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Benefits of probiotics after surgery

Bacteria are microscopic organisms that can affect your health. Some are good for your body. Other germs can make you sick.

One much-talked about types of live bacteria is probiotics. These complex microbes have garnered a lot of positive press for their ability to make you healthier and even they affect your mood.

Woman holds her stomach in pain

They live inside your digestive system and help it run smoothly by lending a hand to your gut. They do so by breaking down nutrients so that your body can use them. Generally considered safe, probiotics have many day-to-day benefits. They can also provide benefits after you have surgery.

Read on to learn more about what researchers know about probiotics and their ability to improve surgical outcomes.

Benefits of probiotics after surgery

Some reasons your surgeon might recommend taking probiotics after having surgery are because it can reduce post-operative sepsis, accelerate wound healing, boost your immunity, lower the risk of infections, and even sometimes help prevent bouts of diarrhea caused by antibiotics.

Though there are benefits to taking probiotics after surgery, they can cause potential problems, especially if you ingest too much.

Some of the most commonly reported side effects from taking too many probiotics include:

  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Bloating

Antibiotics and probiotics

As part of your post-operative recovery, your surgeon may have you take a course of antibiotics to prevent and treat bacterial infections. One side effect of taking antibiotics is that they can do a number on the state of your gut’s microbiome.

In some cases, to counter these adverse effects, your care team may recommend that you take probiotics to restock the beneficial bacteria living inside of your intestines and get things rebalanced in your gut and closer back to your pre-antibiotic state.

Options for probiotic intake

There are two ways you can add more “good bacteria” into your body with probiotics:

  1. Capsule-form dietary supplements: Take probiotic products that contain lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, or saccharomyces boulardii, as well as at least one billion colony forming units
  2. Fermented foods: Include as part of your diet some of the healthiest probiotic-rich foods, such as:
    • Yogurt
    • Sauerkraut
    • Tempeh
    • Kimchi
    • Miso
    • Kombucha
If you regularly experience symptoms of nausea or bloating after eating meals, you can keep some digestive problems at bay by avoiding certain foods (such as fatty, processed, and fried foods; acidic foods; alcohol; caffeine; dairy products; and, foods with artificial sweeteners) that are known to cause or exacerbate tummy troubles.

Talk to an expert about post-surgical nutrition and probiotics

Though what we’ve learned is generally all promising, researchers are still studying how changing the amount of probiotics can impact your digestive system, which is why regulatory officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration haven’t formally approved the clinical use of probiotics yet.

Every day we are still learning about the many different pros and cons of taking probiotics for better health outcomes, especially after surgery. That’s why, especially after surgery, professionals always recommend that you consult a doctor first for personalized probiotic intake guidelines before adding more of them to your diet.

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TOPICS: General surgery