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Probiotics May Reduce E. Coli in Individuals With Anal Pouches

People with extreme anal inflammation resulting from severe ulcerative colitis (UC) are sometimes fitted with an artificial anus but the pouches themselves can become inflamed – a condition known as pouchitis. A recent study has found that taking probiotic supplements may restrict the movement of harmful E. coli bacteria, thereby keeping the pouch healthy and lowering the risk of developing pouchitis.

Participants in the study included 32 UC patients with anal pouches. 19 of them had pouchitis and 13 had had no complications with their anal pouches for at least two years and acted as the control group.

The majority of the study group was given four weeks of antibiotic treatment followed by eight weeks of supplementation of a 9-strain probiotic blend. Two of the participants in the study group were on continuous antibiotic treatment and entered the study at the second phase.

Three other patients who had UC were kept on antibiotics for the entire 12-week study period.

The researchers examined tissue from the anal pouches of all of the participants for permeability while they still had pouchitis, after four weeks of antibiotic treatment, and after eight weeks of taking 3g of oral probiotics daily.

No change in was found in gut microbiota, however the probiotic supplementation resulted in significantly reduced movement of E. coli K12. Movement was not affected by the antibiotic treatment.

Researchers from Linkoping University Hospital in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the October 2013 issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

While probiotics are best known for their positive effects on gut health, they have also been shown to help aid in weight loss, prevent recurring yeast infections, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

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