The gut microbiota is composed of living microorganisms that exist in the body to promote gastrointestinal health and much more. These bacteria reside in the intestines, also known as normal flora of the gut.
Some of these bacteria include Lactobacillus strains, which are the most common probiotic and helps in the treatment of diarrhea. It is found in yogurt and other fermented items. Another probiotic is Bifidobacterium, also found in dairy products, and helpful to treat the irritable bowel syndrome. A third type is known as Aaccharromyces boulardii, a type of yeast and a probiotic that improves many digestive problems.
The medical use of probiotics becomes relevant when the healthy flora of the body gets compromised in conditions such as excessive antibiotic intake, extended hospital stay, and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatments.
Can probiotics cause pain and gas in the stomach?
Probiotics are safe supplements that stay on the counter of pharmacies and even sell online without requiring any sort of prescription. Doctors typically prescribe probiotics in the events listed above, but the general public can use them anytime they want, and sometimes they combine probiotic supplements with fermented foods as a part of their healthy daily habits.
The majority of them never experience any side effects at all, and one of the only problems that studies typically report is bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort. They may trigger flatulence allergic reactions, but the latter events are quite uncommon.
If you ever experienced gas and flatulence after using probiotics, it may be due to additives of supplements or ingredients of probiotic foods. For example, probiotic foods can cause allergic reaction especially in those who are intolerant to eggs, dairy products, and lactose. But even supplements can cause the same symptom, especially when patients take an excessive dose.
The healthy flora of the gut maintains the natural balance of the organism in terms of immunity, absorption, and digestive processes. Since probiotics supplements are made with strains of bacteria and yeast, they enter the gut and settle there, replacing the normal flora. When they do, probiotics will temporarily increase gas production until the new strains replace unhealthy bacteria. This happens in the first 2 to 3 weeks of using probiotics, and after this initial time, the gut receives these new strains and these symptoms may get settled.
When there is production of gas in the gut by the newly settled bacteria, the walls of the intestines are expanded, and the spastic movements of the smooth muscle result in pain and bloating. Probiotics can cause constipation increased thirst as these strains of bacteria are installed in the gut.
There’s an additional reason that explains the awkward gastrointestinal symptoms people report in the first weeks. Some pathogenic bacteria have endotoxins that cause diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. When they are replaced by probiotics and start dying away, they would be destroyed and release their endotoxins to the gastrointestinal lumen. When there’s serious colonization by the same bacteria, this process repeats itself over and over again in various parts of the gut and causes generalized abdominal pain, colics, and sometimes diarrhea.
Keep in mind that some fermented foods contain amines, which may trigger headaches in patients who suffer from migraines. They may also contain histamines and cause allergic symptoms such as rhinitis and itching in susceptible people. Also, note that people with a compromised immune system and suffering from chronic diseases such as acute pancreatitis and post surgery patients should not take probiotics as these bacterial stains may lead to infections and unexpected complications.
Health benefits of Probiotics
The benefits of probiotics far outweigh the minimal chance of a risk and the transient symptoms of bloating during the first few weeks. They do not only help in the nourishment of the gut but also have a positive impact on other systems of the body. They are very helpful in the management of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, where they modulate the immunity of the body and help patients recovering from the symptoms of eczema and relieving skin allergies.
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Urinary tract infections are in females and fungal infections of the vagina are commonly seen when the immune system of females gets compromised. Probiotics can be of good help in such patients as they improve the immunity of the body by modulating the normal flora present in the mucosa of the gastrointestinal system, but also the mouth, throat, and vagina.
Many patients are susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections such as tonsillitis and the common cold. The modulation of the immune system in probiotics can have an impact in these patients and may reduce the chance of infection.
Additionally, the oral health of patients can be improved significantly after using probiotics. Remember that the oral cavity has a vast quantity of healthy flora bacteria which can compromise patients with a poor immune system. Infections such as candidiasis or angular chelosis can are commonly seen, and will be prevented with probiotic supplements
Finally, probiotics have a positive impact on the mental health of patients. Studies suggest that it is possible to improve or at least modulate the mood and improve the symptoms of kids with hyperactivity problems and learning difficulties.
Is it worth taking Probiotics?
Making a smart decision depends on our capacity to determine the benefits and risks each time we choose to make a decision. That being said, synthetic drugs have side effects, but they cure disease. Not taking a vaccine shot may prevent some extremely rare adverse effects, but expose people to life-threatening diseases in the long run. Similarly, the side effects of probiotics are temporary and mild. They are not a compelling reason to discontinue probiotic treatment or avoid probiotic foods.
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