Among the many common questions, parents of babies have is about the relationship between probiotics and colic.
Colic can be defined as a condition where an infant cries excessively and for more than three hours per day on more than three days per week.
Parents often wonder what they can do to ease their baby’s discomfort or stop it altogether.
Insight into colic symptoms
Some think that probiotics could help with colic symptoms but there is inconclusive evidence to support this claim.
More research needs to be done in order for us to better understand how probiotics affect colic symptoms.
Until then, you may want to try some other options such as feeding your child smaller meals more frequently rather than larger ones less often, burping them after each meal, placing them in a car seat with a hard surface underneath them, and swaddling them.
In fact, for most babies, getting rid of all the things that make your baby cry can have a big impact on how often they cry. You can also try changing their milk from formula to breast milk or vice versa.
Another option is giving your baby a single-grain rice cereal if they are over four months old. This change may also help your baby sleep through the night, which is very important for parents.
Finally, try to talk with other parents who have gone through similar experiences with their babies so you can learn how they were able to cope with them and discover some new ideas.
It’s also best to speak to your pediatrician in order to get a professional opinion.
What probiotic is good for colic?
Colic is a painful, distressing condition of an otherwise healthy infant that interferes with normal feeding and sleeping patterns.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of simethicone for gas relief in colicky infants because it can decrease intestinal gas resulting from swallowed air or certain foods.
However, if infant discomfort persists despite standard therapy with simethicone, the addition of a probiotic may be helpful. Probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer some health benefit on the host.
Studies have shown that there is an interaction between microbiota and immune systems. The infant’s microbiota is in a critical developmental state during the first 6 months of life, which can have consequences for health later in life.
Since the intestinal microbiota begins to develop at birth, early feeding practices significantly influence its composition and functionality throughout life.
Early microbial exposures may be important for the prevention of allergic diseases. This has led to the recommendation that probiotics should be given early in life, for example during pregnancy and lactation, or during the first weeks of an infant’s life.
Probiotic supplementation may potentially alleviate symptoms of colic by preventing intestinal permeability, which is an important factor underlying allergy development, and modulate the immune response in infants.
Research into probiotics and colic
A recent randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial showed that the administration of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 resulted in a statistically significant decrease in crying time in breastfed infants with colic when compared to the placebo group.
However, a significant result was seen only in a subgroup of infants where the maternal intake of, and exposure to cows’ milk were restricted.
Another double-blind placebo-controlled trial showed that the administration of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 relieves symptoms of colic within 3 days after the start of treatment.
In addition, prolonged administration was associated with a significant decrease in crying time when compared to the control group.
What are the signs of colic?
The most common clinical sign of infantile colic is intense, excessive crying. Infants have been described as “colicky” only when bouts of inconsolable crying occur at least three times per week and last for several hours each day. Symptoms may be episodic or continuous in nature.
If an infant has frequent bowel movements (> 3/day), there is usually no abdominal distension or visible pain. Infantile colic can be considered idiopathic if it starts before 4 weeks (most cases) or 6 weeks (in rare cases). It should resolve by 12 weeks of age.
Infantile colic is characterized by bouts of crying in otherwise healthy infants, usually in the evening. The cause of infantile colic is unknown.
What are symptoms of gas?
Symptoms that may occur when there is too much gas in your digestive system include:
The pain or discomfort can be felt below the ribs and above the hips. Pain due to gas is often relieved with burping or passing stool/gas (flatus).
This may help rule out other conditions such as acid reflux (also called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD), intestinal obstruction, intussusception, Hirschsprung’s disease, and colitis (inflammation of the colon).
Sometimes a detailed exam of the abdomen and the medical history is all that is needed to diagnose the problem. Sometimes imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI are used.
The doctor may also use a telescope-like instrument called an endoscope to look for blockages or narrowing of the digestive system.
There are many benefits to taking probiotics, even if you don’t have colic. Studies show that the gut microbiome can play a significant role in everything from weight management and immunity to mood disorders like depression.
If you want to improve your general health or prevent chronic diseases, it may be worth considering adding more fermented foods into your diet, even before trying other treatments for colic.
The important thing is not just what but also when we eat these live microorganisms so they can colonize our intestines where they produce enzymes that break down food, regulate inflammation levels, synthesize vitamins, and keep harmful microbes away.
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