Probiotics, beneficial yeasts or bacteria, address the imbalance of organisms in the intestinal tract that result from diarrhea. Under normal conditions, the intestines host millions of beneficial bacteria, and the use of probiotics attempts to bring the population back to its former stasis, according to WebMD.
The effect that probiotics have on diarrhea varies with the cause of the diarrhea. For children whose diarrhea is the result of rotavirus, probiotics can shorten the period of infectious diarrhea by a half day to two days, depending on the patient. Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii are the three most helpful strains of bacteria to include in a probiotics regimen for this type of patient, as stated by WebMD.
Traveler's diarrhea, or diarrhea stemming from low-quality water or food while on the road, often lasts a month, and it appears to be largely resistant to probiotics, according to WebMD. Diarrhea that results from an infection caused by C. difficile bacteria leads to colitis, a type of inflammation in the colon, accompanied by diarrhea that can be life threatening. Probiotics guard the intestinal tract against this germ, and for people who have experienced colitis, probiotics have helped some people get rid of the condition without recurrence. Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus plantarum appear to be more effective than other probiotics against this form of diarrhea, according to WebMD.