When Stomach Flu Strikes, Work With, Not Against, Body's Natural Defenses

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Noted Gastroenterologist Offers Tips for Treatment

Anti-diarrheal drugs such as loperamide have their place, for instance if you're traveling and anticipate time without access to a restroom

As many as 90 million cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) affect Americans each year, according to eMedicine from WebMD. AGE, an inflammation of the digestive tract, is often caused by a viral, bacterial or parasitic infection. Victims are usually hit by sudden onset diarrhea, and the most common response is to seek drugs that will make it stop - immediately!

However, some doctors warn that many of the drugs used to stop diarrhea can actually be counterproductive if misused.

"Anti-diarrheal drugs such as loperamide have their place, for instance if you're traveling and anticipate time without access to a restroom," says Patricia Raymond, M.D., noted board-certified gastroenterologist, author and assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School. "However, what you're essentially doing is holding in the toxins that your body is trying to get out, and it's treating the symptom, not the cause."

Dr. Raymond offers the following tips to aid in the treatment of AGE:

•Consider the use of probiotics to help strengthen the gut by supplying it with beneficial microbiota to help battle the pathogens that have "taken over." Data(1) has shown that Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast-based supplement commonly sold under the brand name Florastor, can modify the inflammation and secretion of the gut, neutralize toxins and decrease various pathogens' ability to attach to the wall of the intestine. "For someone suffering from diarrhea due to gastroenteritis, Florastor can help restore normal bowel function."
•Pay careful attention to staying hydrated while the illness takes its course, and if the symptoms persist for more than three or four days or are associated with high fever, abdominal pain, or blood in the stool, see a doctor because the condition may require antibiotic treatment.

Florastor is available in bottles of 10 capsules for a suggested price of $10.95, 50 capsules for a suggested price of $43.95, or a 20-capsule blister pack for a suggested price of $21.95. Visit http://www.florastor.com to find out where to purchase Florastor in your area and http://www.sboulardii.com for clinical studies.

(1). A 1990 study published in the German medical journal Müncher Medizinische Wochenschrift found S. boulardii to be effective in treating acute diarrhea in adults. The patients took four capsules containing 50 mg of S. boulardii three times a day for two days and followed with two capsules three times a day for five days. The study found a significant reduction in the group treated with S. boulardii versus those treated with the placebo.

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Christina Occhipinti
Florastor
914-241-0086 ext. 14
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