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Probiotics have been getting more and more attention for their importance in health, but what are they exactly? Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and microflora that reside within a person’s gut. These yeasts and “good” bacteria normally live in balance with other (more harmful) bacteria in the intestinal tract. You can get probiotics from certain foods and quality supplements.
Probiotics are considered one of the natural and alternative treatments for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Taking probitoitics is especially helpful for men with bacterial prostatitis, especially if they have taken antibiotics (as so many men with prostatitis have). Probiotics work well in helping to manage prostatitis, especially when they are combined with the supplements pollen and quercetin as part of phytotherapy.
Taking a probiotic supplement can help men to restore the balance of good/bad bacteria in their intestinal tract, which can help in fighting the effects of “bad” organisms or opportunistic fungi. Taking probiotics can help to restore a healthy gut, as gut health is especially compromised by taking antibiotics.
Since widespread use of antibiotics can kill off both the beneficial and the harmful bacteria in the body, some of the more harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract can take over when the balance is upset, causing health problems in various places in the body such as diarrhea, rashes, ulcers, and gum problems. Some experts have even been hypothesized that the widespread use of antibiotics can increase a man’s risk for developing chronic prostatitis. Men who have recently taken antibiotics should use supplements like probiotics to help restore a healthy balance and promote immunity by restoring their beneficial bacteria.
The largest group of beneficial bacteria found in the gut are those found in the genus Lactobacillus, followed by the genus Bifidobacterium. Each of these two beneficial groups has scores of species and subspecies, and researchers are still exploring the traits and health benefits of these microorganisms.
A man’s health benefits from taking several strains of probiotics in a few ways. It can be beneficial to provide your body with both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species of probiotics through supplementation on a daily basis. Here are the benefits gained by taking the two main types of beneficial bacteria:
- Lactobacillus (as well as the genera Streptococcus and Lactococcus) are known as lactic acid bacteria. These types of “good” bacteria help break down food, and in the process form lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which in turn helps in eliminating “bad” bacteria and helping to restore balance to the gut. The bacteria laos pay critical roles in promoting digestion, nurturing immune system function, boosting the synthesis of B vitamins, and assisting in the absorption of nutrients (including calcium).
- Bifidobacterium species also produce lactic acid, but they can also be beneficial in different ways. Generally these bacteria support the immune system, aid in digestion, help reduce cholesterol levels, fight allergic reactions and infections, and have some anticancer properties.
How Do Probiotics Treatment for Prostatitis Work?
Long before researchers began to understand and study the scientific basis behind probiotics and their health benefits, many different societies had been enjoying fermented foods and beverages that were rich in these beneficial bacteria and are still available and enjoyed today. The ancient Romans ate sauerkraut while members of both ancient and contemporary Indian society have enjoyed drinking a raw yogurt beverage. In Asian culture, people have been enjoying a variety of fermented vegetables for millennia while Bulgarians and people of the Ukraine include fermented dairy beverages in their regular diet.
Beneficial bacteria received some scientific recognition back in the early 1900s, but it was not until many decades later that researchers developed a better appreciation of their health benefits. What took so long? This delay may partly be because good bacteria are a natural substance and were not a profitable product for the pharmaceutical companies, who were busy introducing many new drugs to the market. In more recent years, research on probiotics (and an appreciation for these good microorganisms) has been growing.
One of the best ways to support good health and prevent prostatitis from developing in the first place is to keep the immune system in optimal condition. We are now recognizing that the gut controls 70 to 80% of a person’s immune function. Providing the gut with probiotics on a regular, everyday basis can help men meet their health goals. This is also helpful in healing from compromised health when the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut is reduced due to illness, stress, or the presence of toxins (including medications such as antibiotics). When sick or after taking antibiotics, it’s important to replenish the good bacteria and restore balance to the intestinal tract.
Probiotics for Bacterial Prostatitis
Regularly ingesting probiotics can assist in preventing the development of acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis by fighting both inflammation and the possibility of infection. Some of the common causes of bacterial prostatitis include urinary tract infections, epididymitis, and urethritis. The harmful bacteria that cause these infections may be held at bay or even eliminated if the gut is well populated with probiotics.
Although preventing prostatitis is a good goal, a man can still develop prostatitis, and that’s when probiotics can help with managing it and restoring health. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for bacterial prostatitis—and these courses sometimes last several weeks. Taking antibiotics puts men at risk for antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In many men with chronic bacterial prostatitis, the infection frequently returns and treatment turns to months of long-term antibiotic use, placing men at additional risk. When a doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat the condition, the patient can take a greater dose of a combination of beneficial bacteria to prevent or reduce inflammation as well as the diarrhea that accompanies antibiotic use.
Probiotics for Chronic Prostatitis
The most common category of prostatitis is the nonbacterial form known as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Even though this prostate disease is termed “nonbacterial,” the disease-causing microorganisms can still play a role in it. In fact, two potential causes of nonbacterial prostatitis are having a history of bacterial infection in the prostate and also having the atypical bacteria that resist treatment with antibiotics. Also, many doctors immediately treat CP/CPPS patients with antibiotics to “rule out infection,” further compromising gut health and immunity and leading to diarrhea. That is why it is wise for men to take daily probiotics, especially when they suspect they have a prostate problem.
Some experts believe that an imbalance in the bacteria that is normally found in the urethra may reach the prostate, and that may be involved in causing chronic prostatitis. Experts also suggest that the using antibiotics (such as the ones typically prescribed for chronic prostatitis) may trigger the disease. (Liu) If this is the case, then using probiotics could be helpful in managing prostatitis especially in men who have taken antibiotics.
Other experts theorize that prostatitis is an autoimmune disorder. Because probiotics support the immune system, regularly consuming foods or supplements with beneficial bacteria could boost the immune response and guard against this inflammatory disease.
Probiotics can help in preventing and managing CP/CPPS. When men take probiotics combined with other supplements, like pollen extracts and quercetin as phytotherapy, they have been shown to have long-term favorable outcomes for CP/CPPS. That is why certain treatment protocols such as UPOINT and the NPAT CPPS Treatment Program recommended phytotherapy for CP/CPPS.
Good health relies on maintaining a healthy balance of friendly bacteria in the gut to offset the potential negative effects of harmful microorganisms that also reside there. This is important every day of life and not just in managing prostatitis. Even though there are times when men need to take steps to repopulate the beneficial bacteria levels when they are jeopardized (by illness and antibiotics), it’s also essential to maintain those healthy levels all the time because they play a critical role in maintaining overall health, including prostate health.
How to Find a Good Probiotic Source
There are two places to find probiotics: food and supplements. It’s a good idea to take daily probiotics supplements and/or consume these gut-friendly foods on a daily basis. Maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora is important 24/7, every day of your life.
Probiotic-rich foods include fermented vegetables (including sauerkraut and kimchee), yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and items that are enriched with good bacteria. Even though its recommended to consume these foods, often they do not contain a significant amount of active bacteria. Pasteurization and processing can kill beneficial bacteria.
In addition to diet you can get probiotics from a high-quality probiotic supplement made by a reputable manufacturer. When shopping, look for products that contain a variety of well-researched Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species that will help you replenish and restore a healthful balance of bacteria in your gut for overall health and your prostate health in particular. As mentioned, it is beneficial for prostatitis patients to combine probiotics with the supplements quercetin and pollen extracts (called phytotherapy).
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WebMD: What are probiotics?