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Clinical Corner

Do you have a question about digestive health? We want to help.

If you or a family member is struggling with chronic or recurring gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, you probably know how challenging it can be to find reliable treatment information. Clinical Corner provides answes from digestive health professionals to commonly asked questions.

Question – I will soon be travelling to several countries where finding safe drinking water will be a challenge. In the event I eat or drink something that would cause traveler’s diarrhea would it be wise to preventatively start taking a probiotic? Is it alright to take loperamide at the same time as taking a probiotic?

 

Answer – There is some evidence that taking a probiotic can help prevent travellers’ diarrhea although probiotics are notoriously variable in terms of their activity, with some being more effective than others with respect to this indication. I see no reason why you shouldn’t take loperamide with a probiotic should the need arise. Perhaps I should point out that diarrhea in gastroenteritis does serve a purpose of clearing out the germs that are causing the problem and, therefore, taking loperamide can sometimes delay recovery. I usually advise patients to take one of the glucose and electrolyte powders when they get travellers’ diarrhea and just use the loperamide for emergencies, travelling and to get home.

– Peter Whorwell, MD
Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology
University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Click the topics below to view more questions and their answers

Can probiotics be used to prevent traveller's diarrhea?

Probiotics are notoriously variable in terms of their activity...

IBS is No Joking Matter

For veterans and others living with this condition...

Misunderstood Functional GI Disorders

Gymnast’s case shows why we must accept FGIDs as a chronic disorder...

Does pancreatitis cause functional abdominal pain and IBS?

It’s complicated...

Is loperamide safe for long-term use?

Alternating diarrhea and constipation is always a difficult problem to deal with in patients with IBS... 

Is there diet advice for Barrett's Esophagus and GERD?

It is interesting that there are very few rigorously performed scientific studies that demonstrate which foods worsen GERD... 

Is an endoscopy recommended for GERD? If so, how often?

It is important for someone with chronic heartburn symptoms to have an endoscopy... 

Is it common for IBS symptoms to return after a person has been symptom-free for over a year?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is best thought of as a life-long disorder, just like migraine or asthma... 

How much of a concern is enterocolitis after treatment for Hirschsprung's disease?

Enterocolitis is a clinical diagnosis... 

What can be done about diarrhea and incontinence caused by a prescribed medication?

This may be one of those medical dilemmas that do not have a fully satisfactory solution...

Is nausea a symptom of IBS? If so, how is it treated?

Nausea is a common symptom reported by patients with IBS...

Can having a colonoscopy cause a change in bowel habit?

There is no straight-forward answer to this question...

I’ve read that rice, including rice milk and rice flour, is beneficial to people with digestive disorders like IBS because it is easier to digest. As an IBS sufferer, would my symptoms improve if I replaced some of the foods in my diet with rice-based alternatives?

If you have IBS, you may find that certain foods tend to be more bothersome than others... 

How long can a person go without having a bowel movement before seeking medical attention? Could this ever warrant a trip to the emergency room? 

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease... 

Can a person have 'constipated diarrhea'?

Pain and discomfort related to altered bowel habit are the hallmarks of IBS... 

How can I determine if I received a thorough colonoscopy?

Your concern about receiving an adequate exam that will provide you reassurance for the next decade is justified...

Is constipation and bloating related to menstrual periods? 

Many healthy women experience some change of bowel function at the time of their periods...

Is there a health benefit from high colonics?

Before we discuss whether or not there are potential benefits (and risks) of high colonics, it is important to understand the function of the colon...

Do proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) increase the risk of hip fracture?

Many patients were alarmed recently by news reports of a 44% increase in the risk of a hip fracture if they are taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI)...

Can intense exercise lead to GI symptoms?

The well-documented beneficial effects that result from keeping up a regular exercise program include better sleep habits, stronger bones, fewer heart problems, and tighter glucose control in diabetes...

Why do some antibiotics cause diarrhea and is this a cause for concern?

Antibiotic therapy is a common source of diarrhea in both hospitalized patients and outpatients...

 

Last modified on September 12, 2014 at 01:07:37 PM