Probiotics Effects at Preventing Diarrhea


It has been identified that Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is among the most common reasons for the development of complications associated with the use of antibiotics during treatment (Lau & Chamberlain, 2016). Currently, CDI is showing growth in occurrence, with the increasing costs of treatment and substantial rates of mortality and morbidity. It was chosen to assess and summarize the research article by Lau and Chamberlain (2016), who conducted an extensive review of randomized control trials for analyzing the effectiveness of probiotics use for preventing Clostridium difficile as well as complications that accompany the condition (e.g., Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea).

Topic Importance

Clostridium difficile did not present the same challenges several decades ago; however, the modern healthcare system has faced a dramatic spike in occurrence (approximately fifty cases of CDI per one hundred thousand people), with the incidence rate continuing to increase by twenty-five percent each year (Lau & Chamberlain, 2016). It is important to mention that the sudden increase in the occurrence of CDI can be linked to different reasons, among which are resistance to antibiotics as well as the development of new strains (Lau & Chamberlain, 2016).

If to take into consideration the high rates of mortality and morbidity associated with Clostridium difficile as well as the growing incidence of the condition regardless of the adequacy of antibiotic treatment, it is imperative to prevent the disease from occurring rather than treat it when it has already developed. Despite the fact that several approaches for addressing CDI have been introduced, the key procedures for preventing CDI include detection on early stages and patients’ isolation, precautions associated with a contact, and adequate hygiene regime (Lau & Chamberlain, 2016). Since, during the antibiotic treatment, patients are more exposed to bacteria and other infections, it is paramount that appropriate measures are taken for ensuring that the bacteria cannot affect the organism.

Research Findings

After analyzing 26 randomized control trials that, in sum, involved up to 8,000 patients, the researchers found that the use of probiotics had a positive influence on the reduction of risks associated with Clostridium difficile. Patients that took probiotics were less likely (by 60.5%) to develop CDI and complications that accompany the condition (Lau & Chamberlain, 2016). Also, the use of probiotics was shown to be effective among different patient groups (including children); however, hospitalized patients gained the most benefit from taking probiotics. Therefore, Lau and Chamberlain (2016) concluded that supplementation with the help of probiotics was directly linked to the reduced risks of CDI and CDAD development among patients that were prescribed antibiotics for treating their conditions.

Conclusion: Article’s Value

Lau and Chamberlain’s (2016) research is valuable for collecting available information on the topic and making conclusions in favor of probiotics use for addressing clostridium difficile. It was concluded that probiotics could positively influence the function of the gastrointestinal tract by protecting it from bacteria. Also, probiotics have the ability to facilitate normal bacterial flora and subsequently decrease the occurrence of CDI in patients who have been prescribed antibiotics. With regard to CDI-related complications, diarrhea is among the leading conditions. However, research has shown that patients who experience irritable bowel syndrome can get relief through the use of probiotics, as supported by the study conducted by Ford et al. (2014). Overall, probiotics offer patients opportunities to relieve symptoms of Clostridium difficile without having to undergo complicated treatment procedures. Probiotics are readily available and cost-effective, which makes them the most suitable tools for preventing CDI among patients that take antibiotics.


Ford, A., Quigley, E., Lacy, B., Lembo, A., Saito, Y., Schiller, L., … Moayyedi, P. (2014). Efficacy of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics in irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 109(10), 1547-1561.

Lau, C., & Chamberlain, R. (2016). Probiotics are effective at preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of General Medicine, 9, 27-37.