This paper addresses research done on the affects of probiotics on childhood constipation. The research was a pilot study to determine if further research should be done in the area and its findings were significant to showing positive affects between probiotic use and symptom reduction. This paper summarizes the research, answers questions about the research methods and addresses the importance of the study. Keep on moving – a research overview on the effects of probiotics on childhood constipation. There is a new kid on the block when it comes to health food trends these days and it comes by the name of ‘probiotics’.
It is a live active culture most advertized in yogurt and beverage products and labels lay claim to the metabolic, digestive, and many other health benefits that come from its ingestion. However, the research to back up these claims had not really been done until recently. In a study published in Nutrition Journal in 2007, doctors Bekkali, Bongers, Van den Berg, Liem, and Benninga reported their research with regards to digestive benefits in children in a study entitled The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study.
The study looked at the use of probiotics in reducing constipation in children to address the mixed results of previous studies in adults and to differentiate between the use of single or multiple probiotic strains. The 20 children participating in the study were 4-6 years of age (median age 8) and presented with constipation defined by the Rome III criteria. A baseline was taken of all children by assessing medical histories and defecation patterns. A physical exam was also given including a digital rectal exam to check for masses.
During the study, children were not allowed the use of laxatives, so the potential effectiveness of probiotics could be assessed. Participants were given a daily mixture of probiotics containing Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. Data collected consisted of frequency of bowel movements and fecal incontinence, stool consistency, and side effects (abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating).
Daily bowel journals were maintained and routine physical exams were given. Of the data collected, bowel frequency in children did show an increase, but a statistical significance (p < . 05) was only seen in children who at baseline presented with less than three bowel movements per week. For stool consistency there was no significant change or correlation for subjects as a whole throughout the study. There was a significant decrease in the number of fecal incontinence episodes per week as well as a significant decrease in abdominal pain. Based on these results is seems that probiotics could be an attractive alternative to tradition methods used to treat constipation. Probiotics have a high safety index and limited if any side effects.