What's the Poop on Probiotics and Constipation?

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies, Research Reveals: Big Kids

probiotics

Do probiotics relieve constipation in kids? Credit: Corbis

Doctors refer to probiotics as "friendly" bacteria. Why? They help us poop.

Any bacteria that does that is bound to have lots of friends -- especially down at the senior center. But what about the younger crowd? Do probiotics relieve constipation in kids?

Some authorities say. Others say no.

Meanwhile, kids wish adults would make up their %$#@! minds because they really ... have ... to ... poop! And it would be nice if they didn't have to scrunch up their faces like Popeye when they do it.

On the nay of the probiotic debate, according to WebMD, are researchers in Europe who say a fermented dairy product containing a probiotic didn't do jack (pardon the expression) squat to relieve constipation among kids.

Researchers looked at 159 constipated kiddies for two months who pooped less than three times a week. (And you thought you had a weird job.) Half of them were given a probiotic twice a day. The others got nothing but heartache.

Actually, they all ended up with the same aches. Researchers report the probiotics had no effect.

Be that as it may, many parents and physicians continue to give children probiotics for constipation. It's like chicken soup for a cold. It can't hurt.

"It is not unreasonable that parents seeking a safe and natural remedy might turn to probiotics for relief," Sandra Fryhofer, an internal medicine specialist in Atlanta who was not involved in the study, tells WebMD.

The common treatment is for constipated children is giving their parents long-term dietary advice, she adds. This is when most bloated, cramped and anguished patients lunge for a sharp object and demand a laxative.

A laxative is the next step in the process, Tabbers tells WebMD.

That could include a probiotic. Good luck, kids.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.