A recent Cochrane Systematic Review, which involves an extensive review of the scientific literature, found that probiotics are effective at reducing diarrhea. The results were similar across all 63 different trials that were analyzed.
A separate review was done for trials involving children with persistent diarrhea. Though only four trials were available for review, results showed that probiotics can reduce the length of time of an episode of persistent diarrhea.
Diarrhea often occurs as a result of infection by many different organisms. This results in a big imbalance in the ratio of good to bad bacteria, so probiotics, (also known as good bacteria), are sometimes recommended as a way to repopulate the gut and bring balance back to the intestines. Indeed, if the Cochrane Review is confirming this, you can’t get more mainstream than that.
More research needs to be done on specific strains of bacteria and on preventing the progression from short-term to persistent diarrhea. But probiotic therapy can be used safely in addition to rehydration fluids, which are also given during diarrhea treatment.
Diarrhea can be a serious condition. If you are experiencing an episode of diarrhea, talk with your doctor about taking probiotics to help rebalance your gut.