Persistent diarrhoea is defined as a diarrhoeal episode that starts acutely but then lasts for 14 days or more, and it is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children under five years old in developing countries throughout the world. The cause of persistent diarrhoea is not completely understood but is likely to be complex; this in turn makes management of the condition difficult. Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that are similar to the normal bacteria found in a healthy gut. These so called friendly bacteria have been used in several studies to treat acute infectious diarrhoea with encouraging results. This review found four trials involving children with persistent diarrhoea. Two studies with a combined total of 324, showed that probiotics shorten the duration of diarrhoea and reduce the stool frequency on day-5. One study (235 children) suggested that probiotics reduce the hospital stay. Three out of four trials reported that no adverse events occurred. However, this review is limited by few trials with small number of participants, and therefore may not represent a reliable estimate of probiotics' effect.
Bernaola Aponte, G.; Bada Mancilla, C.A.; Carreazo, N.Y.; Rojas Galarza, R.A. Probiotics for treating persistent diarrhoea in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2013) (Issue 8) Art. No.: CD007401. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007401.pub3]