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Keywords:

  • functional abdominal pain;
  • inflammation;
  • irritable bowel syndrome;
  • microbiology

Abstract

Background

The etiology of recurrent abdominal pain of functional origin (AP) is largely unknown. Antibiotic treatment influences the intestinal microbiota, and a few studies have indicated an increased risk of AP in adults after antibiotic treatment. Corresponding data in children are lacking. The aim of this study was to explore the association between antibiotic treatment during childhood and AP at 12 years.

Methods

Two thousand seven hundred and thirty-two children from a Swedish, population-based birth cohort. Parents reported antibiotic use for the children between birth and 2 years. Antibiotic use between 9 and 12 years was collected from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. The children answered questionnaires regarding AP at age 12. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for AP at 12 years as a function of antibiotic use.

Key Results

Antibiotic treatment between 9 and 12 years was not associated with AP at 12. Children who had received ≥3 courses, or broad-spectrum antibiotics between 9 and 12 years had an increased risk of AP at 12, but these associations failed to reach statistical significance. Antibiotic treatment during both the first and the second year of life increased the risk of AP in girls at 12 (OR 1.65; 95% CI: 1.09–2.49), but not in boys or the whole cohort.

Conclusions & Inferences

Antibiotic treatment does not seem to be a major risk factor for AP at 12 years. However, we cannot exclude that repeated courses, especially to infant girls, or use of broad-spectrum antibiotics between 9 and 12 years may be associated with an increased risk of AP.