We're all familiar with antibiotics and their intended goal: to kill the harmful bacteria which cause illness. But, the use of antibiotics creates a conundrum because they do not discriminate between harmful and beneficial bacteria; and, because of their unselective nature, antibiotics also kill the beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tract too. This has the potential to cause other issues such as, diarrhea, upset stomach, or lowered intestinal immunity.
Many professionals recommend that their patients take a probiotic when prescribed an antibiotic to replenish and restore the lost beneficial bacteria. Studies show that probiotics reduce instances of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and reduce the risk of subsequent infections. Likewise, when probiotics are reintroduced and restored within your digestive system, studies show that issues such as intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation can diminish. In addition, probiotics can minimize the overall disruption of your digestive tract.
However, this comes with a caveat. Probiotics must be taken apart from the antibiotic so that they are not killed by the antibiotic. Usually three or four hours between your probiotic and antibiotic will be sufficient. This methodology is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from Lyme disease or autism and have been prescribed potent, long-term antibiotics.
Even patients on short-term antibiotic regimens who use probiotics have been found to be positively affected. What many people do not realize is that much of our immunity begins in the intestines and that probiotics are the "police" that keep many infections from occurring. When their numbers are depleted by antibiotic use, it can leave us open to potentially worse invaders. Post-antibiotic regimen, it is beneficial to continue regular use of a high-strength, quality probiotic for one month after the last antibiotic dose has been taken. Longer is fine too.