When you're fighting a bacterial infection, antibiotics not only attack the bad bacteria, but also can destroy some of your body's good bacteria, too. While your prescription medication is working hard to make you feel better, it can also cause unpleasant side effects, like diarrhea or a yeast infection.
Probiotics work to help alleviate those side effects and may shorten the duration of your symptoms. In their natural form, probiotics are living microorganisms found in healthy bodies and certain foods. You can also get them from dietary supplements.1,2 Not only are probiotics good for your gut, they are also beneficial for immune, urinary, and vaginal health.3,4 Here's how probiotics help you stay balanced, especially when you're on an antibiotic.
Antibiotics impact your digestive system.
As antibiotics kill off bad bacteria, they also reduce the bacteria that balance the body’s digestive system. For those who may suffer from an upset stomach or more serious gastrointestinal conditions, there’s evidence that some probiotics help you avoid antibiotic-associated diarrhea, infection-induced diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.1 These friendly bacteria inhibit pathogens, or disease-causing germs.1 But even those not on antibiotics can benefit from probiotic foods and supplements to help balance gut bacteria.3,4
Antibiotics can bring on vaginal infections.
A healthy vagina contains various microorganisms, including lactobacillus—the most common kind of good bacteria. Found naturally in the vagina, lactobacilli play a role in stopping bad, disease-causing bacteria that can lead to infections, including bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and STDs.5 For certain vaginal infections, your doctor may prescribe medications, which can cause pH levels in the vagina to fluctuate.6 Taking a daily probiotic like Florajen Women, with 15 billion live cultures, can help maintain a healthy vaginal flora and pH.
Keeping active cultures chilled can lengthen their shelf life.
Probiotics are live bacteria that naturally die off at a faster rate when left at room temperatures. To get the most out of a probiotic while taking an antibiotic, try a refrigerated one. Refrigeration keeps flora-replenishing cultures alive longer. Many over-the-counter probiotic supplements are sold unrefrigerated in the vitamin or digestive aisle, so you could end up with a cell count that can change over time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about a refrigerated brand like Florajen Probiotics, which is kept cold from the time of manufacture through time of purchase at the store. This helps maintain its potency so you can be sure you’re getting a consistent cell count with every serving.
A probiotic supplement can replenish the same bacteria strains found naturally in the body.
When scanning the label of a probiotic supplement, look for strains that you'd find in a healthy body. These naturally occurring cultures promote digestive and vaginal health, and they may have broader health benefits.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, found in Florajen Women and Florajen Kids, is a probiotic strain that can help prevent and treat gastrointestinal infections and shorten the duration of acute diarrhea in adults and children.3
Lactobacillus acidophilus may also help prevent and treat diarrhea,7 symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like pain and bloating8,9 and vaginal infections.5 It also supports the immune system.3
Bifidobacterium lactis occurs naturally both in the body and in dairy foods. This bowel-moving strain is used in probiotic supplements, including Florajen Digestion, to help relieve constipation and help stools pass more easily.10,11,12
Bifidobacterium longum is a strain that has been used to treat patients with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory disease of the colon.13
You can combine probiotic foods with a daily supplement while on an antibiotic.
Looking for foods that’ll help you stay balanced, even while on an antibiotic? You can get probiotics naturally from foods like fermented soft cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, kefir (a milky, fermented probiotic beverage), and yogurt.14 While it’s gut-smart to add these foods to your diet, you may also want to add a probiotic supplement containing billions of cultures like Florajen, as probiotic-rich foods are sometimes not enough. Ask your pharmacist about Florajen, found in the pharmacy refrigerator.