Probiotics refer to live yeasts and bacteria that can benefit overall health and well-being. They’re usually associated with the digestive system, although they exist throughout the body. As increasing evidence suggests strong links between overall wellness and your gut microbiome increases, so does interest in these microorganisms. The three most common types of probiotics are lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces boulardii. Each group boasts various benefits.
Some food sources rich in probiotics include fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha, to name a few. They’re also available in supplement form. While researchers are still studying how they work, probiotics may aid in replacing good bacteria that are lost after taking antibiotics and balancing the harmful and good bacteria to ensure that the body continues to work as intended.
The FDA doesn’t regulate probiotics like medications. And unlike pharmaceutical companies, probiotic supplement makers don’t necessarily have to show that their products fulfill their intended purpose and are safe to take. So while they boast powerful benefits, they’re generally not recommended for those severe medical conditions. They may also have side effects and trigger allergies, so it’s best to consult a doctor before taking probiotic supplements.
Diarrhea is one of, if not the most, common gastrointestinal diseases. Abnormally loose or watery stools generally characterize them. Often, the condition occurs because of viral or bacterial infections. In most cases, they’re mild and temporary. However, they can also be severe and life-threatening in some instances. An estimated two billion occur every year globally, and a little under two million children in developing countries die from it every year.
Beyond loose stools, some common symptoms of diarrhea include stomach pains, abdominal cramps, bloating, weight loss, fever, body aches, chills, and fever. In severe conditions, it can also be a symptom linked to another medical condition, with possible symptoms being pus or blood in the feces, and intense dehydration. To avoid complications, you must talk to a doctor if you experience persistent or severe symptoms of diarrhea.
In mild and acute cases, diarrhea typically resolves without medical treatment. More often than not, it involves rehydration and dietary changes to avoid worsening the condition. There’s also evidence that suggests that probiotics may reduce symptoms. Some strains known for their anti-diarrhea properties are bifidobacterium lactis, lactobacillus casei, and saccharomyces boulardii. Over-the-counter medication like loperamide can also by reducing stool passage.