Probiotics for diarrhoea: From age-appropriate to best types of probiotics and everything in between!

Probiotics for diarrhoea: From age-appropriate to best types of probiotics and everything in between!

It is known that probiotics work to a large extent in treating diarrhoea as has been evident from the use of probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt since a long time. 

Let’s trust science and understand in detail about the why, what and how of probiotics for diarrhoea.

Pre and probiotics for diarrhoea:

Prebiotics and probiotics are essential for human health. While the former feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut to maintain its balance, the latter are live bacteria that can be commonly found in foods or supplements. Both have different functions but cater to one important aspect of your digestive system: your gut.

Our gut hosts millions of good bacteria but when one gets diarrhoea, the gut is affected which creates an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. This leads to loose or watery stools that are frequent. If you have diarrhoea, you will get these abnormal stools at least four to five times a day.

Probiotics have preventive as well as curative effects on several types of diarrhoea. They are live bacteria or yeasts when ingested in adequate amounts of quantity, they provide health benefits–they restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut after it is disrupted by the presence of bad bacteria and this helps in further boosting one’s immunity. Probiotics are obtained from various supplements as well as foods prepared by bacterial fermentation. Some of the best sources of probiotic foods include yoghurt, kimchi, traditional buttermilk, pickles, and fruits such as cantaloupes, berries, and bananas.

Prebiotics are a type of fibre that the human body can’t digest. They serve as food for probiotics. Prebiotics consist of microorganisms including bacteria and yeast. Prebiotics occur naturally in foods including garlic, onions, asparagus, oats, legumes such as soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts such as cashews. Prebiotic foods promote healthy gut bacteria by feeding them externally. Few studies suggest that prebiotics benefit the body by supporting the probiotic growth of gut bacteria, potentially enhancing digestion and metabolism.

Prebiotics and probiotics both support the body in building and maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganisms, which supports the gut and aids in digestion.

Hence it is safe to say that both probiotics and prebiotics help in the treatment of diarrhoea since they help restore a healthy gut.

Types of diarrhoea that respond to probiotic treatment

The four main types of diarrhoea that probiotics can help treat are the following:

1. In children, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea or other diseases that result in diarrhoea are common. Probiotics work well to treat diarrhoea in children. However, it is important to consult a paediatrician before treating them for diarrhoea with a food-based or systematic probiotic. Children with a weak immune system should not be given probiotics before consulting a doctor. 

2. Infectious diarrhoea: Infectious diarrhoea can occur due to the presence of bacteria or parasites in your gut. These can include salmonella and E. coli. To regain gut balance, probiotics can help in a big way.

3. Traveller’s diarrhoea: This type of diarrhoea affects those who travel to areas with contaminated food or water. In such a case, probiotics in the form of medicines such as Normagut can be consumed.

4. Recurrent/Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea: AAD is a common problem in those undergoing antibiotic treatments, even in adults. This primarily occurs when antibiotics weaken gut health by creating an imbalance in its healthy bacteria population. In such a scenario, probiotics are helpful in treating diarrhoea. If this happens too often, it can be regarded as recurrent diarrhoea or one that persists. In such a case, one must consult a doctor at the earliest.

Three most effective lifestyle hacks other than probiotics

Other than probiotics, the three most effective lifestyle hacks to treat diarrhoea include:

  • Strictly avoiding fried, spicy or sugar-rich foods
  • Follow a simple diet that includes rice, bananas, toast or soups 
  • Rehydrating with plain water as diarrhoea can result in dehydration

Best types of probiotics for treating diarrhoea

The following qualify under the best types of probiotics for diarrhoea:

You should opt for natural foods such as yoghurt, bananas, oats or white rice and include it in your diet (in moderation), during and after you get diarrhoea. Or even when you’re travelling to an area known for diarrhoea prevalence.

If you’re unable to complete your probiotic consumption through the above-mentioned foods, then the next best options are doctor-backed supplements/medicines, such as Normagut. It helps in removing key pathogens that cause diarrhoea and other toxins which affect the gut. Normagut consists of the yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii and is available in a capsule and sachet form. However, always consult your doctor before taking any medication. 

Probiotics for every age

Probiotics such as yoghurt or Normagut can be given across ages. However, attention must be paid in the following situations:

  • If the child is below the age of one.
  • If a person is allergic to natural probiotics such as yoghurt or oatmeal.
  • If you opt for a probiotic medicine, especially when given to a child please consult your doctor beforehand.

Possible side-effects of probiotic use:

Side-effects of probiotic for diarrhoea include the following:

  • Bloating or gas in the initial phase of starting probiotics
  • A trigger for allergies or reactions
  • The presence of amine in probiotics can result in headaches sometimes

Disclaimer: Start your probiotic journey only after consulting a doctor.

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