Dr. Starpoli's Blog

Should You Be Taking Probiotics for IBS?

Posted by Rachel Jones on Apr 9, 2014 11:27:00 AM

Celiac disease sufferers are often advised to go on a low-gluten diet. However, even after the dietary changes, sometimes the disease remains unresponsive. In fact, celiac disease that is unresponsive has been implicated in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) leading to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you’re already taking steps to reduce gluten in the diet and it’s still not working, what other options do you have to treat symptoms like SIBO and IBS? Luckily, you can still take advantage of probiotics to help balance the intestinal flora by creating a supportive environment in the gut.

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How do probiotics help with IBS?

Probiotics are bacteria that are usually naturally present in the intestine. However, the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut can be thrown out of kilter when the body is straining under other factors, like celiac disease. Then, the bad bacteria can overcome the good ones and you end up with SIBO and IBS. To get the harmony back, you have to introduce probiotics, which are naturally-occurring bacteria, back into the body via food or health supplements.

How to include probiotics in the diet

If you want to try probiotics, it’s a fairly simple process. All you have to do is look for foods that contain good bacteria species, like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Yogurt is a food that contains Lactobaccillus and can be added to diet quite easily, just make sure it says it contains "live cultures." Other dairy products are also helpful to include different probiotics into the diet. However, some people are also lacto-intolerant and can’t really use dairy products. Lacto-intolerant people still have the option of including probiotics into the diet via acidophilus tablets. By taking one tablet a day, an individual can gradually help to balance the flora in the gut without any additional dietary changes.

yogurt    woman-eating-pill[1]

When to Avoid Probiotics

If your immune system is already severely compromised, you should wait until you are in better health to take probiotics. They will introduce live organisms into the body and those with cancer or weakened immune systems may not be able to handle them well. If you take them with a weakened immune system, you can end up getting infections instead of clearing your SIBO symptoms. Thus, they are powerful medicines that must be taken with some caution, even though they are all-natural and safe in most instances.

Additional Information:

Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

IBS / Constipation

Lactose Intolerance

IBS, gluten, SIBO, Probiotics, dietary suggestions