The strain and dosage of probiotics you need to take while using antibiotics depends on the reason you're using probiotics. Common side effects of antibiotic usage include diarrhea and yeast infections caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans. Lactobacillus GG can help prevent or lessen diarrhea in both children and adults, while lactobacillus acidophilus can help treat a yeast infection.
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Candida is a yeast-like fungus that normally inhabits your GI tract. It's harmless, unless allowed to reproduce too quickly, then it can cause a myriad of problems from a vaginal yeast infection to oral thrush and canker sores. Antibiotics upset the natural balance of microflora in your gut and allow candida to flourish. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of beneficial bacteria found in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating 8 oz. of unsweetened yogurt or taking acidophilus supplements to help fight candida. The National Institutes of Health notes that acidophilus can be used topically, in the form of a vaginal suppository, to fight a yeast infection.
Antibiotics kill both harmful and friendly bacteria, which can interfere with digestion and cause diarrhea. Up to 20 percent of patients using antibiotics may stop treatment early because of diarrhea, says Science Daily. Lactobacillus GG, sold as Culturelle, can treat antibiotic-related diarrhea. Children need 5 billion live cells daily, while adults need twice that dose -- 10 billion live cells. If you suffer from diarrhea, try to stay hydrated and eat foods that are easy to digest; bland foods low in fat and added sugars such as applesauce, rice, or bananas will help stop diarrhea.
Probiotics do not affect antibiotics, but antibiotics can make probiotics less effective. NIH suggests you take your probiotic 2 hours before or after your antibiotic to avoid any drug interaction. Although probiotics are generally regarded as safe, you should speak to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. If you are eating fermented foods instead of taking supplements, make sure the foods are unpasteurized and contain live and active cultures. Pasteurization kills all bacteria -- bad and good.
Continuing to take probiotics after using antibiotics will help repopulate beneficial microbes in your digestive system These microbes help you absorb the nutrients from your food and can strengthen your immune system. Although acidophilus and GG help with the side effects of antibiotics, there are hundreds of different strains of beneficial bacteria. Taking a general supplement that includes a variety of probiotc microorganisms will restore your body's natural balance and ensure proper digestion while boosting your immune system, which can help prevent future illness.