How Can Probiotics For Constipation Help
Probiotics, or good bacteria, are bacteria species that we consume for their health benefits. Probiotics are capable of improving the health of your gut microbiome and can fight harmful microorganisms [6
Research shows that the beneficial bacteria in probiotic supplements can help with chronic constipation. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown that probiotics:
- Significantly improve stool frequency [10
Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 18 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. Since the prevalence of bacterial overgrowths like SIBO increases with age , this may be a factor in the differences between adults and children when it comes to the success of using probiotics for constipation.
As a result of balancing gut microorganisms, probiotics also reduce inflammation .
How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis
Probiotics Can Cause Gas
The most common negative side effect of probiotics is mild gas and bloating. This usually happens when you first begin taking probiotics but usually gets better with use.
What causes gas and bloating? Gas and bloating means that your digestive system is not breaking down and absorbing your food completely. The undigested food gets passed into the gut where probiotics and other gut microbes ferment the undigested food and produce gas.
The feeling of bloating is usually because your body is not used to the increased probiotic activity. Taking a probiotic can increase the number of probiotics inside your gut. This increased microbial activity produces additional gas which your body is not used to.
After the initial period , your body should gradually adapt to the new friendly bacteria, allowing for improved digestion.
If your gas and bloating do not get better while taking probiotics there are two things you can do:
1. Try taking a digestive enzymes supplement along with your probiotics to help your body break down, digest, and absorb food. More complete digestion helps reduce gas and bloating.
2. Try taking the probiotics on an empty stomach before bed. Probiotics can produce gas when provided with certain kinds of foods and taking probiotics before bed minimizes the chance of that happening.
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Other Treatments For Ibs
Probiotics are far from the only treatment thats effective for IBS symptoms. Other helpful methods for addressing IBS exist, such as:
- Regular exercise
- Quality sleep
When treating IBS, you first need to know the underlying cause. Talk with an integrative specialist about diagnosing the root cause of your IBS, which could be parasites, low vagal tone, hormone imbalance, or even food poisoning.
Who Shouldn’t Take Probiotics
People with Compromised Immune SystemsAlthough probiotics benefit the immune system, they can potentially pose a danger to people in the following circumstance:1. If a person has a compromised immune systems2. AND they have an open IV or central line 3. AND they are being administered probiotics in powder form.
According to one review article, persons who have the highest risk when taking probiotics are immunosuppressed or are premature infants
Minor risks include having a central venous catheter, having an impaired intestinal barrier, cardiac valvular disease, and those simultaneously taking a broad spectrum antibiotic to which the probiotic is resistant, and taking probiotics via a jejestomy tube.
The authors of the review article recommended that probiotics be used with caution if there is one major risk and one minor risk.13
If you have a weakened immune system you should consult your physician before taking a probiotic supplement.
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How Long Will It Take For Probiotics To Work For Constipation
Thats hard to say. Everybody is different, and so are the underlying causes of constipation. The duration of studies showing the efficacy of probiotics generally spanned four weeks to ninety days.
Even though research cant give us a definitive answer, many people report feeling better within hours or days of taking a high-quality, multi-strain supplement.
Depending on whats causing your sluggish digestion in the first place, you may be able to take actions that support probiotics in their effort to balance your microbiota.
For example, if you experience irritable bowel syndrome constipation and dont eat much soluble fiber, adding more fiber into your diet could help rebalance your digestion as well as support your probiotics impact.
Being more active is another way to keep your bowels moving. If you can move a little more, you may have faster results. Of course, this isnt possible for everyone.
Another important thing to keep in mind is probiotics do more for your body than just help maintain regular digestion. So while its not possible to make a blanket statement as to how long they take to start working on your constipation, chances are you could quickly start feeling the health benefits of probiotics in other ways.
How Do You Know If You Have Ibs
IBS is characterized by regularly occurring abdominal pain for at least one day per week for three months, as well as any two of the following symptoms:
- pain when having bowel movement,
- change in frequency of bowel movement
- change in stool appearance
The exact cause of IBS remains uncertain. However, the condition has been associated with changes in digestive motility, bacterial imbalance, infection, brain-gut interactions, food allergies, intestinal inflammation, and carbohydrate malabsorption.
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How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You
Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.
They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.
If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.
Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.
Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.
Cic Diagnosis: The Rome Iv Criteria For Functional Constipation Constipation
FGIDs and bowel disorders , according to the Rome IV diagnostic criteria, result from improper gut-brain interactions. FGIDs and BDs are currently defined as a group of disorders classified by gastrointestinal symptoms related to any combination of: i) motility disturbances, ii) visceral hypersensitivity, iii) altered mucosal and immune function, iv) gut microbiome, and/or v) central nervous system processing . The Rome IV criteria introduced a modern definition of functional manifestation of the disease on the basis of its pathophysiology rather that its non-organic cause .
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Probiotics For Constipation: Does It Work
Though it has a lot of benefits, probiotics have always been associated with gut health and for a good reason. Several studies have proven its efficacy in diarrhea and other digestive issues. But the all-important question thats probably on your mind right now is: will probiotics work for constipation?
Though the evidence remains inconclusive, several studies prove that probiotics can help ease constipation. For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2014 say that probiotics can improve stool consistency and increase its frequency by 1.3 bowel movements per week. It also found that probiotics help reduce intestinal transit time. Harvard Medical School even evaluated this review and agreed with most of the findings in it.
So what do these all mean?
Intestinal transit time refers to how long it takes for the gut to digest the foods you eat. Those suffering from constipation often have longer intestinal transit times than healthy people. Constipated people also suffer from hard, lumpy stools that are difficult to pass. Improving the stools consistency will make pooping easier and less painful. It can also lead to an improved stool frequency and a more regular bowel movement. In short, probiotics do work against constipation.
But to understand more about how probiotics help fight constipation, lets first take a look at what causes it.
How Probiotics Help With Constipation
Before getting on with how probiotics help relieve constipation, it must be understood that they are not a magic bullet for curing constipation. A lot of factors go into maintaining digestive regularity, such as following a balanced and healthy diet rich in dietary fiber and whole foods, drinking plenty of water every day and staying moderately active.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that improve the balance of intestinal flora and help to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders such as diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, etc. Our intestine is home to billions of bacteria which includes both good and bad bacteria. Various factors such as taking antibiotics or following a low-fiber high-sugar diet can lead to an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut which in turn leads to digestive disorders such as constipation.
Probiotics help with constipation in many ways
Another study involving children with constipation was published in the Nutrition Journal. In this study 20 children aged 4-16 experiencing constipation were given a probiotic mixture on a daily basis for a period of four weeks. It has seen that many children had more frequent bowel movements when taking the probiotic mixture.
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Probiotics For Gut Health
Having a healthy number of probiotics can support your gut health and help to protect you from digestive discomfort and problems. A healthy gut can have far-reaching benefits and could help to protect against or improve several health conditions.
High probiotic levels may:
Despite the promising results of many studies, research into probiotics for gut health and overall health often reveals mixed results and in many areas is limited. If you have a digestive health concern, seek the advice of your pharmacist or doctor. They may suggest treatments that have been proven to work in more thorough scientific clinical trials.
Free Of Artificial And Harmful Ingredients
Avoid any supplement that contains harmful ingredients like preservatives, binders, chemicals, fillers, artificial colors, flavors and blenders. Prefer supplements that have naturally extracted probiotics. If you are allergic to some ingredients then make sure the product you choose doesnt contain any of them.
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What We Dislike About The Probiotic Supplement
While probiotics are generally safe to use for most people, some may experience side effects when taking Align.
Symptoms that you could experience when taking Align products include bloating, gas, and upset stomachs.
If you feel bloated or experience abdominal discomfort while taking Align, discontinue use until you can talk to your doctor who can provide medical advice.
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Best Psyllium Fiber Supplement
As for specific products, back in the day I started off with Metamucil, which was pretty much the only game in town at the time. I even used the flavored kind. Bad idea. Too many chemicals and artificial ingredients for my taste.
I have long since moved on to a brand with which I have grown very familiar and satisfied with: Organic India Whole Husk Psyllium Powder.
I like the fact it has one ingredient: Whole husk psyllium.
That keeps things simple.
It is also completely flavorless and relatively inexpensive. And of course, organic, as the name implies.
One thing to note about consuming psyllium powder in its pure form. It does have an odd texture. I just mix it with water and down it within seconds. Leave it too long and it gels up rather quickly. Even if you mix it with something else such as a smoothie, I would not recommend you wait too long to drink it.
The powder version is not for everyone, of course, but there is an alternative. Now brands Psyllium Husk Caps.
While I dont consume these personally, I am familiar with the brand and use and trust their products. Their ingredient list adds two components to the psyllium husk powder: Stearic acid, a long-chain fatty acid found in palm oil, coconut oil and other natural food sources and used as a flow agent, and cellulose, a non-digestible wood pulp derivative for the capsule.
Thats an admirably short and inoffensive list for a capsuled product.
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What Are Probioticsand What Do They Do
Probiotics are live bacteria that can positively affect your digestive system.
When we think of bacteria, we often think of germs that can make you sick. Your body is chock-full of bacteriaand most of it is completely harmless.
In fact, having the right gut bacteria in appropriate amounts is linked to all sorts of health benefits.
People take probiotic supplements or consume probiotic-rich foods to try to achieve a healthy balance of helpful gut bacteria.
Probiotics are found in foods that have been preserved through fermentation. Some fermented, probiotic-rich foods and drinks you may be familiar with are:
The probiotics in these foods shouldnt be confused with prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that feed the good bacteria thats already in your gut.
Klean Athlete Klean Probiotic
If youre looking for a high quality probiotic that packs a serious punch, this product from Klean Athlete is worth a try.
It contains 15 billion CFU and 8 strains of beneficial bacteria, including some that could be particularly useful for the treatment of gas, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.
According to one study, taking Lactobacillus acidophilus for 8 weeks significantly improved gas and overall symptoms of IBS in 80 people .
Its also vegetarian, non-GMO, and free of artificial ingredients and gluten.
Whats more, its NSF Certified for Sport, meaning its been tested to ensure its free of banned substances for athletes.
However, note that this supplement also contains prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Although prebiotics may be beneficial for some people, research is mixed on how they may impact IBS symptoms (
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Prebiotics For Constipation: The Evidence
Unlike probiotics, research shows that prebiotics are consistently helpful for improving bowel regularity.
A meta-analysis looked at results of 27 studies about prebiotics ability to improve constipation symptoms. It also inspected synbiotics ability to improve constipation symptoms, which are combinations of probiotics and prebiotics.
They found that prebiotics alone increase weekly stool frequency and improve stool consistency .
Combining prebiotics AND probiotics together may be the best bet of all. When combined, prebiotics and probiotics are referred to as synbiotics.Synbiotics, however, seem to be even more effective than prebiotics alone.
Most notably, synbiotics were shown to decrease whole gut transit time by 13.5 hours on average meaning you could dramatically ramp up your stool passage frequency.
Synbiotics also were also shown to improve stool consistencyand decrease bloating and pain with stool passage.
When it comes to specific prebiotics that may be helpful, one prebiotic superstar stands out among the bunch Sunfiber.
Sunfiber is repeatedly shown in scientific studies to reduce constipation, increase regularity , reduce abdominal pain with stool passage, and soften stools . Even low doses can have these effects.
One study asserted that Sunfiber is a credible candidate to be a single comprehensive solutionfor overall maintenance of proper digestive health . Thats some pretty high praise!
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What Causes Constipation
Youve probably heard about common lifestyle-related causes of constipation, like not drinking enough water or eating enough fiber. But if youve got the lifestyle component down pat and youre still having trouble, your constipation might be stemming from something else.
That something else could very well be dysbiosis – an imbalance of the bacteria in your microbiome. Hold on folks, were getting science-y for a second here:
The term microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. Dont freak out at microorganisms — its normal and healthy to have bacteria living within your gut!
The bacteria in your gut help the body regulate the immune system, digest food, and even create vitamins. Helpful kinds of bacteria are called, in laymans terms, good bacteria.
But bad bacteria exist too. Too much bad bacteria in your gut can wreak havoc on your digestion.
If you have more badbacteria than good bacteria, you have an imbalanced microbiome — which we call in fancy science terms, dysbiosis. Constipation may be a side effect of that imbalance.
If only there was a way you could push out bad bacteria and increase good bacteria, thereby rebalancing your gut microbiome…
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