How do I Use Acidophilus for Diarrhea?

Heather Scoville

Acidophilus is a probiotic, meaning it is a type of bacteria that can be used as a medicine. You can use acidophilus for diarrhea because it secretes chemicals that kill the harmful bacteria that cause it. Acidophilus can be ingested through supplements in the form of capsules or tablets and is also found in yogurt. Anal suppositories may be used to deliver acidophilus for diarrhea.

Sauerkraut contains acidophilus.
Sauerkraut contains acidophilus.

The scientific name for acidophilus is Lactobacillus acidophilus. It gets its name because one of the products of the bacteria is lactate, which is a product of fermentation. Acidophilus also secretes vitamin K. Lactobacillus acidophilus is naturally found in the vagina and intestinal tract in humans.

Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.

Perhaps the most beneficial product of acidophilus is bacteriocin, which is made during the fermentation process. This is the antibiotic that researchers believe relieves the symptoms of diarrhea. Although clinical trials of acidophilus for diarrhea have been inconclusive, symptoms were lessened when acidophilus supplements were used.

Acidophilus capsules are a convenient way to combat diarrhea.
Acidophilus capsules are a convenient way to combat diarrhea.

Acidophilus, when it creates lactic acid, can make its surroundings more acidic. This keeps overgrowth of harmful bacteria down. When you take antibiotics, however, this can kill off the naturally occurring acidophilus in the intestines allowing harmful kinds of bacteria to grow again until the acidophilus levels are restored. Taking an acidophilus supplement while on antibiotics can remedy this situation and prevent illnesses, such as diarrhea.

Probiotic supplements can aid digestive health.
Probiotic supplements can aid digestive health.

Acidophilus should produce no side effects when used by otherwise healthy individuals. Most supplements contain somewhere between 10 million and 1 billion colonies of acidophilus per 1.5 gram dose. These supplements should be used by adults only. Seek professional guidance from a doctor for correct dosages for children.

Anal suppositories may be used to deliver acidophilus for diarrhea.
Anal suppositories may be used to deliver acidophilus for diarrhea.

A different strain of Lactobacillus has been shown to be more effective than acidophilus for diarrhea prevention. Lactobacillus GG, a strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, is another naturally occurring probiotic, which is similar to acidophilus, and can be found in supplement form. The only reported side effects in the study of Lactobacillus GG were stomach discomfort and gas.

Acidophilus is naturally found in the intestinal tract of humans.
Acidophilus is naturally found in the intestinal tract of humans.

For long term digestive health, supplements should be taken regularly. Alternatively, acidophilus can be eaten in fortified milks or yogurts. Check the ingredient label to ensure there are active acidophilus cultures in them. If you are lactose intolerant, look for soy products with added acidophilus, or take supplements.

As with any supplement or medicinal treatment, guidance from a health care professional is advised. Speak with your doctor about correct dosages, possible side effects, and unintended results if you are taking any other types of medications.

Diarrhea typically resolves on its own within one to two days.
Diarrhea typically resolves on its own within one to two days.

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Discussion Comments

SteamLouis

I have ulcerative colitis and have diarrhea often. My doctor told me to use probiotic suppositories. I didn't think that they would work, but they did. I use one that has one billion lactobacilli. With regular use, it prevents diarrhea.

Before I discovered probiotic suppositories, I was using different diarrhea medications that had side effects. The great part about probiotics and acidophilus is that they are natural and I've never had any side effects aside from bloating.

turquoise

@fBoyle-- You might want to try acidophilus capsule supplements instead. Acidophilus yogurt is beneficial too, but I think it's better to start off with capsules while the diarrhea is ongoing. After the diarrhea has resolved, you can help maintain a healthy bowel function with acidophilus yogurt.

Probiotic capsule supplements are more potent and contain more beneficial bacteria. If you can get one that contains several different type of good bacteria, that will be even better.

fBoyle

I've been eating a probiotic acidophilus yogurt everyday for a few weeks now. I have not seen an improvement at all. I still have diarrhea. I don't think these acidophilus products work

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