Probiotics appear to be useful in the prevention or treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders, including infectious diarrhea, antibiotic diarrhea, and traveler's diarrhea. Results of preliminary human and animal studies suggest that patients with inflammatory diseases, and even irritable bowel syndrome, may benefit from probiotic therapy. Probiotics represent an exciting therapeutic advance, although much investigation must be undertaken before their role in gastroenterology is clearly delineated. Questions related to probiotic origin, survivability, and adherence are all important considerations for further study. More important, each probiotic proposed must be studied individually and extensively to determine its efficacy and safety in each disorder for which its use may be considered.