Probiotics help in reducing your risk of developing a bowel infection called Clostridium difficile (otherwise known as C. diff). C. diff is an infection which can occur after you have received antibiotics for another infection which then disrupt the normal (“good”) bacteria in your gut. This then allows the problem C. diff bacteria to grow in your gut, where it can lead to diarrhoea which in some cases can be very severe.
The probiotic contains a mixture of several “good” bacteria which are intended to stop the C. diff from causing a problem whilst you are taking the antibiotics.
Who should be taking the probiotic?
We know that certain people are at more risk from C. diff infection and therefore these are the people who will be given the probiotic at the same time that they are prescribed antibiotics. This includes people who are:
- over 65 years
- OR over 18 years AND with one of the following risk factors:
- Past C. diff infection
- On a prolonged antibiotic course for more than 7 days
- People prescribed proton pump inhibitors (stomach acid suppressing tabletse.g. omeprazole, lanzoprazole)
- History of multiple antibiotic courses during or prior to admission.
If you fall into one of these groups and are prescribed an antibiotic course, probiotics can be prescribed by your medical team to take during the antibiotic course and for 5 days afterwards.
Who should not be taking the probiotic?
- People who have problems with their immune system or who are taking drugs that could stop their immune system from functioning effectively, should not usually take the probiotic.
- People with bowel perforation (hole in the gut) or conditions with a high risk of bowel perforation should also not take the probiotic.
Have you had your probiotic today? What do you think about probiotics?