You wake up feeling half dead, and you just know it’s not an average cold.
When you finally drag yourself to the doctor’s office, he takes one look at your charts and immediately prescribes an antibiotic. Within a few days of faithfully taking those prescribed pills, you feel better. By the end of the week, you’re feeling nearly completely recovered.
Well, not quite. Antibiotics may work like magic – in many cases, they can mean the difference between life and death – but while you’re fighting off that infection, those little pills can wreak havoc on your gut with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating.
Fortunately, you can counter the side effects of antibiotics naturally, experiencing the benefits with minimized discomfort by taking a good probiotic. Here are some of the most common side effects, and how you can benefit from taking probiotics.
If you’ve ever played Oregon Trail, you’re likely familiar with the dangerous nature of this symptom. Diarrhea is not only disruptive, it can be dangerous. Left untreated, you lose valuable nutrients and water, and run the risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished. It’s important to treat this right away, and probiotics have been proven to reduce antibiotic-induced diarrhea.
In fact, if you begin taking probiotics before you take antibiotics, then you can reduce your risk of developing diarrhea to 42% – an even greater reason to take probiotics daily. An already healthy gut will have a better chance of fighting this ailment.
Part of the reason your stomach feels so tumultuous is due to the antibiotics actually working. However, they work more like a flamethrower against an infection and less like a precision marksman. Meaning they take out all bacteria – good or bad – in your gut. Scientists have discovered that it’s helpful to take probiotics even during the time when you’re downing those antibiotics. Yes, some of the good bacteria will be killed in the process, but the overall result will be beneficial – and your stomach should feel much more even-keeled. A comprehensive review by the Cochrane Collaboration actually found that probiotics “cut stomach upsets by one day,” which is great news for those of us dealing with a queasy gut.
Raise your hand if you don’t mind being bloated? Oh, that’s right. No one enjoys struggling to fit into their favorite pair of jeans. Bloating can be an issue when you take antibiotics, and probiotics are famous for eradicating “dysbiosis” (a fancy word for an imbalance of good and bad bacteria). Bloating, flatulence – none of it is pleasant, but thankfully, just by taking a high quality probiotic, you probably won’t have to buy new jeans.
So there you have it. Assuming your antibiotics do their job, you’ll be back to 100% in no time – and in the meantime, make sure you take your probiotics to ensure a smooth healing process. Your gut will thank you!
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