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Digestive

How to Keep Potential Probiotic Side Effects Easily Under Control

8 minute read


Most people choose to take probiotics for digestive issues over medications because they want to avoid negative side effects. While the side effects you get with probiotics are not as severe as those with drugs, they can still occur.  

| Related: Healthy Gut 101: What Are Probiotics |

As with any substance that enters your body, there is a chance that your body will have a reaction. This does not mean you should avoid probiotics because they provide a number of benefits. What you need to do is learn about the potential side effects so you can keep them under control.  


No Pain, No Gain

To get results, sometimes you have to endure a little pain. This goes for athletes as well as those just looking to stay healthy. This is not to say that you need to go through excruciating pain, but some minor upsets as you start a new probiotic regimen is to be expected. Especially when you counter it with the great benefits those microbes give you. If the discomfort is only temporary as your body makes adjustments, then there are things you can do to help relieve the pain.

As probiotics reach your digestive system they start to kill off pathogenic yeasts and other harmful microorganisms. The process of killing these off produces a number of symptoms because the harmful bacteria produce toxins. Depending on the amount of microorganisms in your gut, your symptoms will vary. Inflammation also occurs during the battle of good versus evil which adds to the symptoms you will experience. Again, these will only be temporary because once the harmful agents are gone, the symptoms will subside.

Probiotics remove other toxins and heavy metals from your system. Since several elimination methods are used, you may experience side effects in any of these areas.

♦ Urination: This may become more frequent, discolored, or stronger smelling.

♦ Bowel movements: You may experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

♦ Sweating: Odor, itchy skin, and pimples may appear.

♦ Breathing: You can experience general flu-like symptoms, coughing, sneezing, or running nose.

The side effects you notice are actually the toxins and waste leaving your body, rather than a bad reaction to the probiotics. If several exit routes are used at the same time, symptoms can be more unpleasant, but for the most case, they are mild and disappear after a few days or a week. Longer reactions mean you had more toxins to remove. The more cleansing you need, the more side effects you will experience. The good news is that you can alleviate your discomfort.


Soothing Your Symptoms

Acid reflux: The symptoms of acid reflux are caused by the release of toxins as the harmful bacteria die. You can either take a smaller dose of probiotics to start with and gradually increase the dosage to avoid strong side effects. You can dissolve a probiotic capsule in water first and drink slowly to ease the introduction of it to your system. If a supplement is too strong, try getting probiotics from foods like yogurt or kefir instead.

Burping: Gas is a side effect to removing harmful microorganisms from your body. What is interesting is that gas in your gut does not occur right away. Often when you are eating and start to feel bloated, it was the previous meal that has caused this. To make sure you are not too gassy, take smaller doses of probiotics or take a capsule every other day.   

Bloating: It is very uncomfortable and sometimes painful to have a swollen and tight stomach. The gas created as harmful bacteria die can cause bloating. If you experience prolonged bloating it is best to start with very small doses of probiotics at first. Also increase your water intake and cut down on sugary foods. Fresh vegetable juice is also great for reducing a bloated stomach.

Cold symptoms: Runny noses, sneezing and coughing all are ways your body is expelling toxins. They are often referred to as the microorganism ‘kill-off’ symptoms. The best way to relieve them is by taking lower doses of probiotics.

Frequent Urination: Probiotics speed up the detox and cleansing of your body so urine output is likely to increase. To help this situation you should drink less coffee, black tea and alcohol. You will need to keep your water intake up to support ridding your body of toxins.

Constipation: The bowels are one of the exit options for waste and toxic removal. If you have a lot of harmful bacteria producing a lot of toxins, the body may not be able to expel it as quickly as it is produced. What you get is a backup. Probiotics can use help in clearing toxins so you do not get constipated. Drinking vegetable juice and consuming more fiber will help. Additionally add some chia seeds to your water and try intermittent fasting.  

Diarrhea: Probiotics will speed up your digestive processes and clean out the digestive tract. Some stubborn bacterial infections like Candida overgrowth will frequently cause diarrhea as they are killed off so again try some vegetable juice or lower doses of probiotics until your system regulates itself.

| Related: Chronic UTI Sufferers Show Improvement With Probiotics |

Headache: The toxins that pathogenic microbes produce as they die can cause headaches and the more you have the stronger headaches can be. They typically do not last longer than a week or so but if you take lower doses of probiotics or get your supplements via fermented foods instead; the headaches are not as severe.

Skin rash: We excrete toxins through the pores in our skins, so as bacteria release toxins, you may get itching or the appearance of a rash. Excess toxins can be stored in fat throughout the body and so can be released well after you start a probiotic regimen. Wash your skin regularly and increase water intake to flush out toxins faster. The sooner they are out, the sooner your skin will clear up.


The Bottom Line

The effects of probiotics are minor and usually only last a few days. Once they have rid your body of the harmful bacteria and yeasts, things start to calm down. The state of your gut will determine the length of side effects, because the more work the probiotics have to do, the longer you will see symptoms. Think of the symptoms not as a bad thing, but as evidence that the probiotics are doing their job. Soon you will have a clean and healthy gut which improves your overall health and well-being.

Read Next >>> The Perfect Diet to Compliment Your Probiotics Regimen



  1. http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/2/e00231-15.full
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4748908/
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/the-pros-and-cons-of-probiotics.aspx
  4. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-163888/adult-probiotic-oral/details#side-effects

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