Safety Issues in Using Probiotics for Constipation in Toddlers
For years now, adults have been using probiotics for constipation. In toddlers however, the issue may be more sensitive than it is for adults. For one, toddlers or kids are more likely to react negatively to new supplements or medications or even food. Before giving your kids anything to solve their constipation problem, there are some things you need to consider first.
Constipation in toddlers
It is quite common among toddlers to suffer from constipation or diarrhea at one time or another. After all, we know that kids have a tendency to put everything in their mouth without being aware of their potential harmful effects. It is more difficult to address this kind of problem among children, particularly those who have yet to develop a recognizable form of speech. The very young are mostly unable to explain or put into words what is bothering them, making it more difficult for adults to find a solution.
Ordinarily, constipation and other digestive disorders are caused by an imbalance in the digestive system. Our gut is home to a host of bacteria, good and bad. The good ones should always outnumber the bad ones for us to avoid any of the digestive illnesses that are commonly caused by unfriendly microorganisms.
Are probiotics safe for kids?
Probiotics are often recommended to adults who suffer from digestive disorders. However, when it comes to kids, a bit more caution is needed since their bodies are not as well adapted as those of adults. Probiotics, the live microorganisms that keep bad bacteria at bay, have been found to be relatively safe.
However, when using probiotics for constipation in toddlers, parents should always be there to supervise as kids are not as strong as adults. It is also advisable to consult a doctor first before giving a child any supplement, food or medication meant to relieve his or her constipation problem.
Do probiotics work?
As stated earlier, probiotics are quite safe. But if we are talking about efficacy, it may not be as black and white as we want it to be. Some experts have stated that the benefits that probiotics can provide to our body are quite minimal. This is because probiotics can be destroyed by the acid present in our stomach or by manufacturing processes needed to create a supplement or a food product.
Moreover, the functions they perform are actually already available through the good bacteria that are naturally present in our gut, so taking probiotics may not even make much difference. In recent years, health experts have found a better option to probiotics – the so-called prebiotics.
What are prebiotics?
These are food ingredients that are non-digestible and can be found in natural sources like kiwi fruit, asparagus, chicory root and other plant species. Since they are non-digestible, they can reach the stomach without being altered or destroyed and are able to perform their function without any problem.
This function entails feeding the good bacteria that are naturally present in the gut. The healthier these good bacteria are, the better equipped we are in protecting ourselves from the diseases caused by bad bacteria. For children, prebiotics have also been found to be safe, although adult supervision, as always, is still needed. The use of probiotics for constipation in toddlers is also quite safe, but it is not as effective as using prebiotics.