2005 Volume 51 Issue 6 Pages 445-448
Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) are mainly composed of two or three xylose units with β-1, 4 linkages. They are obtained by hemicellulose hydrolysis, which is relatively abundant in the cell walls of grains. XOS increases the number of intestinal Bifidobacterium in humans, and maintains the fecal water content within the normal range. To examine the effect of XOS intake on severe constipation in pregnancy, which is predominant in the third trimester, thirty constipated pregnant women were treated with 4.2 g XOS daily for 4 wk. During the study, the clinical efficacy was assessed using a daily diary. The subjects indicated the number of stools and the clinical symptom scores. Twenty-nine subjects completed the study. The mean number of stools was 1.1±0.4 in the pre-treatment week, and increased in weeks 1-4 of XOS administrationto 5.3±2.1, 5.9±2.5, 6.2±2.2 and 6.7±1.9, respectively. At the end of the study, 2 7 subjects could defecate spontaneously. The occurrence of very loose or very hard stools decreased and the stool consistency normalized. The stool color changed from dark to yellowish brown. No side effects were observed. XOS intake was highly effective for the reduction of severe constipation in pregnant women without adverse effects.