Video Corner: Gut Flora, Probiotics and Antibiotics
Bacteria are germs that are normally in the gut. They are often referred to as the gut flora. Most bacteria are in the large intestine (colon). Some bacteria can cause infection; these are called pathogens. Other bacteria can be helpful. These helpful (or “good”) bacteria are called probiotics. Medicines that destroy bacteria are called antibiotics.
During IFFGD's 7th International Symposium on Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in April 2007, we had the opportunity to interview a leading researcher, Eamonn Quigley, MD, on the topics of probiotics and antibiotics. Dr. Quigley is Professor of Medicine and Human Physiology at University College, Cork (National University of Ireland). Brooks Cash, MD adds comments about issues of safety and effectiveness of antibiotics.
Dr. Quiqley discusses how our understanding of the importance of the interaction between our gut bacteria and ourselves is growing.
Not all probiotics are equal. Dr. Quigley talks about the importance of quality control.
Dr. Quigley explains how studies suggest that some probiotics can do more than displace bad bacteria (pathogens).
Some IBS patients show a response to certain antibiotics. A discussion by Dr. Quigley of why this may be and possible issues of safety and effectiveness.
Brooks Cash, MD, USN, is Chief, Gastroenterology Division and Colon Health Initiative; and Associate Professor of Medicine, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Here he speaks about whether there is an appropriate application for the cautious use of antibiotics in the treatment of functional bowel disorders, and what symptoms they may affect.
More information can be found in our Library under IFFGD publication #209, "Gut Bacteria and Irritable Bowel Syndrome".