Question: Guidance on Choosing Probiotics to Mitigate Ileostomy Blockages

As an individual with an ileostomy, I’m seeking advice on selecting a suitable probiotic from the vast array available in stores. My aim is to find a probiotic that could help in reducing or preventing blockages. Could you provide expert recommendations on how to choose an effective probiotic for my condition?

Response: Understanding and Choosing Probiotics for Ileostomy Care

Probiotics, which are live microorganisms, can offer health benefits, particularly for gut flora balance. They are generally safe but occasionally might lead to adverse effects. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding and selecting probiotics:

Understanding Probiotics: Probiotics are live microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria, found in certain foods and supplements. They are designed to survive stomach acid and reach the intestines alive, aiding in maintaining a balanced gut flora. This balance is crucial for resisting infections, disease, and intestinal issues.

Variety of Probiotics: The market offers a range of probiotics, including fermented milk products (like Activia) and capsules. It’s important to note that simple yogurt and cottage cheese, while containing lactic acid bacteria, do not qualify as probiotics as they don’t survive stomach acid.

Efficacy and Dosage: For probiotics to be effective, they must contain a significant number of live bacteria. It’s recommended that they have at least 100 million to a billion live bacteria per serving to impact gut health significantly.

Research and Evidence: While the benefits of probiotics are supported by studies, results vary, and more research might be needed. They are known to be particularly helpful in reducing antibiotic-related diarrhea and aiding in conditions like chronic constipation.

Personal Dietary Management with an Ileostomy: With an ileostomy, it’s essential to understand your body’s reactions to different foods. Foods that cause blockages or other digestive issues can vary from person to person. It’s advisable to experiment and identify what works best for you.

Preventing Blockages: To avoid blockages, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals and chew food thoroughly. Certain foods like pineapple, nuts, and raw vegetables are known to cause blockages, while others like leafy greens and spicy foods may thin stool.

Choosing the Right Probiotic: When selecting a probiotic, ensure it contains a sufficient count of live bacteria for maximum benefit. Look for products with at least 100 million to a billion live bacteria per serving.

In conclusion, while probiotics can be a beneficial addition to your diet, especially with an ileostomy, it’s crucial to choose a product that meets the specific requirements for efficacy. Additionally, personalized dietary management plays a vital role in maintaining your overall gut health and comfort.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
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Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox”, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”, “Another BAG Another DAY”, “BAGs Around the World”, “Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!”, “The Sibs Gang Cave of the Golden Heart”,,
Member Ostomy Canada /Medical Lifestyle Advisory Committee Member – Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
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