If you’re new to probiotics, you may be wondering if there are any probiotics side effects you should be worried about. Can probiotics cause diarrhea and nausea? And can stopping probiotics cause diarrhea? Oddly enough, probiotics are known to both stop and cause diarrhea as well as other stomach-related issues.
We’re going to talk about reasons why probiotics might cause stomach problems and how you may be able to prevent them. But first, let’s talk about what probiotics are and how they work.
What are Probiotics?
Trillions of microorganisms live in the human body. In fact, there are 10x more bacteria cells in the body than human ones. Many of these bacteria live in the gut. You may hear these bacteria called gut flora and gut microbes as well. While some of these bacteria are harmful, many others are essential to our health.
Probiotic supplements are living bacteria which are good for the body. You ingest them, most often in the form of a capsule, for their health benefits. Different strains have different benefits. For instance, the bacteria called Lactobacillus Acidophilus helps fight off diarrhea, improve acne, regulate bowel movements, and prevent colorectal cancer.
Why Take Probiotics?
When your body’s balance of good bacteria is off, your health can suffer. Probiotic imbalances may lead to a weak immune system, weight gain, hormone imbalances, digestive issues, and much more. The question is, what causes this bacteria imbalance?
There are many ways this imbalance happens. Antibiotics, though designed to help the body get rid of bad bacteria, also kill off good bacteria. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, stress, sleep deprivation, sedentary lifestyles, and a poor diet can also harm good bacteria.
There are two ways you can restore this imbalance: eating probiotic-rich foods or taking probiotic supplements. Fermented foods contain essential probiotics. This includes foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and tempeh. However, it’s difficult to fit enough of these probiotic-rich foods in your regular diet to restore your balance of healthy gut flora.
That’s why many people prefer to use probiotic supplements. Probiotic supplements often come in the form of a pill which you simply swallow each day. This can help you experience the benefits of healthy, balanced gut microbes without needing to go on a special diet full of fermented foods.
How Probiotics Help Gastrointestinal Functioning
Probiotics are essential for proper gastrointestinal functioning. The digestive tract affects many parts of the body that are essential for immunity, disease prevention, and digestion. Here are some ways probiotics help restore proper functioning and protect your body from harm.
Probiotics help with digestion
Good bacteria help with digestion by breaking down food. They munch on food as it travels through your gastrointestinal system. This can help soften your stool, relieve constipation, and regulate bowel movements. Lacking these essential probiotics is often the cause of chronic constipation. You can restore your body’s balance of these helpful probiotics by consuming probiotic foods or taking probiotic supplements.
Probiotics protect you from disease-causing microbes
Good microbes help keep pathogens or bad bacteria in check. Bad microbes can cause diseases such as strep, UTIs, and tuberculosis. Eating probiotic-rich food or taking probiotic supplements may help protect your body from many harmful microbes.
Probiotics strengthen the immune system
80% of your immune system resides in the gut. Probiotics can strengthen your immune system and prevent illnesses like the flu. As you travel, foreign microbes enter your body and cause diarrhea—also known as traveler’s diarrhea. Probiotics can help reduce the occurrence and duration of traveler’s diarrhea. Probiotics can also help with antibiotic-related diarrhea. Antibiotics can harm good microbes which in turn can weaken your immune system. Probiotics can restore the good gut bacteria balance and stop antibiotics-related diarrhea.
Probiotics help produce vitamins
Probiotics help produce certain vitamins in the body including B vitamins and vitamin K. These vitamins are essential breaking down proteins, improving digestion, and regulating bowel movements. Vitamin B2 helps enhance the gut’s mucus membranes which keep the bowels working properly.
Can Probiotics Cause Diarrhea?
Although the body generally tolerates probiotics without severe symptoms, it’s true that probiotic-rich foods and probiotic supplements can cause diarrhea in some people. Certain strains break down food in the gastrointestinal system which in some cases causes diarrhea. This can happen by using too many probiotics at once or using more than the recommended dosage.
While the standard dose can still cause diarrhea in some people, it often clears up within a few days. You may also experience bloating, cramping, and gas. Most healthy people don’t experience any severe symptoms when taking probiotics. However, if your immune system is compromised, you should never use probiotics without your doctor’s approval.
Although uncommon, probiotics may cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Those who are allergic to certain types of probiotics can also experience diarrhea. If you have an allergic reaction to probiotics, you should stop using them immediately and consult a doctor.
What Should I Do if Probiotics Cause Diarrhea?
Diarrhea isn’t fun. But there are several ways you can deal with the problem if it does arise. First, you should always talk to your doctor if probiotics cause you to have severe diarrhea for an extended period of time.
Most often, probiotics diarrhea should clear up within a couple days. However, it’s important that you stay hydrated since probiotics diarrhea can cause dehydration. If you suspect you’re dehydrated, seek medical attention right away. For less severe probiotic diarrhea cases, over-the-counter medications can help the symptoms.
There are so many benefits to using probiotics. Although there are a handful of probiotics side effects that you may experience, you shouldn’t have a problem with probiotics diarrhea unless you have a compromised immune system or a probiotic allergy. Also, keep in mind that pregnant women should never take probiotics before consulting their doctor.
Overall, the pros of using probiotics outweigh the cons. Probiotics can contribute to a healthier body and a happier mind. At Intrinsic Nutrition, we are dedicated to helping you better your health. Our organic and doctor-formulated probiotics could be the key to a healthier body and a better life.