Do probiotics cause diarrhea? Rarely. Side effects of probiotics are few but some do experience them. However, probiotics are usually used as remedies to reduce diarrhea so it is unlikely that taking probiotics would cause diarrhea. A high powered meta-study of 34 other studies published in the prestigious journal The Lancet found found that a median dose of just 6.0 billion CFUs/day of probiotics was able to reduce antibiotic associated diarrhea by 52%, traveler’s diarrhea by 8%, and acute diarrhea due to diverse causes by 34%.1
However, some persons may have a paradoxical reaction to probiotics. Causes of diarrhea while taking probiotics include:
1. An allergic reaction to the ingredients in probiotics
Probiotics often have trace amounts of dairy from the probiotic production process. An allergy to any of the ingredients can cause diarrhea.
2. Taking probiotics that are too high of a dose.
Taking too many probiotics can cause a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome (SIBO). Symptoms of SIBO include bloating, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, or chronic watery diarrhea.2 Certain people who are more prone to SIBO include diabetics and those that are taking an antacid/proton-pump inhibitor.
3. Rapid changes in your microflora that your body is not used to.
Taking probiotics can cause a drastic change in your gut microflora. These changes may cause some gastrointestinal discomfort until the microflora stabilizes. If your diarrhea does not go within 5 days stop taking probiotics.
While probiotics have been clinically proven to shorten the duration of diarrhea there are some instances that they may cause diarrhea such as being allergic to some of the ingredients in your probiotic, taking too high of a dose, and initial changes in gut microflora.
If you are experiencing diarrhea with your probiotic you may want to try DrFormulas® Nexabiotic® Advanced probiotics with 23 different probiotics in 1 and a moderate dose of 17.25 billion CFUs per capsule. These probiotics are purified to remove most dairy and, have a moderate dose, and help to normalize your gut microflora which is naturally diverse.