Q. Should I seek medical help for the side effects of probiotics?

Answered by
Dr. Sadaf Mustafa
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Aug 27, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jun 14, 2019

Hi doctor,

I had probiotics for two days as I was having issues with constipation and it helped me. Later, I got side effects of nausea, headache, cold and hot sweats, sleepiness, loss of appetite and going to the bathroom more often for the past three days. I discontinued probiotics. Should I seek medical help?

Dr. Sadaf Mustafa

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for providing a precise history.

  • I want you to understand that the probiotics are a different type of good bacteria that takes over your gut flora and start settling in your intestines and take over the existing flora in the gut.
  • Initially, starting any probiotics you are expected to experience GI upset, including diarrhea and abdominal cramps. If your body does not agree with it, then you might have headaches and nausea.
  • It also depends on the type of probiotics you were taking and the dosage. Please share the information.
  • Also, how many episodes of diarrhea or vomiting are you having in a day? Do you feel any dizziness and feeling like you will pass out? Is there any rash or fever or chills or swelling of the lips or throat? When did you discontinue the probiotics?
  • Please answer these questions as it will be very helpful to understand your situation better. Thank you.

Revert back with the answers to the above questions to an internal medicine physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician

Thank you doctor,

I took them once a day for two days and discontinued it three days ago. There is no fever or rash or swelling of the mouth or throat. I just have nausea, chills and sweating. I get stomach upset after eating and going restroom around three to five times a day.

Dr. Sadaf Mustafa

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • The best thing out to be watching your symptoms for the next two days and hydrate yourself well.
  • Now, as you are not taking the probiotics it will take three to four days to clear up and your old flora to take over. You may have some indigestion type feeling for a week or so, which is normal.
  • Next time, if you are planning to use a probiotic, then select a single strain and half the recommended dose. Some of my patients who show intolerance to full dose are actually using kid's probiotics. It is one strain and 5 billion CFU and so it is very gentle on the stomach.
  • As you have discontinued it now, do not try anything for the next six to eight weeks at least and then you may try a smaller dose as suggested.
  • Keep hydrating yourself. Do not use Imodium (Loperamide). Take two bananas daily.

For further information consult an internal medicine physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician

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