What do you know about probiotics?

Yesterday, fearing my appendix might be ready to burst, I visited my family doctor.

Do you think about what panties you have on before you go to the doctor?

I did.

I didn’t want to wear something that shouted “SEX!”

I didn’t want to be in full granny-age-armor either.

Such a dilemma!

I’ve been having all sorts of stomach/digestive issues for ages.

My symptoms have been getting progressively worse the last few weeks.

My husband threatened to drag me to the ER the other night.

Dr. Google has only caused me to become more confused, because it turns out there’s a lot of stuff inside our bodies.

At last count, there are four hundred zillion different body parts that could be responsible for my symptoms.

Things like intestines, an appendix, ovaries, kidneys, ulcers, a gallbladder, my bionic arm’s computer … blah, blah, blah.

(By the way, I’m seeing a GI doc in about ten days.  I would have waited until that appointment but severe pain on the right side of your abdomen can’t always wait.)

So anyway …

I’ve been instructed to go immediately to the ER if things worsen.

(My family doc is very dramatic like that!)

The doc took lots (!!) of blood, ordered an ultrasound of my abdomen (and my girly parts),

And he told me to go heavy on probiotics as we wait for all the test results.

He was shocked I wasn’t already taking probiotics either via food sources or in pill form.


Is everyone in the world (but me) taking probiotics?

I wasn’t even sure what they WERE until yesterday.

When the doc mentioned probiotics, my mind flashed immediately to the Activia commercials where the woman seems to imply they make her shit regularly.

I don’t need additional shit in my life.

As it turns out, probiotics (possibly) do all sorts of good things for you.

In lay man terms,

Probiotics are The Good Guys and *experts* think you need them to fight The Bad Guys in your body.

Don’t you love when I get all scientific on you?

In recent months, I’ve cut dairy almost completely out of my diet.

I thought it might be the culprit in my stomach issues.

(I’ve also tried eliminating gluten and other possible food suspects … all to no avail.)

In the process of eliminating dairy, I stopped eating yogurt.

Yogurt has probiotics in it.

I used to eat yogurt pretty regularly.

Yesterday, I went directly from the doctor to the grocery store.

I bought yogurt.

I even bought Activia yogurt.  I did so mainly out of convenience because my grocery store didn’t have many choices in stock.

I also bought kefir – plain, not sweetened.

(I actually LIKE kefir.  Am I the only one?)

I was surprised to learn kimchi, and sauerkraut, and dark chocolate also contain probiotics.

Does anyone pig-out on sauerkraut?  (I know some of you pig-out on dark chocolate.)

I have a hard time imagining someone eating massive quantities of sauerkraut.

If it turns out I’ve gone through months of stomach issues due to lack of yogurt,

I’m really going to be pissed off.

(Although, it would be awesome if the solution is that easy!)

Now, please pass the kefir.

Also – I’d love to hear what YOU know about probiotics.

Do you eat them?

Or take them as a supplement in pill form?

Avoid them?

Do you have any experience with them helping you or a friend/family member?

23 Responses to “Probiotics?”

  1. Denise

    Suzanne, I was having some discomfort a year ago. They did an upper GI and abdominal ultrasound. Nothing. So I started taking Culturelle and haven’t had any problems since. I hope they get to the source of your pains.

  2. Jan's Sushi Bar

    Well, most commercial sauerkraut is just pickled, not fermented, so you won’t find probiotics there. Commercial yogurt is iffy, too – like pills, it tends to contain only one or two kinds of beneficial bacteria, and all the added sugar, or artificial sweeteners, can counteract the probiotic’s benefits.

    We consume probiotics in some form nearly every day – since I don’t eat dairy any longer, it’s in the form of fermented non-dairy foods. Kombucha (fermented tea) is one of my favorites, and so is kimchi, which I ferment myself. Right now we’re working our way through a quart of fermented peach chutney and it’s just delicious.

    You don’t need a lot, just a small serving once or twice a day (we usually have ours with lunch). And you wouldn’t believe how much better my gastrointestinal problems are. Well, not so much better as non-existent.

    • Suzanne

      I’m glad you told me because I probably would have bought store sauerkraut – not realizing there’s a difference. I guess as I get (ahem) a little older I can’t take things for granted anymore. : (

      • stacy

        I saw bottles of fermented tea at Ralphs on Margarite and Santa Margarita and it was even on sale. It was on the end cap. I thought of you. The idea of drinking fermented tea to me is totally unappealing. It came bottled btw.

        • Suzanne

          Thanks Stacy.
          It doesn’t sound very appealing to me either. I do like tea, so maybe it would surprise me and be good? Maybe I’ll give it a try.

  3. Laura M.

    Yes, I do eat yogurt every day, particularly Activia. I can’t wait to try their new breakfast yogurts. A few years ago I had many digestive issues, and ever more so when I was pregnant. I was told to eat more fiber and at least one yogurt a day. I have found that it has helped immensely. Now all yogurt has probiotics, some just have more than others.

    ps. As always, thank you for the OC pictures 🙂

    • Suzanne

      You’re welcome, and thank you for sharing your story. I hope some simple diet changes can help me out as much as it has helped you!

  4. Diane

    I was having bladder issues last month. My urologist put me on antibiotics for ten days and also suggested I take Culturelle for a month. I have about 10 days left on the Culturelle. It puts the good stuff back in your digestive track. I also eat yogurt every day

    Also, on a side note:
    Our pup, Izzy had all kinds of digestive issues when she was very young and our vet put her on probiotics for a month which seemed to turn her around quite nicely. I also give her yogurt every day.

    • Suzanne

      I’ve always had a lot of yogurt until the last six months …
      Obviously, eliminating it was a mistake.
      Thanks for the input.
      So glad Izzy is healthy too! : )

  5. Donna

    I have a friend who is talking about symptoms like yours and she has chosen the probiotics path too. I hope it helps her….and YOU!!!

    • Suzanne

      Thanks – me too!
      It sure is more appealing than needing medical intervention!

  6. Kathy

    Ugh, digestive issues. First I couldn’t do dairy, then gluten and now it’s soy and eggs. Not much left to eat! I’ve been seeing a naturopath and she wants me to try something called the GAPS diet. Don’t do it unless you love to cook and spend all your time in the kitchen! It’s pretty much a lifestyle change and very big on fermented foods for probiotics. Ever try making yogurt yourself? It’s like that. But according to what I’ve read it will heal the gut. One would hope after all that work!
    (FYI, there is a brand of sauerkraut that does have probiotics, it’s called Bubbies and they do sell it in California.) I was also told to vary the brands and types of probiotics I take because there are different strains? This is all to confusing for my poor addled brain. Best of luck to you and I hope it’s as easy as eating your yogurt!!

    • Suzanne

      Thank you. I’ll look for their Bubbies sauerkraut.
      I’m wondering how long you leave stuff out of your diet to know it’s causing a problem? I’ve tried eliminating several things to no avail. Maybe I’m not doing it for long enough?? Good luck with the GAPS thing, Kathy! I hope I can find an easier solution??

      • Kathy

        2 years. But after that the gut is healed and you can have “some” gluten, dairy etc. Also just because the celiac (gluten allergy) comes back negative doesn’t mean your aren’t gluten intolerant. fun stuff. :-/

  7. joanne

    yes, big fan of Kefir!! I use it instead of sour cream on a baked sweet potato, yummy. I also eat more sauerkraut on my hotdog than hotdog. I think acivia is junk, a lot of hype, and the exact same cultures as any other yogurt. but I DO eat a crapload of Fage, best Greek yogurt ever! There are also some powerful digestive enzymes (different than probiotics) that will help too. The two heavy hitters are papain (found in Papaya) and Bromelian (Pineapple) so get some soluble fiber (like psyilimarin) . and make yourself a nice Kefir/pineapple/papaya smoothie. I have had IBS since I was 20 years old, practically 15 years (boy, you know that is a big fat lie (more like 40 yrs) . Also refrain from eating processed food. I know you get your fresh veggies, so that is great. I have a long time in dealing with natural digestive support for digestive, liver, gall bladder support. ask me anything. and no red meat.

    • Suzanne

      I love Fage … it’s my favorite yogurt. I bought a papaya today. I love papaya, but no one else in my family does so I rarely buy them. (They all love mangoes and hate papaya.) I don’t really know what’s causing so many issues for me, but at this point I want to learn everything and I’m willing to try anything. So tired of dealing with abdominal pain.

  8. Nathalie

    I stumbled across your blog while researching and so glad I found it. For 20 years I’ve had digestive issues; had a colonoscopy at age 22 and nothing was found. Before then I had no idea something was up because I took a crap 1-2x month until a friend talked about crapping every day. I actually told her that she needs to get checked out cause that’s too much….then I learned I was the one that needed to get checked out. I told my mom and she was surprised because apparently she also goes everyday. I went five years without red meat, only fish and organic chicken/turkey… regular crap. The activia didn’t work for me but my son loves it, I took laxative and no crap. But when I do it’s like giving birth. One time I actually thought I was….seriously but it was just crap. Nothing is working…yet. I tried the probiotic pills but I forget them. I get so bloated that I would look 3 mos pregnant and I too have had pain. Two doctors and couple lifestyle changes didn’t help me get regular but I noticed that having sex on a regular basis does.

  9. Julie

    YES! I do. I’ve had stomach issues for years caused by stress etc. I also believe that I’ve developed somewhat of a gluten intolerance. After taking the probiotics for a few weeks, things have umm loosened up.

    • Suzanne

      Loosening up is exactly what I DON’T need! : )
      I guess probiotics help with both extremes from what I’ve learned.
      They are doing a blood test for gluten intolerance on me. I didn’t even know there was a blood test for that? I tried cutting it out, but maybe not for long enough? I guess I will find out soon.
      Such a pain in the …..

  10. J. Delancy

    Hello Suzanne:

    Not making this up, ( making it sound as if I’m totally making this up) but left-handers tend to have more stomach problems than right handers. I’ve never found out if the same applies to people who’ve been forced to become left-handers because of A**holes on the road.
    Anyway, I’ve had my own digestive problems which were solved (i hope) by eating fruit and yogurt everyday and Better Living Through Chemistry, a.k.a Nexuim. If all else fails try that.

    All The Best


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