Probiotics for Constipation and Better Bowel Movements
Let’s be real, we’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business, going about your day-to-day when suddenly you get the urge. But no matter how much you go, sit, squat, and pray, nothing comes out. If you’re lucky, it happens once in a blue moon but for some of us, it’s a frustratingly regular occurrence.
And the worst part is that you know people who “go” like clockwork everyday without fail as if their digestive system was some kind of well-oiled machine. But don’t despair! Believe it or not, there is hope in the form of probiotics – those supplements made from living microorganisms that offer a host of health benefits including regulating digestion.
Here’s everything you need to know about probiotics for constipation and better bowel movements.
How Probiotics Work
You may be wondering how something as simple as popping a pill can help with such a complex issue but it’s actually not as complicated as you might think. See, our gastrointestinal tracts are home to trillions of bacteria – both good and bad – that play a role in everything from immunity to nutrient absorption. And while most of the time our little buddies work together in harmony, sometimes the bad ones can take over and cause problems like inflammation, infection, and – you guessed it – constipation.
Probiotics work by helping to restore the balance of good bacteria which in turn minimizes digestive issues like constipation. Fun fact: did you know that probiotics are also being studied for their potential to treat other issues like depression, anxiety, skin conditions, and even weight gain?
Probiotic Supplements for Constipation
If you’re looking for a quick fix for your constipation woes then you might want to try a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements come in many forms including capsules, tablets, powders, liquids, and yogurts but they all essentially do the same thing: introduce live microorganisms into your system with the goal of restoring balance to your microbiome (that’s the fancy name for all the bacteria living in your gut). And while more research needs to be done on which strains are most effective for which conditions, generally speaking, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are most effective for treating constipation while Saccharomyces boulardii is best for diarrhea.
Before starting any new supplement regimen – especially one involving live organisms – it’s always important to consult with your healthcare provider first to ensure that it’s safe for you.
Although probiotics are generally considered safe for most people there are some exceptions including pregnant women, young children, those with weakened immune systems (like cancer patients or those undergoing radiation therapy), and those with chronic medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes.
Taking Probiotics with Antibiotics
The latest medical advice on taking probiotics with antibiotics is to absolutely do so. It is highly recommended that you take a good probiotic supplement.
Recommend that patients taking antibiotics also take probiotics, which have been found to be effective both for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) [source]
Additionally, because probiotics are live organisms there is a small risk – albeit very rare – of contracting an infection from consuming them so it’s important to only purchase supplements from reputable sources and take them as directed.
Suffering from chronic constipation can be frustrating and embarrassing but luckily there is something you can do about it! Probiotic supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of constipation by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the gut. And while more research needs to be done on which strains are most effective against which conditions, generally speaking Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are good choices for constipation while Saccharomyces boulardii is best for diarrhea. So next time you’re feeling backed up give probiotics a try – your gut will thank you!