In most cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics when you have a serious infection caused by pathogenic bacteria. These are powerful drugs whose aim is to fight these harmful bacteria to help you recover from an infection or illness. When taking these medications, studies have shown that they not only eliminate harmful bacteria from the body but also good bacteria such as those that help in digestion. This is one of the reasons you need to take probiotic whenever you are taking antibiotics. These substances stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms to replace the one eliminated by antibiotics.
Antibiotics work by eliminating particular pathogenic bacteria that causes an infection or illness. Upon eliminating these particular bacteria, they go on to eliminate good ones also. When this happens, a harmful bacterium known as Clostridium difficile dominates the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), a serious bout of diarrhea which sometimes can be dangerous.
This is also another reason doctors recommend you take probiotics when taking antibiotics. These substances have proven effective in treating or reducing side effects associated with antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They will replenish the gut with good microbes and beneficial microbes which balances out the harmful ones. These substances also replace the beneficial bacteria eliminated by antibiotics.
Choosing the Right Probiotics
You can get good bacteria from the regular diet comprising of yogurt, sauerkraut and other fooods. However, such foods do not provide enough bacteria required to replenish the gut or to replace the ones killed by antibiotics. That is why experts recommend the use of probiotic supplements which come in form of drinks, powders and capsules.
That said, there are several probiotic supplements that promise to offset the effects of antibiotics. However, not all of these supplements are effective and safe for use. Some don’t deliver what they promise while others have side effects. To make the right choice, it is important to do enough research and take your time.
Tips for choosing and using the right probiotics
1. Type of microbes in the probiotic product
Choose probiotic with specific microbes that will help you treat or reduce the symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Also, choose for supplements that contain Saccharomyces boulardii, a type of yeast that is able to survive in the gastrointestinal tract.
2. Look at the probiotic dosage
The amount of beneficial microbes in different probiotic supplements can vary. To take the right amount of beneficial microbes, it is important to follow the dosage requirement of each product. Always investigate to see how many colony-forming units (CFUs) of microbes and bacteria are included in each dose. For instance, some probiotic supplements contain about 1 billion colony-forming units in each serving while others contain around 30 billion CFUs or more.
3. Make sure the probiotics are alive
Make sure probiotic products you are about to buy contain live microbes. Some manufacturers produce probiotic supplements in laboratories using advanced quality control measures while othera don’t. Buying probiotic products from these manufacturers ensures that microbes were alive when the product was formulated.
4. Be careful when using a probiotic powder
You should take extreme care when taking probiotic powder. You should use powdered supplements with cold foods and liquids. If a probiotic powder is exposed to heat, the microbes inside of these powders will die. However, there are some probiotic powders that are labeled as heat resistant.
5. Continue taking probiotic supplements after antibiotics
You should continue taking probiotic supplements after you have finished taking antibiotics medication. The reason for this is that antibiotic-associated diarrhea can develop several weeks after an antibiotic medication is complete. It will also take your good microbes and bacteria long time to get replenished inside the gastrointestinal tract. Taking probiotics supplements after antibiotics can help ensure that there is a balance between harmful bacteria and beneficial ones in your gut.
6. Talk to Your Doctor
It is important to talk to your doctor if you are suffering from an illness and you are planning to take probiotic supplements. The reason is that probiotic supplements have been known to cause side effects in individuals who have some health conditions or compromised immune systems. If you are in good health, you can take probiotic supplements without any worry. But it is also recommended you consult your health care professional just to stay on the safe side.
If your doctor has prescribed an antibiotic to help fight an illness or infection, also consider adding a probiotic supplement to your daily regimen.