The microbes in a child's intestines have a lot of work to do. Every day they are faced with new environmental influences, new foods and - above all - stress; all of which pose a huge challenge for the gut flora. Between the ages of 2 and 8 years old, the composition of the gut flora is changing constantly, making it more susceptible to harmful bacteria. On top of this, children in this age group already have to cope with a high level of stress.
Many children spend 35-40 hours a week at nursery, followed by time with family, hobbies and play. They then go to school which means homework, friends, hobbies and bullying: all of which can really upset a child's stomach. A lot of children complain of stomach ache, with diarrhoea, constipation and/or gas. It isn't unusual for children at primary school to already be suffering from pronounced irritable bowel syndrome.
Digestive problems cause further stress for children. It is extremely important that children eat a healthy and varied diet that is rich in nutrients. Supplementation with good lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, alleviate stomach complaints in children. Time-out periods of total calm and boredom are crucial for children, so that the intestinal flora can recover and stabilise.
Food intolerances to substances including lactose, gluten and fructose, are increasing dramatically right now. If they are not correctly diagnosed or go ignored, this can lead to inflammation of the bowel, especially in children. In a child, the intestinal mucosa (walls of the bowel) is not yet thick enough to fight everything off. If inflammation becomes more serious or recurs repeatedly, this is termed chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease are among these conditions.
Both conditions are incurable and recur in episodes or attacks. Crohn's Disease can affect a child's entire GI tract: the inflammation appears in patches, with areas of healthy bowel in between. In children, the mouth and stomach are often affected. It also appears that the condition progresses more rapidly in children. It is particularly important that a diagnosis is obtained quickly so that appropriate treatment can be initiated.
Obesity is a growing problem in our society. It is not only America that is affected: Germany is also among the top countries with an overweight population. The worst fact is that it's not only adults who are obese: one in three children in Germany are obese or heading towards it. The most common reason for this is poor and irregular diet.
It's not because children in Germany aren't getting enough sport and exercise. According to the Robert Koch Institute, kids today get just as much exercise as children 40 years ago. But again, gut flora plays a key role here.
A child's intestine is susceptible to colonisation by bad bacteria. Assisted by poor eating habits, bad bacteria establish themselves in the child's intestine, which also disrupt the child's metabolism of fat. It is very important that these children receive treatment with the correct bacteria, in conjunction with a nutritious and regular diet.
Cleansing the intestine and restoring a healthy gut flora with lactic acid bacteria twice a year is especially important for children. It strengthens the immune system, prevents allergies and helps the intestinal mucosa to develop a resistance to stress. In the case of severe gastrointestinal infections, treatment for a minimum of 3-6 months in recommended.
It is particularly important that children receiving antibiotics rebuild a healthy gut flora, and this can begin at the same time as they are taking the antibiotics.
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