What causes it ?
It can be caused by parasites or viruses, but in 80% of cases, bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Shigella spp., Salmonella spp or Campylobacter jejuni are the culprits.
These enteropathogens cause traveller’s diarrhoea via several mechanisms:
- by adhering to the gut lumen,
- by invading cells and multiplying, causing cell death,
- by producing toxic substances.
These pathogens colonise the gut of the traveller, who does not have the immune defences required to fight them. That’s because travel can affect the body’s normal defence mechanisms due to stress, time differences, unfamiliar foods, water, etc. The protective bacteria usually present in the gut will be disrupted and can no longer prevent enteropathogens from adhering to its wall, changing the intestinal physiology and causing dysbiosis.
The main symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea are liquid stools, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting and fever. Although they are not usually dangerous, they can have serious repercussions, such as dehydration, in children, the elderly, or people who are already weak or immunocompromised.
Why take probiotics when traveling ?
Consumed before, during and after the trip
Balanced intestinal microbiota
Reinforced barrier function
Immune system stimulation
Improved digestive comfort
Is it possible to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea by taking probiotics?
Colonisation by these harmful bacteria can be avoided if probiotics are taken preventively. Taking probiotics daily before, during and after a trip abroad slows the proliferation of these unwanted organisms thanks to their barrier effect. Several different action mechanisms are attributed to probiotics:
by competing for nutrients ;
by blocking adhesion sites on the gut wall ;
or via antagonism, by secreting enzymes and bacteriocins that are toxic for the pathogen
In addition, thanks to their immunomodulating effects, probiotics support the immune system, reinforcing the body’s natural responses: they stimulate the immune cells, which increase their secretion of antibodies against the antigens of the pathogens.
Probiotics are widely acknowledged to improve symptoms related to digestive discomfort, alleviating problems such as bloating, cramps and abdominal pain. Scientific studies have shown that they are particularly useful in traveller’s diarrhoea: they help reduce the risk of contracting the problem in the first place, but also the duration of diarrhoea episodes and their recurrence.