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Is a Stomach Bacteria the Cause of Baby Colic?

Learn about a study that finds a bacteria in the gut as the culprit behind baby colic. Is this a new breakthrough or just another empty theory for this frustrating condition? House Call Doctor explains

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
Episode #100

What is H. Pylori?

H. Pylori is a bacteria that has been associated with gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach lining) and stomach ulcers in adults. However, about 50% of all of us normally have H.Pylori living in our gut, and it may never cause any problems. It’s only treated if it causes problems or symptoms.

See also: What is Gut Microbiota?

So it’s quite possible that like adults, babies could also be carriers of this bacteria. But could this bacteria be the actual cause of colic, like the study suggests?

Is H. Pylori the Cause of Infantile Colic?

Before we all run out to the local drug store to buy some infantile probiotics, or even worse, beg our doctors for antibiotics, let’s examine the study a bit closer:

  1. It’s super small – Only 85 babies were enrolled in this study. Doctors call this a study with a lack of “power,” which means that there just aren’t enough patients in the study to make it a good enough sample. So we can’t recommend changes in how doctors practice just yet based on such a small sample.

  2. It’s the only one – When making new guidelines for doctors, a study needs to be corroborated and its results repeated by multiple other studies. So far, this is only one showing such results.

  3. Association does not equal causation – Just because there’s an association between H. Pylori and infants with colic, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s H. Pylori that actually causes colic. 

So although it’s an interesting study that examines one of the numerous potential causes of colic that has been suggested for this mysterious baby phenomenon, I can’t say that it would change the way I practice at this time. I’m just not quite convinced of its results since there are lots of unanswered questions. And I certainly would not treat H.Pylori with antibiotics in these babies, since antibiotics can have some very serious consequences for infants.

Make sure to listen to my colleague, Mighty Mommy, for some great tips on how to deal with colic. Just remember, whatever you do, never ever shake your baby. Shaken Baby Syndrome is fatal. If you get frustrated from the incessant crying, it’s OK to just leave the baby in a safe crib, step out of the room for a few minutes, and take some deep breaths to recover.

Has your baby experienced colic? What did you do to keep yourself sane? Share it with us on the House Call Doctor’s Facebook and Twitter pages!

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Crying Baby image courtesy of Shutterstock

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