February 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm , by Joy Wingfield
Is it me or does the entire universe suddenly have chronic stomach issues? Just look at the ads. Intestinal ailments are the new “it” worry this season. Pill-poppers are now popping daily doses of probiotic supplements, suited to balance our “friendly” bacteria and bring harmony back to our intestinal flora. Really. Last I saw, there were even probiotic products for dogs and babies.
Well believe it or not, I get it. Over the last few years, I suddenly became hypersensitive to certain foods. “Try cutting out caffeine,” my doctor says. Okay. So I cut out coffee. Then red meat. Then poultry. Suddenly, I’m nearly a vegetarian. The pains did subside over time. But every so often, that annoying little sting would reemerge, like right after I’ve eaten a bowl of lightly steamed carrots. So maybe I do have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. “Could be. Everyone’s body is different,” my doctor says.
So I take the plunge and buy an OTC 28-day probiotic supplement for $30. The verdict? I’m not sure. My pains were alleviated for the most part. But was it the new diet, or an expensive placebo? Studies show that certain probiotic pills do have the ability to improve intestinal health, and with daily use (at $30 a pop), you can feel better. But is that a real solution or a temporary fix? Here’s my best amateur advice: go to your doctor, get tested, and listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something. Hopefully your body’s natural flora will find its own harmony.