You have probably heard of probiotics for constipation before, but don’t understand their significance. They are often referred to as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria. Probiotics are live bacteria that are often put forward as having some real health benefits. They are usually added to everyday consumable products like yogurt. They are beneficial in restoring the balance of good vs bad bacteria in your stomach and intestines when you are unwell. It is no surprise to learn then that probiotics may be an effective tool in the arsenal to fight constipation. Supermarkets and drug stores alike often boast of the benefits of probiotics, citing Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. These are two of the most common types of bacteria found in products to fight constipation. This article will help you identify whether constipation is the problem, and if so, why probiotics can be an effective solution.
Constipation is a term used to describe the struggle in your stomach to produce a bowel movement. When you find it abnormally difficult to pass stool or the stool is hard, dry or larger than usual, then you are probably constipated. Constipation is a problem that millions of people suffer from every day. 14% of adults are said to suffer silently with it. It is important to get treated though as it affects a significant bodily function. It is essential to combat constipation, and that is where probiotics will come in shortly. But first, let us identify the symptoms of constipation to ensure you are about to wage war on the right problem.
Symptoms of constipation
Fortunately, it is straightforward to identify whether you are suffering from constipation. If you are not passing stools three times a week, then you are probably constipated. If the stool you are passing is either hard, dry or lumpy, then this too could be a sign of constipation. The last thing to look out for is discomfort and pain when passing a stool. If it is uncomfortable and larger than usual, then that too is your body signaling to you that it is constipated. There is also research that shows people have reported stomach aches and feeling bloated as well. The first step to effective treatment is identifying the problem. Probiotics for Constipation can be an effective way to combat the problem and return your body to its normal, healthy state.
The science behind probiotics for constipation
Most of us know probiotics for constipation are used because they promote good bacteria. But, what do they do and why does that make them useful? When you are unwell, you take antibiotics. What people often don’t realize is that when you take antibiotics, you lose some of your ‘good’ bacteria. Those bacteria are an important layer of your defense against illness and infection. They can be easily outnumbered by the ‘bad’ bacteria. Probiotics work by replacing those lost ‘good’ bacteria. This balances your good vs. bad bacteria and keeps your body at a more stable level and less vulnerable to an attack of harmful bacteria.
Unfortunately, it is not quite as straightforward as that. Different types of probiotics aid different bodily functions. There are two main types of probiotics for constipation. Lactobacillus is the most common. This is what is found in your fermented products. It is thought to help digest lactose. Anything that assists in digestion is good for constipation. Bifidobacterium is the other common one to look out for. This is found in many dairy products. Both forms of bacteria are found in the lining of our intestines. So probiotics bolster the number of these to help you break down and move food through your gut. They provide your body with the ammunition to process the food and transport it from your stomach to the toilet. They are best thought of as a catalyst to the digestive process.
Why probiotics for constipation?
Americans alone spend three-quarters of a billion dollars each year trying to ease the blockages in their bowels. However, despite the incredible sum spent nearly half report dissatisfaction with over the counter products such as laxatives that are supposed to relieve the problem. So the first and obvious reason why probiotics are the right route to go down is that another medication is simply not as effective as it needs to be. Plus, using probiotics for constipation is an idea that is gaining weight amongst the scientific community even though they are more commonly seen as a way to firm stool they are more of a mediator to all around digestion and should be seen as versitile for any condition.
What does the research say?
There has been evidence that illustrates the success of probiotics for constipation. A well-established research group ran a clinical trial on the efficacy of probiotics against constipation. The results are difficult to argue with. The trial consisted of giving one group suffering with constipation and then gave the other group a placebo. The results found that the probiotic group’s bowel movement increased by 1.3 and all reported softening of the stool. If the evidence alone isn’t enough, Dr. Allan Walker from the Harvard Medical School publicly supported the use of probiotics for constipation, stating he believes they will be an effective tool to overcome a plight suffered by millions across the world.
Another study in 2012 took a group of 20 pregnant women with constipation and investigated the success of probiotics in relieving their symptoms. The results were promising. The conclusion was that probiotics were effective in relieving constipation. More specifically, the participants reported increased stool frequency and a decreased feeling of bowel obstruction. They also reported a reduction in stomach pain and rectal discomfort. It is important this trial was carried out on pregnant women. It demonstrates the natural makeup of probiotics in comparison with drugs. Probiotics are a completely safe product to take even when pregnant and it was still effective in solving their problem.
1. Bifidobacterium Lactis
This is the probiotic for constipation most people try, and the most research has been done into. The particular strain of BB-12 has seen fantastic results when used in a trial with elderly patients suffering from constipation. It has also seen success in treating IBS sufferers.
B. lactis DN-173 010 is another favorite strain being used in probiotics for constipation. It boasts results from one of the largest double-blind studies into constipation that has taken place. It is also worth noting this type of double-blind study is considered the gold standard of trials. In this trial of 267, the frequency of stools significantly increased, illustrating the potential for probiotics for constipation in the future.
2. Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus
Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus is the other of the leading probiotics for constipation worth touching upon. Its results have not been quite as compelling as those of Bifidobacterium. Having said that, a pilot study did find an increase in bowel movements amongst adults. As well as finding a host of other health benefits not related to constipation. The only issue is, it has been found to have limited success in improving constipation in children. More studies are needed to conclusively prove whether they can be of no benefit to children, but for now, it looks like children may be better off trying alternative probiotics for constipation.
So you’ve made the leap and decided probiotics are a course of action worth pursuing. How much should you be taking and at what intervals? Firstly, you should know can get probiotics in a whole host of food products such as yogurts and kefir. But you can also get probiotics in supplement form. For adults, it is suggested you take somewhere between 1 billion to 10 billion organisms. You should take these at 3 or 4 intervals throughout the day. The advantage of taking it in several intervals is that you are providing your body with a consistent supply, so your good bacteria levels never drop too low. For children, the recommended dose is lower. It is suggested by dieticians they should consume somewhere between a quarter to a half of the adult dosage.
How fast can you expect results?
The science behind probiotics for constipation put simply; is the installment of good bacteria in your intestinal tract. Those bacteria then multiply to outnumber the bad bacteria, your health is restored and your ailment reduced. To know how long before results should occur depends on the time it takes the bacteria to reach the intestines and how many get through successfully through the intestinal acidic environment. It ‘s hard to give a precise time because everyone’s bodies react slightly differently. However, it is thought that for the two most common probiotic strains aforementioned that their numbers double in just two to three hours. This means you can start to feel better the same day you start taking them. Probiotic supplements often work the fastest as they are combined with amino acids and ascorbic acids. These allow the probiotics to work even more quickly than if you were to consume probiotics in food. So if you want the swiftest acting probiotics to look for the ones that contain lyophilized bacteria.
People are astutely aware of the dangers of taking too much medication. People know they accept a level of risk when they take over the counter medicine. There may well be side effects. Side effects that can often be pretty serious. Ignoring the possibilities of an allergic reaction to a constipation drug can be dangerous. The list of side effects for some of these constipation medications is longer than the Nile. To name just a few…. stomach cramps, rectal irritation, electrolyte imbalance and excessive gas. None of which make for a stress-free day at the office. Using probiotics for constipation though means you do not have to worry about almost any side effects(a small part of the population does report some added gas). Probiotics by their very nature are naturally good bacteria. They are not there to hit your body with an unexpected freight train, they work by naturally restoring the balance of bacteria by just bolstering the number of good bacteria already present. Probiotics are widely regarded as safe. You can experiment with them to tackle the problem without the worry of unwanted side effects.
We each have a different biological makeup. Our bodies work in slightly different ways and respond differently to medication and probiotics alike. What may be effective in one person is not always as effective for the next person. Finding the right probiotic strain that works for you is important. Because of this, it is recommended that you do your research. But then be willing to experiment with probiotics to find the right one. It may well be that some strains aren’t effective, but then you try one which is slightly more under the radar but completely does the job in relieving your constipation. So be patient you may just need to try a couple of different strains before finding the right one for you. But you can sleep easy knowing they are all good for you and none of them will pose a health risk.
Probiotics are a growing solution to end the suffering that millions of people suffer from daily. More people suffer from constipation than diarrhea. While before people have turned to over the counter medication like laxatives, these can have unpleasant side effects. Probiotics offer a naturally occurring remedy to ease your bowels. They only reinforce the good bacteria that are already present in your body. An increasing number of trials have demonstrated promising results in combatting one of life’s most embarrassing problems. The benefits are twofold. Firstly, you don’t need to worry about adverse side effects. But secondly, you can get relief in just a few hours. There are some different probiotic strains you can try; we have focused on the most common two today. But different probiotics work for different people. The supplement form of probiotics used for constipation has safe ingredients that can get the probiotic working even faster than if you consume it through your food. They are overall a safe and viable solution to fight constipation and one that is worth exploring.