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Systematic reviews show:

Probiotics relief constipation 

Constipation is common in children and has a serious impact on their quality of life. Probiotics are used increasingly frequently to treat gastrointestinal health issues. In late 2017, two systematic reviews were published, one of which included a meta-analysis focusing on the effectiveness of probiotics in children with constipation. 

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Up to 30% of all children suffer from constipation

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal condition in children. Constipation is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week or hard, dry stools. It is estimated that around 30 percent of all children have functional constipation, i.e. constipation for which no underlying cause can be found. Many children with constipation have abdominal pain, which is a potential reason for missing school.

Constipation in children is often treated with behavioural therapy (toilet training) and dietary advice (plenty of fibre and fluids), or with pharmaceutical treatments (lactulose or macrogol). Probiotics may be an alternative for the treatment of constipation, since many over-the-counter treatments are not particularly effective. Furthermore, research has shown that probiotics can increase the number of bowel movements and can help to soften stools. Two review studies were recently published focusing on the effect of probiotics in children with constipation.  



Probiotics improve bowel movement frequency

The first study, by two Chinese scientists, concerns a meta-analysis (1) combining the data of all included studies and reanalysing them in order to determine the effect in a larger population. This study used bowel movement frequency as its outcome measure. The researchers included six randomized clinical studies in which different species of probiotic were administered, with a total of 498 children (average age range between 3 and 7).  


The meta-analysis showed that probiotics lead to a statistically significant increase in bowel movement frequency compared to placebo, with a mean difference (MD) of 0.73 (95% CI, -,14-1.31; p=0.02). This means the average bowel movement frequency in the probiotics group was 0.73 higher than in the placebo group. The authors concluded that probiotics can be an effective alternative for the treatment of constipation in children.


The second study was a systematic review by Polish researchers, which included seven studies with a total of 515 participants.(2) Their research showed that in the studies using a multispecies probiotic and the strains Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium longum, a significant positive effect on bowel movement frequency was found.  


The above studies demonstrate that specific probiotics can have a positive effect on bowel movement frequency (an important criteria for constipation). Our probiotic formula Ecologic® Relief is a multispecies probiotic containing B. longum that has been developed specifically to help improve constipation. Research has shown that Ecologic® Relief is effective in children with constipation  (3)




  1. Huang, R., & Hu, J. (2017). Positive effect of probiotics on constipation in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 7, 153.
  2. Wojtyniak, K., & Szajewska, H. (2017). Systematic review: probiotics for functional constipation in children. European journal of pediatrics, 176(9), 1155-1162.
  3. Bongers, M. E., Van den Berg, M. M., Liem, O., & Benninga, M. A. (2007). The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study. Nutrition Journal, 6(1), 17.





Probiotics aid in constipation

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