Just imagine: in the digestive tract of each of us more than 500 species of very different bacteria live. Together they are called microflora. Among this diversity there are bacteria that make up the normal, that is useful, microflora and dangerous microorganisms.
Between the outside world and the intestines there is a constant exchange of microbes, so the composition of intestinal bacteria changes, and if the balance between beneficial and harmful members of this team is disturbed, dysbacteriosis occurs.
The number of microbes living in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract is very large: for example, the stomach contains about 1000 microbes / ml, in the small intestine – 10 000 microns / ml, in the ileum – about 100 000 microns / ml, and in the large intestine about a trillion microns / ml.
There are bacteria that make up normal, that is, beneficial, intestinal microflora, and dangerous (pathogenic) microorganisms that can cause diseases.
In babies, if they are healthy, about 95–98% of the intestinal microflora are bifidobacteria and lactobacteria. These are microorganisms that live in it all the time.
But there are also random bacteria that transit through the intestines and do not always cause disease (they are called opportunistic microbes), they make up only 1–4% of the total flora.
- First of all, it protects the baby from dangerous and not very dangerous germs. Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli live in the mucous layer covering the intestinal wall, and due to their presence it becomes dense and impermeable to other microorganisms.
- It helps the metabolic processes, partially breaks down proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber.
- Bifidobacteria are involved in the metabolism of bile acids and the formation in the colon of special acids and organic substances that regulate intestinal activity.
- Promotes the development of the immune system of the baby.
- Affects the ability of the intestinal mucosa to absorb nutrients.
- Participates in the production of vitamins K, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, PP, folic and pantothenic acids.
Intestinal microflora is the whole universe, which is inhabited by bacteria that are good and dangerous to health. In order not to get lost in this variety, take a look at our tablet.
|Permanent flora (“local residents”)||Bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, bacteroids, E. coli, veylonellas, fusobacteria|
|Incremental flora (“guests”)||Staphylococcus, mushrooms|
|Random flora (“transients”)||Conditionally pathogenic microorganisms (Klebsiella, Proteus, Streptococcus, Clostridia and others)|
The balance between different groups of microorganisms is very important for the health of the baby, and although not all deviations from the norm are considered painful, nevertheless, their appearance indicates that the living and working conditions of the microbes are violated. After all, changes in the composition of the microflora are only a consequence of some phenomena in the body; knowingly, doctors say that dysbacteriosis is not a diagnosis, but a condition. Dysbacteriosis in the intestines often does not manifest itself, disturbances in the composition of the microflora can recover quickly and imperceptibly to the body.
Deterioration of well-being begins when a study reveals a large number of such microbes, such as, for example, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterococci, which can either cause intestinal inflammation or an allergen. If the factor that caused the dysbiosis is preserved, the baby may be disturbed by gas, bloating, unstable stool (alternating constipation with liquid undigested “gruel”), loss of appetite.
Antibiotic treatment. This is the main enemy of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, so these drugs are prescribed to babies only as a last resort.
In addition, antibiotics weaken the immune system, and the body lacks the strength to resist the onslaught of harmful microbes (clostridia, staphylococci).
Lack of breast milk. It consists of substances that help the growth and reproduction of beneficial bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
But if the baby was lately applied to the breast or started feeding artificial mixtures too early, the balance of microflora in him may be disturbed.
Incorrectly compiled menu. The composition of microflora is influenced by what and in what quantities the child eats.
The menu should include fermented milk products, fruit purees containing pectin, and adapted mixtures enriched with vitamins, microelements, beneficial bacteria and substances that help their growth in the intestines.
Diseases of the stomach and intestines, intestinal infections. Intestinal infections, problems in the work of the stomach and duodenum and inflammation in them (for example, gastritis, duodenitis) can lead to dysbacteriosis.
For those with other disorders, the baby may have constipation, diarrhea, and a lack of enzymes that help the food to digest. The latter circumstance changes the level of acidity in the stomach, which causes the intestinal flora to die.
Stress. Separation from parents or the first visit to kindergarten can cause a strong stress on a baby, and this will affect the state of its intestines.
Because of the stress, the movement of food through the intestines slows down, constipation can begin, which will not create the best conditions for the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Doctors say that dysbacteriosis is not treated, but corrected. But it is not always necessary to correct it (the balance between different groups of microorganisms can recover by itself), and if it is needed nevertheless, then along with the treatment of the underlying cause.
Eleonora Sakhnina, pediatrician, Ph.D.
By the time the baby’s intestine is born, it is sterile. Its colonization by microorganisms begins during childbirth, when the child, moving through the birth canal, collects the mother’s microflora. But the main role in this matter is assigned to colostrum, which is dropped to the newborn in the mouth already in the birth chamber.
Together with him, the baby gets lacto-and bifidobacteria that protect it from the influence of opportunistic microorganisms, which later can get to the child with food, through the hands of adults, surrounding objects (for example, poorly washed bottles or nipples).
In most modern maternity hospitals, babies are applied to the breast in the first minutes after birth. If this does not happen, the crumb does not get good bacteria and other irreplaceable substances from mother’s milk: for example, an important protective component – secretory immunoglobulin A and bifidus factors that stimulate the production of bifidobacteria in the intestines of a child.
In babies, “artificiality” the formation of a normal set of microorganisms occurs later and more difficult than that of “babies”, because not all mixtures contain enough beneficial bacteria. In addition, when artificial feeding, the acidity level in the gastrointestinal tract deviates from the norm in the direction of a more acidic or alkaline environment, the beneficial flora is replaced by the conditionally pathogenic one, and the food is worse digested.
So the baby has dysbiosis, actually “vaccinated” by adults.
The intestinal flora is involved in different processes, and therefore often the problems of the stomach and intestines disappear after the correction of dysbacteriosis.
That is why not a single, even the most perfect, adapted mixture can replace breast milk for a child. No wonder doctors advise women to set themselves up for breastfeeding already with the onset of pregnancy, then the risk of dysbiosis in a child will decrease.
Of course, in order for the baby to be born healthy, it is important for the expectant mother to monitor her well-being. During pregnancy, there are more foods with pre- and probiotics, such as yogurt.
They will improve the composition of the intestinal flora of a woman, her immunity, and with it the quality of breast milk, which will appear later.
To find out whether everything is in order with the intestinal flora of the baby, the doctor will send him to the feces: for dysbacteriosis and coprology (the second test will show whether the intestine is actively producing enzymes and whether it has inflammation). How to collect material for analysis?
- Do not use an enema to help a child produce “material” for research — it violates the ratio of bacteria in the large intestine. If your baby has constipation, use a vapor tube or a glycerin candle.
- Prepare sterile dishes – boil a glass jar with a lid or buy a container in the pharmacy to collect the analyzes. You can collect feces from a diaper or a pot washed with soap and a clean spoon. Rinse it with boiling water and collect about a teaspoon of “product”, without touching the walls of the pot or diaper.
- Take the stool for analysis to the laboratory within 3 hours of collection.
Yuri Kopanev, pediatric gastroenterologist, PhD.
Dysbacteriosis itself is not a disease, but in the future it can lead to the development of other problems in the child, sometimes serious. To understand why this happens, you need to remember the important tasks that the intestinal microflora performs in our body: it participates in the process of digestion, metabolism, and protection from microbes, toxins and allergens.
If beneficial bacteria cease to perform their barrier task properly – toxins and other harmful substances are filtered out, these dangerous components are absorbed into the bloodstream, spread throughout the body, and it becomes more sensitive to allergens. As a result, babies may develop a rash on the skin (atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis), and later – develop bronchial asthma, which nowadays occurs even in children of 1-3 years.
That is why, in order to cure allergies, we must first answer the question why it appeared, and not just look for a specific “instigator” among products or home furnishings. After all, in young children, allergy most often occurs due to problems of the gastrointestinal tract, and among them one of the main “culprits” is dysbacteriosis.
It is not by chance that gastroenterologists also deal with the treatment of allergies in babies.
If, due to dysbacteriosis, there are not enough good bacteria in the intestine or they do not cope well with any tasks, a borderline condition occurs, which doctors call a functional disorder. Over time, it can turn into a real disease: for example, when the intestinal microflora ceases to help digestion properly, conditions are created for inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or the gall bladder (cholecystitis).
In this case, the baby can be disturbed by abdominal pain, abnormal stools (constipation, diarrhea), nausea. If beneficial bacteria are less involved in metabolism, anemia may begin.
And due to the fact that the intestinal microflora performs its protective function worse, the baby’s immunity decreases.
In the first 2 months of the baby’s life, the composition of the microflora changes, and it makes no sense to explore it at this time. To determine whether everything is in order, doctors can only closer to 3 months, when the set of “inhabitants” of the intestine becomes constant.
Probiotics – drugs with bifidobacteria and lactobacilli that compensate for their lack: “Atsipol” (Lecco), “Linex” (Lek), “Bifiform Baby” (Ferrosan), “Normospectrum” (Amphita), “Gabflorin Lacto, Bifido” (Amfita ).
Prebiotics – agents that serve as a nutrient medium for bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, increase their growth and reproduction: Hilak-forte (Ratiopharm), Rekitsen-RD (ZAO Yagodnoe), Fervital (Peak III). Medications that destroy harmful microbes (bacteriophages, Enterofuril (Bosnalijek), Sporobacterin (Bakoren).
Nutrition. It plays a huge role in the treatment of dysbiosis.
Breastmilk helps the smallest, and the babies who eat mixtures – special products with pro- and prebiotics: “Gallia Lactofidus” (Danone), “NAN with Bifidobacteria”, “NAN Fermented Milk (Nestlé)“ Semper), and also such products as bifidok, nari “ne.
Older children with dysbacteriosis, it is important to eat varied, because the beneficial bacteria also need support. Animal proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber (fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals) should appear on the baby’s table every day.
But diets can only aggravate the problem: for example, in dysbacteriosis, it is often recommended to exclude cow’s milk protein, but in fact it is very important in this situation, since it maintains the balance of intestinal flora. Dairy products are especially useful: kefir, yoghurts, especially since live bifidobacteria and lactobacteria are often specially added to products for children.