The Bugs That Cause the Stomach Bug

Crohns could be started by too much of certain bacteria living in the stomach

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Thousands of teeny tiny microbes live in your stomach and body on a regular basis. But too much of certain unseen bugs could mean the start of long-term stomach problems.

High levels of various bacteria in the stomach could start Crohn's disease in children, a new study has found.

This means a certain type of bacteria may be the cause of Crohn's disease.

"Talk to a doctor if your stomach hurts too long"

The study, led by Hazel Mitchell, PhD, professor in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, aimed to see if bacteria causes Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers grew bacteria gathered from children's stomachs and looked at how they attached and spread to other cells inside the intestines.

The study included 22 children who had colonoscopies at the Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick in Australia.

Another 21 children who were healthy and had no inflammatory bowel disease were included to compare results.

The children were about 10 years old on average and more than half were boys. None had antibiotic or anti-inflammatory treatments within a month before the study.

Though the study is small, researchers gathered fecal samples from the children before each had their colon examined and recorded what bacteria were present.

These Proteobacteria, which include E. Coli and Campylobacter, "may play a role in initiation of the disease," according to Dr. Mitchell.

They did not see any link between the age of the children and the kinds of bacteria found in their fecal matter.

Smoking, drinking and antibiotic intake that some adult patients partake in could be affecting the bacteria in their stomachs, making it difficult to look at the bacteria itself, the authors note.

"We deliberately chose to examine children newly diagnosed with Crohn's disease, as we thought this would increase our chances of detecting species that may be involved in initiating Crohn's disease," Dr. Mitchell said in a press release.

The National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia and the University of New South Wales Goldstar award supported the study. One of the authors also received a fellowship from the council.

The authors do not declare any conflicts of interest.

The study was published in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 27, 2012
Last Updated:
October 30, 2012