A new study by Cochrane researchers has claimed that probiotic drinks given as therapies for diarrhoea reduce the length of time sufferers are affected and lessen the chance of episodes continuing for more than four days.
The main treatment is rehydration fluids, but these do not tend to reduce the length of illness, which is crucial in reducing the risk of persistent diarrhoea.
In the study, giving probiotics in conjunction with rehydration fluids reduced the duration of diarrhoea by around a day and reduced the risk of diarrhoea lasting four or more days by 59 percent.
"A striking finding of this review is that most trials reported that probiotics reduced diarrhoea," said lead researcher Stephen Allen of the School of Medicine at Swansea University, UK.
"There were no adverse effects, so these therapies can be used safely in addition to rehydration fluids. However, more research needs to be carried out on the specific strains of bacteria that are effective in treating diarrhoea and on preventing the progression from short-term to persistent diarrhoea," Allen said.