Gastrointestinal disorders affect the majority of the population. While many people can go to the store and buy an antacid to alleviate their symptoms, millions of people each month seek out treatment from a physician and are prescribed H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat their digestive discomfort. Antacids used for a short period of time do not typically exhibit any negative side effects. If used properly, H2 blockers present very few side effects or negative health outcomes. PPIs on the other hand, are being linked to a myriad of serious side effects and permanent long-term health complications. Now that H2 blockers and PPIs are available for purchase without a prescription, it is virtually impossible to track the symptoms or disorders that are being treated with these medications. Probiotics are natural, healthy bacteria that offer the consumer health benefits from consumption. Probiotics are being studied for their role in positive health outcomes as well as treatment options for a variety of disease states including gastrointestinal disorders. Many strains of probiotics have been shown to alleviate symptoms of digestive tract discomfort as well as enhancing the microbiome. Given the severity of long-term use of antacids, H2 blockers, and PPIs, more research needs to be put into using probiotics to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Physicians and patients need to explore the possibility of using probiotics to treat gastrointestinal disorders in place of using pharmaceuticals that can have very serious, and potentially deadly, side effects.
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