Kaolin works by absorbing toxins and other substances from the intestines to treat diarrhea. This medicine can also form or solidify loose stools in just 1–2 days. However, kaolin cannot reduce the amount of fluid lost during diarrhea. Therefore, the consumption of this drug must also be balanced with the consumption of lots of fluids. Nevertheless, is kaolin safe during pregnancy? Keep reading to find out the answer.
If you are pregnant and suffer from diarrhea, yes, kaolin-pectin can be an alternative medicine to relieve the symptoms. However, kaolin cannot fight bacteria, so it is not recommended as the only treatment for bacterial diarrhea. Some medical researchers have concluded that the effectiveness of kaolin in treating diarrhea is still not fully proven. Therefore, further research is required to determine kaolin’s effectiveness.
Regardless, authorities that regulate foods and drugs in many countries still allow diarrhea drugs containing kaolin to be sold in the market and can generally be consumed as over-the-counter drugs.
Is Kaolin Safe during Pregnancy?
Please pay attention to the instructions and the dosage of the drug listed on the packaging before using it. If necessary, consult a doctor to ensure the right dose and safety. Kaolin drugs are generally taken after each bowel movement. The following is the recommended dosage for the use of kaolin-pectin drugs:
- Children aged 3–6 years: 1–2 tablespoons
- Children 6–12 years: 2–4 tablespoons
- Children 12 years and over: 3-4 tablespoons
- Adults: 4–8 tablespoons
Meanwhile, for children under three years old, the administration of kaolin and its dosage must first be consulted with a doctor.
Kaolin is relatively safe for consumption, but side effects can still occur. Constipation is one of the effects that often occur, especially if kaolin is consumed by children or the elderly. Therefore, you need to be more careful when giving kaolin to children or parents. Kaolin is also not recommended to be given to children under three years of age.
In addition, kaolin can also cause allergic reactions characterized by symptoms of itching, rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, or face. Diarrhea medicine containing kaolin is also safe for consumption by pregnant women because the placenta does not absorb the substances contained in it. However, animal studies have shown an association between kaolin, anemia, and hypokalemia in pregnancy.
To avoid things that are not desirable, pregnant women should consult a doctor first before using or consuming kaolin.
Are there any precautions in taking kaolin during pregnancy? The key is simply not to take anything over the dose suggested by your doctor, and it means don’t take too much kaolin as well. A study was held in a hospital in Douala, Cameroon, for about three months (21 February – 31 May 2017). The subjects were all pregnant women, divided into two groups: consuming kaolin and not.
The thing is, consuming kaolin (called “kalaba” by the locals) is considered a normal routine for some pregnant ladies in Africa. They believe the kaolin they eat is antidiarrheal, antacid, and antiparasitic. Instead, it would upset ion absorption that may cause iron-deficiency anemia. Another health risk is poisoning with pesticides and heavy metals—other health risks include prematurity, yellowish coloration on the babies, and birth weight under 2.500 g.
Considering the health risks, pregnant ladies need to take some precautions in consuming kaolin. Even though the kaolin taken is only to cure diarrhea, it is still crucial that the consumption is being reduced during pregnancy.
So, again, is kaolin safe during pregnancy? As long as it is not taken too much or not more than the suggested dose. Besides, diarrhea is a disease that can heal itself. It makes doctors usually suggest several things before prescribing drugs. Moreover, pregnant women also become more sensitive to drugs because the fetus is in the womb. You can try other ways to deal with diarrhea in pregnant women, such as:
- Drink enough water
- Take probiotic supplements or foods
- Obey the recommendations and dietary restrictions when experiencing diarrhea
- Stop using certain drugs or supplements