Intestinal flora - Definition

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Definition


The intestinal flora, also called intestinal microbiota, consists of different bacteria and other microorganisms that occur naturally in the digestive tract. These intestinal bacteria number in the millions and help the functioning of the body by assisting in the degradation of certain absorbable substrate molecules. They also protect against the invasion of pathogenic bacteria in the digestive tract, bacteria which may be responsible for disease. Factors such as stress, antibiotics, and diet can affect the balance of the intestinal flora and, in the case of imbalance, digestive disorders such as bloating, diarrhea, or vomiting may occur.