Tame Your Tummy Trouble

The Right Probiotics for Your Stomach Problems and More

The “anti-antibiotic” probiotic
In a healthy body, trillions of bacteria colonize the skin, mouth, intestines, and genital tract. “They do a great job fighting off disease-causing microbes trying to gain entry,” says University of Washington epidemiologist Lynne McFarland, PhD, the coauthor of The Power of Probiotics. “But taking antibiotics can open up a window of opportunity for pathogens to move in.” So-called antibiotic-associated diarrhea, like Klawiter had, is a classic example, with C. diff being the most common culprit. Fortunately, three specific probiotic strains (S. cerevisiae boulardii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30) can reduce infection risk while youre taking antibiotics and shortly after. Thats the vulnerable period. Researchers dont know exactly how these good bugs do their thing; some believe they may simply overpower the invaders.

The “get well down there” probiotic
Even when you're perfectly hygienic, intestinal bugs can stray into your vagina and urinary tract. A healthy vagina is home to bacteria that repel these microbes. Unfortunately, antibiotics, douches, and spermicides can lower the levels of protective bacteria. Solution: Once or twice a day, take capsules of L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14, which reach the vagina via the intestinal tract (just like the bugs they have been shown to repel). Once there, they muscle out the problem bugs associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV), urinary infections, and even yeast. In a study of 40 women with BV, two daily capsules containing these probiotics worked better than standard treatment with prescription metronidazole gel. In another study of 100-plus women, adding these probiotics to standard metronidazole therapy more than doubled the cure rate—from 40% to 88%.

Next Page: The “boost your immunity” probiotic