As the mother of two girls, I do my best to keep them as healthy as I can. I try to provide nutritious meals (although they don’t always eat them) and make sure they get plenty of exercise. I also incorporate probiotics into their daily routine. Here’s why.
Probiotics promote good digestive health
Since my youngest daughter was a toddler, she has struggled with constipation. I personally believe this is a result of the many courses of antibiotics she was given during her early years to address recurring ear infections.
Antibiotics work to by flushing out the bad bugs causing the infection, but they don’t discriminate. They also flush out the good guys the digestive needs to work. Without that good flora, you can be more prone to digestive issues like irregularity and constipation.
Probiotics help restore a healthy balance of good bacteria in the digestive system so it can run smoothly. That means less straining and more regularity—a true blessing for my daughter who has had to deal with constipation for so long.
My girls are still too young to take pills, so I mix a probiotic powder into their drinks or food. One thing to keep in mind is that heat can kill active bacteria. So, you don’t want to mix a probiotic in with hot foods.
Probiotics boost immune system health
A few years ago, I learned of a probiotic strain that had been tested in children and found to reduce the incidences of strep throat  and other viral infections. As I mentioned earlier, my youngest daughter is prone to ear infections, so this research really got my attention.
The strain is called S. salivarius K12 and I started giving my girls one lozenge of the probiotic each day. The lozenge just dissolves in their mouth, so they don’t have to worry about swallowing a big pill.
In the three years they’ve been taking it, my youngest daughter has had just one ear infection. Even better, I can count on one hand the number of times my girls have missed school due to illness. In fact, the first year my older daughter took K12, she had perfect attendance the entire school year.
Probiotics support vaginal and urinary health
When my oldest daughter was about 7 years-old, I noticed that she was itching “down there” quite a bit. It was summer and I just thought she was a bit sweaty. But then cooler weather set in, and the itching didn’t seem to be going away. I took her to the pediatrician to find out what was going on and was surprised to learn that vaginal itching is quite common in young girls.
You see, the female urethra is short—much shorter than a man’s. That means unwanted bacteria can reach the vagina. And, that bacteria can result in irritation, itching and unpleasant odor.
How does the bacteria get there in the first place? The main cause of vaginal itching in young girls is soap irritation. This is especially true if your daughter is taking baths. Bubble baths, or even just shampoo that has been rinsed out of the hair and sitting in the bath water, can irritate the vulva and create an environment that encourages the growth of bad bacteria. Bacteria can also be introduced to the vagina due to improper wiping (going back-to-front instead of front-to-back).
Probiotics help crowd out that bad bacteria for better vaginal health. That means less itching, irritation, and embarrassment for my daughter.
Again, the probiotic is a powder, so I just mix it with cold beverages or food.
Three health concerns, all addressed by probiotics. Not overnight. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to your health. But, with daily use, probiotics have made a world of difference in my girls’ health and happiness.
Lauren Kent is a writer, guest blogger, and consultant for Nutri-Health Supplements http://www.nutri-health.com. Having spent more than 15 years in the health and wellness industry, Lauren is passionate about helping people enjoy more active, vibrant lives through nutrition and supplementation.
 Di Pierro F, Colombo M, Zanvit A, Risso P, Rottoli AS. Use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 in the prevention of streptococcal and viral pharyngotonsillitis in children. Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety. 2014;6:15-20. doi:10.2147/DHPS.S59665.
 Di Pierro F, Donato G, Fomia F, et al. Preliminary pediatric clinical evaluation of the oral probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 in preventing recurrent pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes and recurrent acute otitis media. International Journal of General Medicine. 2012;5:991-997. doi:10.2147/IJGM.S38859.