10% off all orders. Use code JAN10OFF at checkout to apply coupon. Expires Monday, 2/2/2015, 11:59 pm EST. Online only.
plus get free shipping on orders over $25. Order by 6 p.m. ET Ships same day. Learn more.
Reorder products. See your order history.
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $25 or more.

How to get FREE Shipping:
1. Place your online order of $25 or more*
2. Ship to an address within the United States (including U.S. territories)
3. Your shipment should arrive within 2-6 business days from your order

* Your total purchase must reach the designated amount after any discounts are applied and prior to the costs of shipping and tax.
Order by 6, We'll Ship the Same Day

Domestic orders placed Monday - Friday by 6 p.m. Eastern Time will be packed and shipped the same day, pending verification of billing information and the shipping method selected. International orders and orders containing gift cards, out-of-stock items or refrigerated items will be processed as quickly as possible, but won't necessarily be shipped out the same day.

Excludes all orders placed on major US holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day).


Health Guides
Health Concerns
Vitamin Guide
Herbal Remedies
Weight Control
Sports & Fitness
Women's Health
Men's Health
Safety Checker
Food Guide
Personal Health Tools
 Print this article

Probiotics May Ease Childhood Constipation

Probiotics May Ease Childhood Constipation: Main Image
After four weeks, symptoms improved--some of them dramatically

Children suffering from ongoing constipation may get some relief from taking a probiotic supplement, says a study in Nutrition Journal.

About 3% of children in Western countries live with chronic constipation and its symptoms, including infrequent bowel movements (less than three times per week), fecal incontinence, and passage of large and painful stools. The cause may have to do with previous episodes of painful bowel movements that lead to subsequent anxiety and "holding" behaviors, or resistance to using toilets other than their own.

New treatments needed

Most children are treated with a combination of education, toilet training, and laxatives, but only about half of them improve enough to be able to discontinue taking laxatives. Many children also don't tolerate laxatives very well and experience uncomfortable side effects like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and excessive gas.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that have a beneficial effect on gastrointestinal health. Yogurt and the cultured milk drink, kefir, are the most common dietary sources of probiotics. Research has indicated these "healthy bugs" may help relieve adult constipation but less is known about how they work in children.

The new study looked at 20 constipated children between ages 3 and 16 to see how a supplement containing the probiotic, Bifidobacterium breve, would affect their symptoms after taking it for four weeks. The children (or parents) kept track of their symptoms during the study.

Preliminary proof gives probiotics a thumb's up

While the new trial results need to be confirmed in larger studies, it looks like probiotics may be a promising treatment for children with constipation. After four weeks of taking one hundred million to ten billion CFUs (colony forming units) of Bifidobacterium breve every day, symptoms improved, some of them dramatically. No side effects occurred during probiotic treatment.

What the experts are saying

"Having a child who's suffered from constipation, I can say that it can really take its toll on their overall health," says Erica LePore, naturopathic doctor and mother of three young children. "The pain and discomfort that go along with constipation can be debilitating. I'd feel comfortable giving probiotics a try, even though they haven't been extensively tested in children for this purpose. The fact that they're found naturally in fermented and cultured foods gives me a degree of ease that I might not otherwise have when treating a child for this condition."

(Nutr J 2011;doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-19)

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation's premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

sign up. save big!

invalid email address entered. please try again.

almost there! click sign me up for exclusive coupons, great deals, early access to sales and info on how to stay healthy & fit.  view our privacy policy.