ChildrenDiarrhea/ConstipationPre, Pro, Synbiotics

The status of probiotics to treat functional constipation

Functional constipation is an umbrella term covering persistent, difficult, infrequent, or seemingly incomplete defecation without a known cause.

Researchers from The Medical University of Warsaw, in Dzialdowska, Poland reviewed the evidence in adults in children.

First, the details.

  • 5 studies in 377 people were reviewed — 3 in adults, 2 in children.

And, the results.

  • In adults,
    • Data suggest a favorable effect of treatment with Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, and Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 on defecation frequency and stool consistency.
  • In children,
    • L. casei rhamnosus Lcr35, but not L. rhamnosus GG, showed a beneficial effect.

The bottom line?

Despite the encouraging findings, the authors concluded, “The use of probiotics for the treatment of constipation condition should be considered investigational.”

3/16/10 20:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.