Probiotics can be classified as a set of functional food which has live bacteria that are beneficial and not harmful to the human beings. The first ever probiotic food introduced was adding acidophilus to the milk, this helped people develop better tolerance towards milk and also helped people who found it difficult to digest milk. Majority of the probiotic food available in the market is fermented partially. Food items that contain probiotic bacteria are mainly dairy products such as probiotic added fluid milk and yogurt. Two main bacteria that are probiotic are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These are a component of the lactic acid bacteria and are present in fermented dairy products. Probiotics have multiple advantages as listed below:
Diarrhea is a common illness caused worldwide. It is caused due to various reasons; infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites of intestinal origin. The predominant clinical factor with respect to diarrhea is the onset of vomiting and fever causing extreme dehydration which is fatal and sometimes life threatening.
Bacterial diarrhea: In this case, bacteria such as Salmonella and Shigella and enterogenic E.coli cause damage to the intestinal wall causing more bowel movements and enteric fever. The diagnosis of bacterial diarrhea is done by stool culture and by serological analysis in case of Salmonella induced fever.
Viral Diarrhea: Viral diarrhea is most commonly noticed in children and it is usually self limiting after a period of four to five days. Symptoms include weakness, fever, irritability and sometimes vomiting.
Parasites: Intestinal parasites especially protozoan such as Giardia, Entamoeba and cryptosporidium cause diarrhea. Some are zoonotic on origin and mostly caused by feco-oral route.
Drug Induced: Diarrhea can also be caused because of the administration of certain type drugs such as antibiotics, anticancer and magnesium containing antacids.
Food allergies: Food induced diarrhea is common with those who eat at various places often. Some people are lactose intolerant and consumption of any diary product may induce diarrhea.
Treatment of Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be fatal if untreated. The most common form of treatment is through fluid replacement, rest and consumption of probiotics during the administration of antibiotics. Anti-parasitic drugs and antibiotics are most often prescribed. The WHO recommends ORS solutions in case children and adults as the preliminary step towards treatment and prevention of dehydration.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: May 31, 2023