Many times parents find themselves in a totally helpless situation when their newborn cries uncontrollably for hours sometimes everyday and cannot be comforted. The reason for this may be colic pain and now researchers believe a daily dose of probiotics may help tackle the problem.
Researchers in Italy at the University of Turin found that when a few drops of a bacterium that helps in digestion called the Lactobacillus reuteri, was given to infants, it helped soothe their colic pain.
Colic usually affects babies in the first three months of their lives when they cry continuously for hours and cannot be soothed. Although no known cause or cure of the problem is known yet, many experts believe that during the first few months of birth infants have an immature immune system. There is an imbalance of bacteria in their gastrointestinal system with high level of E. coli bacteria that may result in the colic.
The researchers compared the results between 25 infants who were given the drops with 21 infants who were given usual placebo drops to ease their pain. All the newborns were chosen carefully for the test. They were all diagnosed with colic, born full-term at a healthy gestational weight and had no history of gastrointestinal disorders. The infants were also not given formula but breastfed and their mothers were advised not to take cow’s milk during the test period. There were no other probiotic supplements given to the kids.
They found that in the beginning of the study both group of infants cried for similar periods but after a gap of three weeks both groups’ cries had reduced. While the group that was given placebo the cries dropped from 300 minutes to 90 minutes a day which might have been due to the stop of cow’s milk intake by their mothers. The group which was given probiotics, cries dropped from mean 370 minutes to just 35 minutes per day. Their stool analysis showed that the kids who were given probiotics also had reduced E coli.
Although some scientists are still skeptical if a bacteria dose could alleviate the problem completely, they believe that a dose of good bacteria could help reduce colic symptoms by improving gut motility and function, and reduce gas in the gastrointestinal tract. This could cure abdominal pain in babies. The probiotic dose also helped reduce the presence of harmful bacteria. – Atula, Staff Writer
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