This is a topic we never want to talk about but a sluggish digestive system with constipation symptoms and stomach pain can really make you feel like you have a digestive disorder when in fact you just may need to supplement with a probiotic supplement. Do probiotics make you poop is a big question people often ask and the main reason people search for probiotics? This pooping issue is often the reason many people visit their doctor’s office.
Probiotics are a popular product today, however, choosing the right strain can be where the confusion lies. There is where your doctor can help you determine the best probiotic for your problem and help you with the question can probiotics make you poop?
The gastrointestinal tract is sometimes referred to as home to trillions of microbes and their genetic makeup commonly known as the gut microbiome.
As many of us have discovered, what we eat and drink can directly affect our gut microbes, particularly foods and supplements categorized as probiotics and prebiotics.
All this talk about probiotics but what are they? Probiotics are live microorganisms that have been shown to be beneficial to our health. They can be found in foods like raw fermented dairy products as well as dietary supplements. Prebiotics are food compounds that microbes use to break down for energy, and they also provide beneficial components like short-chain fatty acids for our body’s health needs.
The gut microbiome is an interesting and popular area of research with so much yet to learn about how probiotics can benefit our overall health.
Our gut microbiome is made up of two main groups of bacteria: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, as well as a smaller number of Fusobacteria, Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Actinobacteria. These microbes are found throughout our digestive tract, however, most of them are located in the large intestine. These types of bacteria along with the other smaller groups of bacteria can vary from person to person making it hard to determine what makes up a healthy microbiome for each individual.
The process of eating and digesting is a very complicated process. As we consume food or drink daily it has to move through our intestinal tract and if we’re eating foods or consuming drinks that do not agree with our digestive tract or we have insufficient bacteria to protect our biome then we can set ourselves up for gut issues.
An example of this might be people who consume a high-fiber diet tend to show higher levels of Prevotella (a member of the Bacteroidetes group), and those with a diet higher in protein and fat have more Bacteroides (Bacteroidetes group). If we’re not aware of what foods agree with our stomach biome then we can create a gut imbalance without realizing it’s happening.
Any time we change our diet to a strict or restricted diet we’re altering our microbiome colony. Because we’re changing our gut bacteria we can also bring on more constipation or upset the stomach due to an imbalance. Water is another problem for many people because when thirsty or constipated they reach for other drinks instead of clean filtered water to hydrate. Now that they are constipated they might reach for probiotics thinking it will solve constipation when in fact drinking more water might be the answer.
The role of probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have been shown to be beneficial for our intestinal health. You may be familiar with probiotics as healthy bacteria and perhaps already using probiotic supplementation for gut-related issues or to help with chronic diseases.
If you’ve walked down a grocery store in the dairy or supplement aisle you might notice a wide variety of products promoting probiotics. There are several foods that naturally contain microbiota or probiotic-rich foods which contain live active bacteria advertised to promote good gut bacteria and help with constipation.
Supplement form probiotics have skyrocketed in sales over the last few years due to many digestive problems such as skin problems, constipation, and health conditions associated with the gut microbiota. The emerging research shows enough evidence on the effects of probiotics, especially when using a targeted probiotic to treat a specific problem can make a huge difference in the biome culture and ease the symptoms of constipation.
Sometimes a variety of probiotics may need to be considered in order to balance probiotics and bring harmony to the gut and aid in constipation complaints. Therefore, probiotics can make you poop, however, the correct strains need to be considered for this to be effective.
The goal of a probiotic dietary supplement is to restore the beneficial bacteria or introduce new bacteria to the gut microbiome. When this balance is accomplished it can help to restore healthy functions in gut microbial communities, to aid in gut inflammation, constipation, and other intestinal diseases. These supplements contain different probiotic strains such as live organisms so by taking probiotics in one dose at certain times you can get high doses of a single probiotic strain or multiple probiotic strains in a pill.
One thing to note is probiotics will make you poop more. Depending on the supplement you take this may contribute to other side effects such as changes in weight, mood, and appetite, therefore, before taking them it’s best to check with your physician because not all probiotics are equal and can affect the gut bacteria differently.
These good bacteria can also support the body in many ways. As an example, when there’s an infection present it usually signals to the body that there are more bad bacteria present so the body can react to this unhealthy bacteria with symptoms, that something is out of balance. In a case like this, a good reason for taking healthy bacteria or probiotics is that it does help eradicate the bad bacteria returning the intestinal balance to its normal state.
Of course, we would like the good bacteria to replenish themselves naturally but sometimes we need a little help to restore the good bacteria hence we reach for probiotics. Probiotics come in a variety of strains so once again knowing the right probiotic to take makes all of the difference in balancing the gut.
Healthy microbes are a vital part of our gut health and help us to digest our food because without them we can’t digest foods high in fiber. Likewise, we also need our microbiome healthy to help with the absorption of nutrients from food and then move the rest through our digestive tract and out as poop. If this process is not optimal for stool consistency your eliminations may become sporadic. This is where consuming probiotics might be a game-changer for some people to support the elimination process.
Another thing to consider when adding probiotics to your diet when you’re constipated or for gut issues is many people already struggle to get enough fiber and whole grains in their diet you may have to start slow when supplementing with probiotics. Some individuals who started supplementing with probiotics reported having constipation when attempting to add fiber and grains too quickly, so be aware of your bowel habits and add these foods slowly. to your diet.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Do you ever wonder why you’re gassy and bloated when starting probiotic-rich foods? The cause of these symptoms could be due to the fact that an intake of probiotic foods, especially if introduced suddenly, can increase gas production (flatulence) and bloat because of the sudden overwhelming population of beneficial bacteria being introduced into the biome.
This can be a huge problem for individuals with gastrointestinal issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS symptoms so be sure to introduce these foods in small amounts to first assess tolerance before consuming high amounts at once. Some IBS patients have noticed improvements in their symptoms when following the advice of a healthcare professional regarding probiotic foods and supplementation on their journey to a better biome.
For people who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome not only can probiotic-rich foods or probiotic supplementation be a challenge but so can adding fermented foods to their diet cause problems for them. With this condition adding foods especially fermented foods or supplements to their dietary routine can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, weekly bowel movements that change, and sometimes more constipation. Once again, check-in with your health care provider to find out where to start with these types of foods.
Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome have found hope by adding probiotics to their diet regime. The same advice goes for pregnant women when considering adding probiotic-rich foods or supplementation to their diet for bowel movement regularity and dealing with constipation complaints, it’s best to follow the advice of your doctor
Probiotic supplementation can be effective to balance the microbiome, however, when it comes to constipation issues no one size fits all. There are many possible reasons for constipation and while there is evidence to show that probiotics can be effective to improve constipation symptoms it’s best to find out why you’re constipated in the first place. For example, if you’ve recently taken antibiotics constipation may be attributed to antibiotic-associated diarrhea and stool consistency. Yes, diarrhea is a form of constipation! If you are taking probiotics after antibiotics to replenish the healthy bacteria it’s important to note that each probiotic strain is different and can affect your bowel movements so make sure you’re taking the right one after antibiotic protocols.
To address your gut health requirements, it’s recommended that you select a strain that has been backed by clinical nutrition studies with a proven health benefit. There are several strains of friendly bacteria that have been shown to be beneficial in helping to support regularity in various clinical studies so find the correct study that addresses your particular need.
If you’re looking for probiotics that help with constipation look for probiotic supplements that contain strains specifically researched for constipation including Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for help with bowel movements and which can help you poop.
According to the researchers, probiotics increased regular bowel movements by 1.3 times. Also, research shows that probiotics helped to reduce the gut transit time by 12.4 hours and relieve constipation and make you poop and digest food easily. Therefore, under the right conditions probiotics work to help you poop and get the bowels moving at a smoother pace.
Perhaps the strongest evidence for probiotics is in treating diarrhea caused by a viral infection, or from taking antibiotics, especially over a long time. Both infection and antibiotics introduce unfriendly bacteria that can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in your digestive system, this is where probiotic benefits can help restore the healthy bacteria in the gut biome and bring about balance.
Not only can diarrhea be a problem for some after antibiotic use or with gut-related issues but the opposite problem can occur also known own as constipation. Constipation is a more common complaint than diarrhea and affects the bowel movements of both adults and children. Americans spend approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars each year on constipation remedies to get relief from this issue.
What about fermented foods? They’re good for us correct? We frequently read or see advertisements that “fermented foods” provide beneficial probiotics but is this actually true? The grocery store isles are full of different kinds of fermented foods and drinks but are they good for everyone?
The short answer to this question is no, fermented foods are generally not sources of probiotics. On the contrary, despite what we might hear very few of these foods and drinks contain microbes that fit the criteria to be called a probiotic.
However, this does not mean that eating foods like these are bad for you or don’t provide a benefit. These foods are sometimes safer and well-tolerated in the digestive tract than the foods they are made from and can be beneficial for constipation and bowel regularity. For example, you may not be able to eat raw cabbage but you might be able to tolerate fermented cabbage because fermentation has made it more bioavailable for your biome to digest and utilize.
During the manufacturing of these foods, microbes remove or reduce the toxins of the ingredients and produce bioactive compounds that persist long after the microbes that make them are gone.
Fermented foods are foods and beverages manufactured through desired microbial growth and enzymatic actions of food components. Also, there is no requirement for these foods to contain living microbes when they are eaten. For example, foods like bread, chocolate, and beer are fermented, yet not all of these foods are probiotic-rich foods.
On the other hand, some foods such as kimchi and kombucha are eaten because they contain living microbes. However, the microbes in many fermented foods usually do not meet the criteria to be called probiotics because it’s hard to measure the microbes defined to the strain level or the number of living microbes present.
Even though the living microbes in these foods may not meet the standard of a probiotic, they can still provide some health benefits. We need more research on probiotics and these foods from a systemic view before drawing conclusions.
For now, we can continue to enjoy the making and eating of these fermented foods for health or pleasure. If we need additional probiotics or more concentrated strains to address an issue then we can consider a probiotic supplement. Do your research or talk with your doctor to get the live bacteria to help restore and improve digestive issues and replenish healthy probiotic bacteria into our bodies.
The question do probiotics help you poop is going to depend on what the issues are that you’re dealing with? Not everyone responds the same to adding probiotics to their regimen. Checking with your doctor is a good start to determine the right strain and length of time to take the supplement. This may take some time to figure out if it’s working for your particular needs.
This blog serves to provide general information about the different probiotic supplements and their relationship to the question do probiotics make you poop? Our digestive health is very individualized so if you’re struggling to restore a balance in your intestines or just want to incorporate healthier probiotic foods it’s always best to check in with your doctor to make sure you’re on the right path. The above content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from a medical doctor.