic diarrhoea.
Chronic diarrhoea can be due to pathogens, an underlying health condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or inflammatory bowel disease. It can also be due to the medications that you are taking.
Fortunately, probiotics can also help with this kind of persistent diarrhoea. One of the health benefits of probiotics is that they control the bowel movement rate, which can be good for controlling the symptoms of chronic diarrhoea.
For an even better effect, include prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics can help increase the effectiveness of probiotics.
Diarrhoea in children
Diarrhoea is common among young children and infants. It is not the end of the world if your child has diarrhoea occasionally. Considering all they do, it would be a miracle if they didn’t.
However, prolonged diarrhoea is bad for any child. It can cause loss of fluids which leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Children get diarrhoea through the same means as adults: antibiotic medications, underlying health conditions, or infections.
Fortunately, probiotics can reduce symptoms of diarrhoea in children. It can also reduce the duration of an episode of diarrhoea. The great thing about kids is that they are still growing, so now is the time to build a diet with foundations deeply rooted in probiotic supplementation.
Can probiotics cause diarrhoea? Possible side effects
While probiotic bacteria might be great for preventing diarrhoea in most people, there is a chance that you might get diarrhoea when you start taking them. However, they have never made diarrhoea worse.
Probiotics try to recreate the balance of bacteria in your intestinal tract, and to do that, it purges the unnecessary microbes in your gut. This can cause temporary diarrhoea, but only for a while before you start seeing the difference.
The duration of this probiotic-induced diarrhoea might vary because everybody is different, but it shouldn’t take more than a few days. If it does, you might want to consult your doctor.
There are no unpleasant side effects of using probiotics. They actually come with a lot of health benefits.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found naturally in probiotic foods and dietary supplements or added to products like yoghurt and cheese. They are effective in treating and preventing different forms of diarrhoea. They work by rebalancing the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. A diet rich in probiotics and prebiotics will help save you from the stress of dealing with diarrhoea.