Infantile colic, constipation, functional abdominal pain (FAP), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). This chapter will review current evidence on the role of probiotics in the treatment of these FGID. The etiology of FGID is considered multifactorial, but the importance of intestinal microbiota in their development has been repeatedly emphasized. As a consequence, the potential role of probiotics in their treatment is being increasingly scrutinized. Presently, the strongest evidence of efficacy is for the use of Lactobacillus reuteri (L reuteri) DSM 17938 at the dose of 108 CFU/day for the treatment of infantile colic in breastfed infants. Limited, yet encouraging, evidence exists for Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) at the dose of 3 × 109 CFU and for a multi-strain preparation for the treatment of IBS. In the treatment of FAP, there is some evidence for the use of L reuteri DSM 17938 at the dose of at least 108 CFU/day.
Keywords: Functional abdominal pain; Infantile colic; Irritable bowel syndrome; Lactobacillus; Probiotics.