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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.

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?

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

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