Babies and children commonly experience loose stools

- Lactobacillus rhamnosus, LGG® may help

Young child diarrhea and the role of some probiotic strains

Loose and watery stools occur frequently in babies and young children.6 Globally, every child under three years of age will have at least one episode of occasional loose stools each year.6 

What is meant by occasional loose stools?

When the digestive system is healthy and balanced, it is able to absorb fluids.7 However, when the balance of bacteria in the gut is disturbed, too much water may be drawn into the bowels,8 which can result in loose, watery stools.

Scientific studies have shown that some probiotic strains may be helpful for digestive health.9, 10 LGG® is one such strain; it has been associated with supporting a healthy digestive system by helping to balance gut bacteria.

Read more at what are probiotics?

Baby being examined for stomach problems

Occasional loose stools typically occur for three reasons:

  • Unexpected loose stools
  • Loose stools related to some health care interventions
  • Hospitalization-related loose stools

Unexpected loose stools

When potentially harmful bacteria enter the digestive system, people sometimes experience unexpected loose stools due to the harmful bacteria disturbing the optimal balance of the gut microbiome.11 Unexpected loose stools describe the occurrence of loose or watery stools at least three times per day, or more often than is normal for a particular individual,12 typically lasting less than 7 days and no more than 14 days.13 Children under 3 years of age typically experience 0.5 to 1.9 episodes of unexpected loose stools each year.14


Unexpected loose stools may be alleviated by some probiotic strains

It is crucial to hydrate during and after an episode of unexpected loose stools by drinking plenty of water and fluids.13 In addition, taking the LGG® probiotic strain has been associated with shorter episodes of unexpected loose stools.1, 2 
Read more about the Chr. Hansen LGG® strain

Health care interventions for health conditions can result in loose, watery stools

Some products used to alleviate health conditions eliminate not only the harmful bacteria that have entered the gut but also the resident beneficial bacteria, and therefore disturb the rich and diverse ecosystem of bacteria that help keep us healthy. This impacts the digestive system and can result in loose, watery stools.14, 15, 16, 17  

The LGG® probiotic may help 

In children given interventions to alleviate health conditions, supplementation with the LGG® strain has been associated with fewer instances of loose, watery stools.3, 4 When a health care professional proposes interventions for alleviating specific health conditions, ask question for how to simultaneously support the gut microbiome. 
Read more about the Chr. Hansen LGG® strain

Hospitalization-related loose stools and the use of some probiotic strains 

Hospitalization can be associated with exposure to potentially harmful bacteria, which may upset the balance of gut bacteria and result in further health conditions and the development of loose stools.18 In developed countries, depending on factors such as time of year, the percentage of children who develop these additional health conditions ranges from 5.1% - 11.6%,19 with conditions affecting the digestive system accounting for the majority.20, 21, 22 The costs associated with hospitalization-related health conditions are high, for instance, they can extend the length of a hospital stay.5
In one study, supplementation with the LGG® strain was associated with fewer instances of hospitalization-related digestive and respiratory conditions in children.
Read more here.  

Probiotics may be helpful when experiencing occasional loose, watery stools

Loose, watery stools are often the result of an imbalance in the bacteria of the digestive system. Probiotics may help address this imbalance and increase the diversity of the bacteria, which can help limit conditions affecting the digestive system and loose, watery stools.
Read about other Chr. Hansen probiotic strains, or how to choose a probiotic product

LGG® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.

The article is provided for informational purposes regarding probiotics and is not meant to suggest that any substance referenced in the article is intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent any disease.

Bifidobacterium, BB-12® 

The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium, BB-12® is the world’s most documented probiotic Bifidobacterium. It has been extensively studied and has been associated with benefits for several areas of health.

BB-12® is a trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S

BB-12 consumer logo TM

References Open Close

  1. Aggarwal S, et al. Indian J Med Res. 2014;139(3):379-85. (PubMed)
  2. Isolauri E, et al. Pediatrics. 1991;88(1):90-7. (PubMed)
  3. Arvola T, et al. Pediatrics. 1999;104(5):e64. (PubMed)
  4. Vanderhoof JA, et al. The Journal of Pediatrics. 1999;135(5):564-8. (PubMed)
  5. Hojsak I, et al. Pediatrics. 2010;125(5):e1171-7. (PubMed)
  6. Thiagarajah JR, et al. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015;12(8):446-57. (PubMed)
  7. Hodges K, Gill R. Gut Microbes. 2010;1(1):4-21. (PubMed)
  8. Walker CLF, et al. Lancet. 2013;381(9875):1405-16. (PubMed)
  9. Lemberg DA, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 2007;43(5):331-6. (PubMed)
  10. Yan F, et al. Gastroenterology. 2007;132(2):562-75. (PubMed)
  11. Lo Vecchio A, et al. Vaccine. 2017;35(12):1637-44. (PubMed)
  12. World Health Organisation. Accessed May 21, 2021 (Source)
  13. Szajewska H, et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014;58(4):531-9. (PubMed)
  14. McFarland LV. Dig Dis. 1998;16(5):292-307. (PubMed)
  15. Barbut F, Meynard JL. BMJ. 2002;324(7350):1345-6. (PubMed)
  16. McFarland LV, et al. J Infect Dis. 1990;162(3):678-84. (PubMed)
  17. Hasan N, Yang H. PeerJ. 2019;7:e7502-e. (PubMed)
  18. World Health Organization. Accessed May 21, 2021. (Source)
  19. World Health Organisation. Accessed May 21, 2021. (Source)
  20. Muhlemann K, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2004;25(9):765-71. (PubMed)
  21. Rutledge-Taylor K, et al. Am J Infect Control. 2012;40(6):491-6. (PubMed)
  22. Kinnula S, et al. J Hosp Infect. 2012;80(1):17-24. (PubMed)
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