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Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Sep;48(9):1762-6.

Colonic hydrogen elimination and methane production in infants with and without infantile colic syndrome.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94305-5208, USA.


Our objective was to investigate the relationship between demographic factors, nutrition, stool gas production, and the existence of infantile colic (IC) syndrome. Hydrogen and methane production from stool specimens of infants with and without infantile colic was quantified at two separate time points, the age at presentation of colic (<12 weeks) and at >6 months of age. The relationship between demographic variables and IC was also studied. A total of 59 infants with ages ranging from 2 to 12 weeks were enrolled in the study. Of these, 30 infants developed symptoms of colic. No correlation was found between IC and birth weight, gestational age, sex, type of feeding, mean time of feeding, stool frequency, and consistency. There was also no correlation between IC and the parents' age or education or the infant's number of siblings. Analysis of the stool samples revealed that methane was produced at concentrations >2 ppm by 15.3% of the infants at age <3 months and by 46.4% of infants at age >6 months. The mean methane concentrations produced by stool increased with age (0.95 +/- 0.58 ppm at 3 months of age vs 1.29 +/- 0.65 ppm at 6 months of age. There was no difference in stool hydrogen concentration between infants with and without IC. In contrast, the mean methane level at 3 and 6 months of age was higher in infants without IC than with IC, but reached statistical significance only at 6 months of age (0.97 +/- 0.68 vs 0.93 +/- 0.46) (NS) at 3 months of age, and 1.56 +/- 0.55 vs 0.93 +/- 0.62 (P < 0.05) at 6 months of age respectively. Furthermore, infants that produced higher methane levels at 3 and 6 months of age had significantly (p < 0.05) less colic in the first months of life. In conclusions, methane production may play a role in the alleviation of IC. Future studies are needed to confirm our findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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