Do Probiotics Make You Poop?
Probiotics can help improve gut health and digestion by aiding in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Probiotics may also produce enzymes that help digest food. Scientific studies suggest that probiotics can be helpful in reducing symptoms of digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (1). So do probiotics make you poop? In many cases, yes! Let's find out why.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, or “active cultures”, that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. These helpful bacteria help keep the gut healthy. They are available in supplements, as well as in certain foods such as yogurt, kiefer, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Probiotics have several health benefits, including improving the balance of bacteria in the gut, aiding in digestion, supporting vaginal health for women, and supporting the immune system. Some studies suggest that probiotics can help with certain digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Probiotics may also have a role in preventing certain types of infections.
Can Probiotics Cause Constipation
Constipation can be caused by a number of things, including intolerance to dairy, GI issues, dietary choices, and many other issues.
Since probiotics, and probiotics containing drinks like kombucha, act in the gut, the consumption of probiotics can vary depending on the person, what their diet is like, and what their exercise habits are.
In most cases probiotics do not cause constipation, and many people find that probiotics will cause the opposite, a more easy time pooping.
Do Probiotics Help With Constipation
Do probiotics make you poop? One of the many benefits of probiotics is the positive role they play in digestion and gut health. This can lead to helping with constipation in a few different ways:
- Modulating the gut microbiota: Probiotics can help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which can improve bowel function and help to prevent constipation.
- Increasing bowel movement frequency: Some probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have been shown to increase the frequency of bowel movements in people with constipation.
- Increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids: Probiotics can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which can help to soften stools and make them easier to pass.
- Reducing inflammation: Some probiotics have anti-inflammatory effects, which help reduce inflammation in the gut and improve bowel function.
Probiotics Side Effects
Probiotic bacteria have become increasingly popular during the last two decades as a result of the continuously expanding scientific evidence pointing to their beneficial effects on human health. As a result they have been applied as various products with the food industry having been very active in studying and promoting them.
Within this market the probiotics have been incorporated in various products, mainly fermented dairy foods. In light of this ongoing trend and despite the strong scientific evidence associating these microorganisms to various health benefits, further research is needed in order to establish them and evaluate their safety as well as their nutritional aspects.
One potential issue that can arise is the obvious one, pooping too much, or diarrhea. At normal doses this is uncommon, but worth keeping in mind if you've had issues in the past with diarrhea.
Probiotics For Children After Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a common treatment for children, with 11% to 40% of antibiotic-treated children developing diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) results from an imbalance in the colonic microbiota caused by antibiotic therapy. These microbial community alterations result in changes in carbohydrate metabolism, with decreased short-chain fatty acid absorption and osmotic diarrhea as a result. A 2015 Cochrane review concluded that a protective effect of some probiotics existed for AAD in children.
The known risks of using probiotics for treating Clostridium difficile outweighs the uncertain benefits.
Probiotic treatment might reduce the incidence and severity of AAD as indicated in several meta-analyses. For example, treatment with probiotic formulations including L. rhamnosus may reduce the risk of AAD, improve stool consistency during antibiotic therapy, and enhance the immune response after vaccination.
The potential efficacy of probiotics to treat AAD depends on the probiotic strains and dosage. One review recommended for children L. rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii (commonly found in probiotic gummies) at 1 to 40 billion colony-forming units/day, given the modest number needed to treat and the likelihood that adverse events are very rare. The same review stated that probiotic use should be avoided in pediatric populations at risk for adverse events, such as severely debilitated or immune-compromised children.