Can Probiotics Cause Acid Reflux?

Can Probiotics Cause Acid Reflux?

When you begin taking probiotics it can be common for several people to experience a few minor side effects early in the beginning; these side effects can include gas, bloating and constipation. These side effects are nothing to be alarmed about as they should last only a couple of days. They should go away in time, on their own. Whilst some minor side effects can be expected when you begin taking a probiotic supplement, it doesn't mean that everyone will experience them; it depends on your body and how it reacts to the new probiotic bacteria. Now if you don't experience any side effects like gas, bloating or even heartburn; don't worry as side effects (or none) is not a clear indication of whether probiotics are working effectively or not. You may experience no side effects at all but still, notice an improvement in your overall digestive and gut health over time. To clarify, minor side effects can occur when you begin a new probiotic supplement but not always. In addition, your side effects (or lack thereof) do not accurately indicate whether or not your probiotics are working effectively! 

Can probiotics cause gas and heartburn?

The majority of people who are taking probiotics regularly do not experience any side effects when taking probiotics whats so ever. However, those few that do, commonly report a minor increase in stomach bloating and passing gas. This can be due to the body and its natural bacteria reacting to the increase in probiotic bacteria from supplements. If you regularly take a high-quality probiotic, it is uncommon to experience heartburn as one of the side effects, but it can happen in rare situations. This can be due to several factors but would typically be a temporary effect of rebalancing your gut and bacteria. Furthermore, another reason might be that your probiotic supplement may not be the right probiotic for you; there are many different types of probiotics on the market but finding the right one for you should be fairly straightforward. If the gastrointestinal, gut and digestive systems are all areas you would like support with to help improve healthy functionality as well as relieve any symptoms of a bacterial imbalance then you might want to look for a high-quality probiotic rich in one of the following bacteria strains: 

  • Bifidobacteria can help improve your body's digestive function and performance as well as tackle ‘unfriendly’ bacteria to limit the risk of a bacterial imbalance affecting your health.
  • Lactobacilli Bacteria is one of the more common bacterial strains that can offer a multitude of benefits like gastrointestinal, gut and digestive support. A popular probiotic supplement!

These probiotics can BE highly beneficial for GERD symptoms (like heartburn and acid reflux) as they can help neutralise ‘harmful’ bacteria that could affect your gut or digestive health; thus causing your heartburn or reflux! If your gut bacteria is neutralised, the chances of heartburn or stomach acid flowing back up towards your mount (reflux) are significantly decreased. 

Why does my stomach burn after probiotics?

If you are experiencing any burning sensations inside the stomach whilst you are taking probiotics then this might be caused by the probiotics stimulating more histamine inside the body; which can trigger stomach acid increase as well as reflux. Again this is not a very common side effect of probiotics, but if this is something you experience regularly then you might want to seek some professional advice from your GP or potentially look at an alternative probiotic supplement. Stomach burn, due to an increase in stomach acid, when taking probiotics cannot always be ruled down to eating too quickly before or after taking a probiotic; which can affect the effectiveness of probiotics. Stomach burn, acid reflux or heartburn could all potentially happen even without the obstruction of food entering the body too near to taking a probiotic supplement. 

Microbes used as probiotics are already present inside your body therefore supplement probiotics are generally considered very safe and pose few risks as the body is already familiar with similar bacteria. The combination of both natural and supplements probiotic bacteria could trigger allergic reactions like mild stomach upset, diarrhoea or passing gas but only for a few days in the beginning. Stomach burn, heartburn and acid reflux are not common side effects that should end up being persistent when taking probiotics daily. Again, this might be a sign to change your probiotic supplement or seek advice from your GP if stomach burn persists!

Can gut bacteria cause acid reflux?

Yes, gut bacteria can be responsible for causing acid reflux! If your gut microbiome is disrupted, this can cause an imbalance in the microbiota. This can cause a change in the functional composition and metabolic activity of the gut; increasing the risk of acid reflux. The change in the microbiota can cause the gut bacteria to be un-stabilised, increasing your risk of bloating, constipation, indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux and even diarrhoea. These symptoms are a classic sign of an imbalance of ‘good’ bacteria inside the gut! The gas that can be produced by ‘harmful’ bacteria overpopulated and residing in the small intestine can put pressure on the small intestine and the stomach; this pressure build-up can end up pushing stomach acid back out and into the oesophagus. That is how unbalanced bacteria in the gut can cause acid reflux! 

How can I heal my gut from acid reflux?

Taking suitable high-quality probiotics can help keep your gut healthy and ensure an imbalance of ‘harmful’ bacteria does not impact your small intestines thus putting pressure on the stomach and causing acid reflux. In addition to suitable probiotics, your gut  can also benefit from some minor lifestyle changes:

  • Eat smaller meals to not overload your stomach.
  • Eat slowly and relaxed as rushing can also affect your gut.
  • Avoid eating too late at night as lying day afterwards can increase your chances of acid reflux.
  • Remain upright after meals to allow food to be digested correctly to avoid digestive issues. 
  • Don’t exercise immediately after eating as this can increase heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Limit carbonated drinks as these can affect stomach acid which can also cause reflux. 

These steps can help ensure your risk of experiencing acid reflux or similar symptoms remains low. 

For more information on probiotics, check out our Health Insiders Blog catalogue as we have many posts that you may find equally beneficial!