Activia Yogurt and Antibiotics

Antibiotics are prescribed to help your immune system fight off bacterial infections, such as ear infections, pneumonia and bacterial meningitis. Antibiotics can cause some side effects, including digestive system problems such as diarrhea. Activia yogurt may help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms associated with antibiotic treatment.

A small cup of yogurt with strawberries. (Image: Jultud/iStock/Getty Images)

Antibiotic Treatment

Antibiotics are medications that can destroy bacteria in your body. Besides killing the harmful bacteria that cause infections, antibiotics also kill good bacteria present in your intestines. These helpful bacteria, also referred as your normal flora, promote intestinal health, produce vitamins and hormones and prevent the growth of bad bacteria found in your intestines. Taking antibiotics can disturb the balance between these two types of bacteria and lead to overgrowth of the bad bacteria.

Probiotics

Probiotic supplements contain friendly microbes that can help restore your normal intestinal flora after and during an antibiotic regimen. They also prevent colonization of harmful bacteria that might otherwise overgrow in your intestines. Other benefits of probiotic supplements include reducing the duration of infectious diarrhea, decrease pain and bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, and reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis in at-risk infants.

Benefits

Taking antibiotics is associated with diarrhea. Antibiotic-related diarrhea is believed to be caused by the imbalance of your normal flora that antibiotic treatment causes. Although this type of diarrhea clears up shortly after you stop taking the antibiotics, it can lead to inflammation of the colon, or colitis. Taking probiotics can prevent or reduce the symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A study reported in "American Family Physician" in 2008 found that taking probiotics reduced diarrhea by 52 percent, and the benefits were the greatest when the probiotic treatment was started within 72 hours after beginning of the antibiotic regimen.

Activia Yogurts

Activia yogurt made by Dannon contains probiotic bacteria that can help restore your normal flora. The daily recommended doses of probiotics are 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units for adults and 5 to 10 billion CFUs for children per day, according to the "American Family Physician." The Activia yogurt contains around 5 to 10 billion CFUs in one 4-ounce serving and is an alternative to probiotic capsules and powder.

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