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How do probiotics prevent diarrhea?

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Quick Answer

Probiotics prevent diarrhea by keeping the intestines healthy and replacing microbes in the stomach that are stripped by the presence of diarrhea, according to WebMD. Probiotics are essentially healthy yeasts or bacteria, but not all probiotics prevent or help diarrhea.

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Full Answer

Probiotics have been known to reduce infectious diarrhea by half a day, notes WebMD. Some of the most helpful strains of probiotics include Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii. Mixing different types of probiotics has also been known to be effective in treating diarrhea.

It's also best for individuals to take probiotics before taking antibiotics and while taking antibiotics since antibiotics can cause diarrhea, says WebMD. The danger antibiotics pose to the digestive system is they destroy good bacteria in addition to bad bacteria. Roughly 10 to 30 percent of individuals who take antibiotics experience diarrhea.

Lactobacillus acidophilus, S. boulardii and Bifidobacteria bifidum are probiotics that travelers can take to avoid experiencing diarrhea from consuming bad water or food in a foreign country, according to WebMD. Travelers who do experience diarrhea in a foreign country can suffer for longer than a month.

A variety of probiotics can be found at health foods stores, notes WebMD. Probiotics are often available in yogurts, dairy drinks, capsules and powders.

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