Can Probiotics Cause Diarrhea? Exploring Probiotics’ Side Effects In [UK] 2023
If you recently started taking probiotic supplements and have diarrhea, you may be wondering, “Can probiotics cause diarrhea?”
Probiotics, in essence, are exceptional for the gut. These healthy bacteria have numerous scientific proofs for their potential benefits on the gut microbiome and overall health. However, some people may experience diarrhea after taking probiotic supplements. So, some people wonder can women’s probiotics cause diarrhea?
Here, we’ll explore the science behind probiotics, their effects on the gastrointestinal tract, and the potential side effects.
Can Probiotics Cause Diarrhea?
Yes, probiotics can cause diarrhea in some people. While they are generally safe, certain probiotic strains may lead to digestive problems like diarrhea. Diarrhea becomes prevalent, especially when you take probiotics in high doses or when severely immunocompromised.
Diarrhea might also occur for those with underlying health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease. It’s paramount to consult a healthcare professional before starting probiotic supplementation to ensure proper use and avoid potential side effects.
Do Probiotics Cause Diarrhea?
Probiotics can sometimes cause diarrhea as a potential side effect. While these healthy bacteria positively impact gut health, you may experience diarrhea while taking probiotic supplements. When you consume large dosages of probiotics or combine different strains of bacteria, your chance of developing diarrhea may increase. This contradicts the popular notion of using probiotics to treat diarrheal symptoms, especially in those with irritable bowel syndrome.
The delicate equilibrium of the digestive system and the gut bacteria may both be impacted by probiotics. You may be more prone to diarrhea from probiotics if you suffer from an inflammatory bowel condition, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, or a sensitive digestive system.
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What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that offer human digestive health several benefits. When you consume these good bacteria in adequate amounts, they facilitate healthy gut microbiota. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the two major bacterial groups that makeup probiotics.
Here is a list of some beneficial probiotic bacteria strains and their functions:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus’ main job is to boost digestion and immunity and prevent urinary tract infections in women.
- Lactobacillus casei may help prevent childhood diarrhea and cancer and modulate immunity and inflammatory responses.
- Lactobacillus plantarum strengthens the gut lining by modulating the gut microbiota. It is also a viable strain for reducing triglyceride and total cholesterol levels, which may help with weight loss.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum is abundant in breastfed infants’ and children’s digestive tracts. This strain may help prevent or reduce eczema in infants.
- Bifidobacterium longum probiotic protects the intestinal mucus lining from injury. It is also used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
When you consume probiotics, the live bacteria help maintain a healthy ecosystem of good and bad bacteria. This regulation is necessary for numerous digestive functions, such as vitamin K synthesis and cellulose digestion.
Probiotics are present in fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. They are also available as dietary supplements providing concentrated amounts of selective probiotic strains. You may pair probiotic supplements with digestive enzymes for overall gut health improvement. The supplement forms available are powder, capsule, gel, and gummy.
Like any health supplement, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting probiotics to ensure they are suitable.
Why Do Probiotics Cause Diarrhea?
Even though probiotics are generally beneficial for gut health, some people may experience digestive symptoms as side effects. Here are some instances probiotics may cause diarrhea:
When You Consume Probiotics In High Doses
Can too many probiotics cause diarrhea? The answer: yes. High doses introduce an overabundance of live bacteria that might disrupt the digestive tract gut colonies and create a gut imbalance.
Consuming Too Much Fermented Foods
Fermented foods can sometimes cause excessive gas production in the gut in those with inflammatory bowel disease. When the gas accumulation surpasses a certain point, you may experience bloating and diarrhea as a side effect.
If You Are Sensitive To Certain Probiotic Strains
Since everyone’s reaction to certain probiotic strains differs, some may be more sensitive to certain strains. Diarrhea might occur as a result of this sensitivity.
Because Of Elevated Histamine Levels
Some probiotics like Lactobacillus saerimneri 30a might elevate histamine levels. Histamine is a chemical compound the body produces as an immune response. It is crucial in various physiological processes, including regulating stomach acid secretion, inflammation, and allergic reactions.
Lastly, can expired probiotics cause diarrhea? Probiotics are frequently viable and effective for up to two years after expiration. After this, the bacteria die and will no longer create any effect, and causing diarrhea does not seem to be a side-effect of consuming expired probiotics.
Probiotic Side Effects
Despite causing diarrhea, probiotics also have other side effects. Some of those adverse effects are:
- Constipation: Probiotics’ relation to constipation is a double-edged sword: it may work both ways to offer relief or cause it. You may experience difficulty passing stools due to slowed gut motility while taking new probiotic strains.
- Bloating: An excess intake of probiotics can lead to increased gas production during the fermentation process in the gut, causing bloating and discomfort.
- Allergic reactions: Certain probiotic strains may trigger allergic responses if you have a sensitive digestive tract lining. This could result in symptoms including breathing problems, irritation, or skin rashes.
- Systemic infections: Bacterimia, usually a fungemia, have been reported primarily in immunocompromised hosts such as those in intensive care units.
- Metabolic derangements: If you have a histamine sensitivity, it might be dangerous when certain probiotics raise histamine levels in the body. Headaches, hives, or nasal congestion are just a few symptoms that could result from these increased levels. D-lactic acidosis may be found in those with short bowel syndrome. Biogenic amines, which are high in some fermented foods, may aggravate this.
- Excessive immune system stimulation in some individuals: This is a theoretical concern not found in any human documented studies to date.
- Gene transfer: Some probiotics contain genes conferring resistance to popular antibiotics.
To minimize the side effects of probiotics, always follow recommended dosages and choose probiotic supplements and gut-healing foods.
How To Take Probiotics Safely
Safely taking probiotics entails following a few key considerations. Here’s how to do it:
- Eat natural probiotic-rich foods: Consume plenty of probiotic foods and superfoods like yogurt and readily available soft cheeses.
- Choose the right probiotic: Always choose a probiotic supplement with specific bacterial strains suitable for your health needs, gut conditions, and immune function.
- Start gradually: You should introduce probiotics gradually to allow your gut microbiome and lining to adjust to the new bacteria.
- Follow recommended dosage: If you use a probiotic supplement, adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions or your healthcare provider’s advice.
- Consider timing: Consuming probiotics with meals may enhance their survival through the digestive process and maximize their effectiveness. Taking them with meals minimizes killing certain probiotic strains by gastric acid.
- Monitor your body’s response: Be keen and notice how your body reacts to probiotics and see a doctor if you experience any adverse effects.
- Store properly.
While it’s apparent that probiotics offer significant gut health benefits, they can occasionally cause diarrhea. Diarrhea is a side effect that could root from numerous sources like a weakened immune system, severe illnesses, infection, or food contamination.
Fully grasping the balance needed for optimum gastrointestinal microbiome and your responses to probiotics is essential in managing diarrhea. People react differently to different strains and dosages.
The first way is to go natural! Get your beneficial bacteria from food sources rather than in supplement form first, and if you must, then seek probiotic supplementation. Secondly, start with the recommended dosages, choose appropriate strains, and monitor any adverse reactions. Also, read the labels carefully to note any other ingredient that may cause diarrhea, such as lactose.
If you experience persistent diarrhea or other digestive issues, see a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis, treatment, and further prevention.
You can integrate probiotics into your diet with proper information and personalized care to support gut health.
Frequently Asked Questions
While probiotics are generally safe, some people may experience constipation due to changes in the gut microbiome. It may happen when taking certain bacterial strains or high doses.
If you are experiencing diarrhea after starting probiotics, stop taking them and see a doctor for evaluation. Professionals can help determine if probiotics suit you or if the plan needs any adjustments.
The frequency you should take probiotics depends on your needs and health goals. For the best plan, consult a doctor to determine your appropriate dosage and duration.
One of the effects of taking probiotics is increased bowel movements. Probiotics stimulate gut activity, and this pooping influence is often temporary and should subside as your body adjusts.
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