What is the relationship between antibiotics and acidophilus?

Antibiotics can cause stomach upset, bloating, and diarrhea, especially with clindamycin, which can lead to a chronic form of severe diarrhea and colitis. Antibiotics are very good at killing the bacteria in a person's body that cause illness, but sometimes they also kill the "good" bacteria whose job it is to help keep a person healthy. The loss of good bacteria can cause diarrhea. Acidophilus, a type of probiotic, can help lessen the uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects of antibiotics by promoting the growth of good bacteria. This relationship between antibiotics and acidophilus is generally positive for the patient, as it decreases diarrhea, bloating, and stomach upset.

Probiotics like acidophilus can be found in some yogurt products. However, some doctors recommend acidophilus in capsule form so that their patients can get the full benefit of the antibiotics and the acidophilus relationship. Some health experts also have concerns that there aren't as many acidophilus bacteria in the product as there are supposed to be, and that product may also include harmful bacteria.

Taking antibiotics and acidophilus is relatively easy, but the dosages depend on the specific health problem. Both generally come in tablets and capsules and are easy to swallow, with labels that list exactly how many acidophilus bacteria are present. Dosing is easy, and adult patients are advised to take one acidophilus capsule before meals, usually three to four times daily. Some recommendations say that acidophilus should be taken two hours before eating. Some doctors recommend that a patient continue taking acidophilus capsules for several weeks after antibiotic therapy has ended to prevent recurrence of diarrhea. The combination of antibiotics and acidophilus is considered safe for most patients,

Acidophilus is also known as Lactobacillus acidophilus or L. acidophilus . Other types of probiotics in the Lactobacillus family include L. casei and L. bulgaricus . Another type, Lactobacillus GG , is considered useful in treating infectious diarrhea, but not all studies agree. Patients who develop diarrhea while taking antibiotics should tell their doctors, and this is especially recommended for children, who can quickly become dehydrated.

L. acidophilus can be purchased in a number of different forms, in addition to acidophilus-enhanced yogurt and typical over-the-counter capsules. Acidophilus can also be purchased in freeze-dried form as a capsule or powder. Refrigeration of these products is recommended to avoid breakdowns.

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