Probiotics are an effective treatment for antibiotic-related diarrhoea

Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) prolongs hospital stays and is expensive to treat, and four new studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’ (ACG) 76th Annual Scientific Meeting have been looking at preventing outbreaks with probiotics.

The studies cover using probiotics: as an anti-inflammatory agent for ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome, and for those with simple abdominal pain and discomfort but no actual clinical disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Probiotics, considered good bacteria, help to maintain the balance of microflora in the gut. Bad bugs have the potential to cause damage to the gut, so a balance is required. Good bacteria can be found in yogurt, juices, soy products, fermented foods, tempeh and other dietary supplements.

In all, 22 studies were done, and over 3,000 patients were included, 63% of whom were adults. 35% of the study population used the probiotic S. boulardii, and treatment time was between five days and three weeks, with an average of 1.5 weeks. It was found that treatment with probiotics reduced the odds of developing ADD by 60%.

Several reviews suggest that several probiotic bacteria have the potential to prevent to AAD, including one yeast. The best evidence is for S. boulardii and L. rhamnosus, because these two have been used in most studies.

Source: Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology

First Published in May 2011

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