Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

By

Jennifer Larson

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It might never have crossed your mind to take probiotics, those friendly microorganisms that are supposed to maintain order in your gut. Or perhaps you're a loyal fan and regular consumer of probiotic-enriched yogurt.

Regardless of your current habits or preferences, the question is do you need to be taking probiotics?

You may want to consider taking probiotics if:

You're taking antibiotics.

If you've ever experienced diarrhea while taking a course of antibiotics, you've experienced an unpleasant side effect that affects 25% to 30% of people who receive antibiotics. However, it's a side effect that probiotics might just be able to prevent. Antibiotics can alter or eradicate much of the beneficial flora that populates your gastrointestinal tract, causing cramps and diarrhea. But research supports the benefits of taking probiotics to ward off the diarrhea when taking antibiotics, according to a 2012 study published in JAMA.

You suffer from eczema.

Debunking digestive health myths means you’ll have a better chance at detecting tummy trouble when it occurs.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 13, 2017

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Medical References

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/#7 
Lactose Intolerance. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance/ 
What I Need to Know about Peptic Ulcers. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/pepticulcers_ez/#6
Rubio-Tapia, A., et al. The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Oct. 2012;107(10):1538-44.