Side Effects of Probiotics

According to the University of Michigan Health System, probiotic bacteria help to alter the micro flora balance and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics help to improve digestion and even boost immune function. However, although probiotics offer a lot of benefits, there are also some side effects of consuming probiotics that everyone should be aware of.

Gas and Bloating

One side effect of using probiotics is the gas and bloating that it can cause. According the National Institutes of Health, gas and bloating is one of the most common side effects of using probiotics. Probiotics work by killing other bacteria in a process that can create gas. Sometimes this gas buildup can become painful and cause sluggishness. However, it should relieve itself after a few days. If you continue to have difficulty from this problem, you may want to stop taking the probiotics or see your physician to see if there is something else that can treat this side effect.

Immune System

Probiotics can have an adverse effect on your immune function, especially if you are a person who is already suffering from a disease or medical condition that has weakened your immune system. According to the National Institute of Health, probiotics can cause too much stimulation, which can lead to a failure of the immune system. This failure may lead to complications. If your immune system fails, you may be at risk for infections and diseases that your body may have otherwise been able to fight off. In cases where the person was already ill, immune system compromise can be deadly. If you are worried that your immune system has been affected, you should immediately seek medical treatment.

Fungal Infection

Fungal infections can also be a side effect of taking probiotics. According to the University of Michigan Health System, there have been at least nine cases of severe, internal fungal infections that have developed in people treated with probiotics. Fungal infections are especially dangerous to a person with impaired immune function. These types of infections can work their way through the body and cause problems with organ function. An invasive fungal infection requires immediate medical treatment. In severe cases, the person may need to be hospitalized so that IV medications can be administered.

About this Author

Kristie Jernigan is a health writer who has 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.