Preventing Diarrhea is One Reason The Elderly Should Take Probiotics Daily
Have you ever heard of probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your health and specifically your digestive system. They can be found in yogurts, kefir, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and can also be bought in a supplement form. Eating or taking probiotics daily can treat a handful of issues, strengthen your immune system and prevent a lot of health problems.
Clostridium Difficile, also known as C-diff is a bad bacteria that is developed when too many of the good intestinal bacteria are depleted. One way the good bacteria are destroyed is by taking too many antibiotics and not replacing the good bacteria with probiotics. When you take antibiotics it can potentially destroy the good, healthy, helpful bacteria that fights off the bad bacteria. This is when the C-diff bacteria can take over causing watery explosive diarrhea (sometimes more than 12 per day), dehydration, and in severe cases, even death. C-diff can be highly contagious and can become resistant to treatment, making it a high risk of coming back. Can it be treated? Yes, but especially in the elderly, with already compromised immune systems, the person could be plagued with the imbalance of intestinal bacteria for the rest of their life.
If looking to place your loved one in a facility, preventing C-diff is something to think about. Many places will decline a resident into their assisted living home or facility if they have C-diff or even ask them to leave if they contract it while living there. Caregivers and staff have to take extra precautions by wearing protective gowns, gloves and masks when dealing with C-diff. In smaller ‘Home-like’ assisted living homes where living spaces and bathrooms are shared, this presents a danger and problem to caregivers, other residents and their families.
How to prevent C-diff:
Good bacterias are highly needed in our body to keep us well and keep our body running efficiently. Taking Antibiotics kills off the good protective bacteria in our colon. C-diff happens in the colon when too many good bacteria are killed off and the bad bacteria take over. Taking a probiotic supplement and eating probiotic rich foods during and after antibiotic use can help prevent C-diff infections most of the time.
If you find yourself needing to take an antibiotic, try taking probiotics in between the doses of antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic twice a day, follow this routine:
8 am- Antibiotic
10 am- Probiotic as well as other fermented foods
12 pm - 1 cup of liquid Kefir probiotic
6 pm - Probiotic as well as other fermented foods
8 pm - Antibiotic
If the antibiotic is scheduled 3 or 4 times daily, still take 2 probiotics daily at least 2 hours apart from the antibiotic doses. Having a schedule like this will insure that you still get the full benefit of the antibiotic as well as preventing the C-diff infection. This helps your good bacteria continue to thrive. It is also good to continue taking probiotics several weeks to months after the antibiotic to insure the good bacteria has replaced itself and multiplied again.
Probiotics are easily accessible and can prevent so many problems. It is important to research and find a really good probiotic. This would be a probiotic that has 10-12 varieties of strains including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacillus. A probiotic blend of 50 billion daily is most beneficial.
Along with daily probiotics, good handwashing and avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics can help prevent C-diff and provide a healthy digestive system.
(This information has been given from our own experience and knowledge and you should always consult your doctor to find out what is best for you or your loved one.)