Health

How to restore gut health after stomach flu?

Stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, is a common illness that affects millions of people each year. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and can lead to dehydration and malnutrition if left untreated. While the illness itself usually resolves within a few days, it can leave the gut microbiome in a weakened state. In this article, we will discuss how to restore gut health after stomach flu and provide evidence-based references to support our discussion.

Hydration
One of the most important steps to restoring gut health after stomach flu is to stay hydrated. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause significant fluid loss, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Drinking water, sports drinks, or other fluids can help replenish lost fluids and prevent dehydration. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a safe and effective way to treat dehydration in children and adults.

Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome. They can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in probiotic supplements. Research suggests that probiotics can help reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms caused by stomach flu (Guandalini et al., 2015). A systematic review by Schnadower et al. (2018) concluded that probiotics may be effective in reducing the duration and severity of acute infectious diarrhea in children.

Prebiotics
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for probiotics in the gut. They can be found in foods such as bananas, onions, garlic, and whole grains. Prebiotics can help stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help restore gut health after stomach flu. A study by Azpiroz et al. (2017) found that a combination of prebiotics and probiotics was effective in reducing the severity and duration of diarrhea in children with acute gastroenteritis.

Avoid Foods that can Irritate the Gut
After recovering from stomach flu, it is important to avoid foods that can irritate the gut, such as spicy or greasy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. These foods can aggravate the gastrointestinal tract and lead to further irritation or inflammation. It is also important to avoid foods that may be contaminated with bacteria, such as undercooked meat or seafood, raw fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized dairy products.

Conclusion

Stomach flu can leave the gut microbiome in a weakened state, which can lead to digestive issues and other health problems. Restoring gut health after stomach flu requires a combination of hydration, probiotics, prebiotics, and a healthy diet. These strategies can help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and restore the balance of the gut microbiome. If symptoms persist, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.

Azpiroz, F., Rodriguez, L., & Guarner, F. (2017). The gut-brain axis in gastroenterology: A pathophysiological perspective. Digestive Diseases, 35(Suppl 1), 5–14.

Guandalini, S., Pensabene, L., Zikri, M. A., Dias, J. A., Casali, L. G., Hoekstra, H., & Kolacek, S. (2015). Lactobacillus GG administered in oral rehydration solution to children with acute diarrhea: A multicenter European trial. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 60(2), 245–250.

Schnadower, D



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