Sometimes it’s necessary to bring the big guns when you’re feeling icky, but it doesn’t always take a high-powered drug to help you feel better. Probiotics – from supplements to fortified foods – can play an important role in helping us feel our best.
“Probiotics take what our body considers to be good bacteria and put it into the stomach and small and large intestines,” says Reggie Lyell, MD, a family medicine specialist with Baptist Health Medical Group Family Medicine in Corydon.
When digestive enzymes are out of whack from stress, lack of sleep or other factors, probiotics “throw it back into a more positive balance,” Dr. Lyell said. That can cut down on bloating, nausea, cramping, and diarrhea.
Dr. Lyell said patients often ask whether to use a probiotic or antibiotic. “When you have a properly diagnosed infection that’s a bacterial infection, probiotics are not a substitute for an antibiotic,” he said. Or remember it this way: Probiotics are for staying well, and antibiotics are for fighting confirmed bacterial infections.
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