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Is Your Kid Struggling to Poop? Here's Why Prebiotics Are for You

Here at Begin Health, a common concern we hear from parents is that their kid is struggling to poop. Our kiddos’ digestive health is a key indicator of overall health, so maintaining good gut health is crucial for a healthier kiddo. Constipation and irregularity in kids can be distressing both physically and emotionally. Let’s review how prebiotics could be a potential solution for when your kiddo is struggling with constipation and irregularity.

Factors that Affect Digestion in Kids

Kids can face constipation due to various factors such as:

  • Diet

  • Hydration

  • Lack of fiber

  • Insufficient beneficial bacteria in the gut

  • Underlying medical conditions such as Hirschsprung disease or Celiac’s disease

While this list is not inclusive of all the factors, it’s a few of the more common reasons that contribute to constipation in kids.

The Role of Prebiotics in Supporting Constipation Relief

Prebiotics act as nutrients for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting their growth and optimal function. Friendly bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus help contribute to happier digestion and regularity by improving stool consistency and promoting gut motility [1]. Combining prebiotics with probiotics provides a synergistic effect in the gut microbiome to build a balanced microbiome and decreases the symptoms associated with digestive imbalances such as constipation.

Why Prebiotics Might Help Your Constipated Kid

  • Supporting Gut Microbiota Balance. Prebiotics nurture the growth of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria in the gut to build a healthy gut environment, crucial for regularity and happier movements [1].

  • Improving Stool Consistency. By enhancing water absorption in the intestines, Prebiotics helps soften stools, making them easier to pass by enhancing water absorption in the intestines, reducing discomfort [2].

  • Regulating Bowel Movements. Prebiotics can stimulate bowel regularity by increasing bowel frequency, helping digestive systems in little ones work optimally [1].

Natural Sources of Prebiotic Fiber

Prebiotics can be found in variety of fruits and vegetables such as:

  • Apples

  • Bananas

  • Carrots

  • Artichokes

  • Leeks

  • Berries

For more ideas of how to incorporate prebiotics into your kiddo’s diet, check out 5 Examples of Prebiotic Foods Kids Love and Gut Friendly Smoothies for Kids.

Begin Health Expert Tip: Considering prebiotics for your constipated kiddo may involve incorporating both prebiotic foods and supplements. Look for prebiotic products designed specifically for little ones without added sugars or artificial additives, such as Begin Health’s Growing Up Prebiotics. It’s made with only 2 ingredients: chicory root fiber and human milk oligosaccharides and provides 3g of fiber per serving. Add into your kiddo’s daily water or favorite drink for an easy way to support their digestive system.
Summary: If your kid is struggling with symptoms from constipation such as painful and infrequent bowel movements, incorporating prebiotics as a part of their daily routine can be a gentler and more natural way to provide relief. Prebiotics can be found in foods such as apples, berries, and carrots. Clinical evidence supports the role of prebiotics such as chicory root fiber in helping with softer and more frequent stooling in kids within six weeks of daily use [2].

While prebiotics can be beneficial, it's best to consult a pediatrician or your kid’s personal healthcare provider before introducing any new supplement to their routine, especially if your little one has specific health conditions or is taking other medications.

References:

[1] Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 15;9(9):1021. doi: 10.3390/nu9091021. PMID: 28914794; PMCID: PMC5622781.

[2] Closa-Monasterolo, R., Ferré, N., Castillejo-DeVillasante, G., Luque, V., Gispert-Llauradó, M., Zaragoza-Jordana, M., Theis, S., & Escribano, J. (2016). The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 68(5), 587–594. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605

May Zhu, RDN

May Zhu, RDN

May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.



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