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What is a Probiotic?

Posted on November 14, 2013

By Traci Wozniak, PharmD

It's that time of year again when the coughing, sneezing and sniffles try to get the best of us. If you have to see your doctor and he prescribes you an antibiotic it is a good idea to take a probiotic as well. Probiotics are 'healthy bacteria.' They are yogurt-based cultures that replenish the microorganisms that normally live in your gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) that are destroyed by antibiotics. They help to minimize side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea by maintaining a normal balance between good and bad bacteria.

Many women experience a yeast infection after taking an antibiotic. Probiotics also help to restore the vaginal tract and reduce the risk of vaginits. At Fagen, we sell and recommend Florajen products, including Florajen, Florajen3 and Florajen4kids for our patients taking antibiotics. It is recommended to take 1 to 2 hours before or after taking the antibiotic and to continue taking for 1 to 2 weeks after finishing the antibiotic therapy.

Probiotics can also be beneficial for travelers traveling to other countries and on cruise ships. When traveling, your body can be exposed to unfamiliar bacteria that upset your stomach. There is limited evidence that they may also help with irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, boosting the immune system, and allergies.


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