Blood in the diaper: the cause can be the intestinal flora

Blood in the diaper: the cause can be the intestinal flora

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Blood in the diaper does not have to be due to an allergic reaction to cow's milk proteins
Blood in the diaper of infants is mostly worrying for parents. An allergic reaction to cow's milk proteins is often assumed to be the cause. However, a researcher at the Med-Uni Graz is of the opinion that an imbalance of the microbes of the intestinal flora is responsible for the blood excretion. To this end, he initiated a systematic study with 130 infants.

Instead of cow's milk protein allergy, imbalance in the intestinal flora could be the reason for blood in the diaper of babies
Blood in the stool in infants can have various causes. In addition to an allergy to cow's milk proteins, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal infections or bulges of the mucous membrane are also possible triggers. If the bloody stool is accompanied by inflammation of the rectum and colon, it is a so-called distal proctocolitis.

In the case of distal proctocolitis, however, Martin Hoffmann from the Medical University of Graz doubts the previous explanatory model, according to which an allergic reaction to cow's milk proteins is the trigger of the disease. "There are good reasons to believe that a change in the intestinal flora is the real cause of infant proctocolitis," the pediatrician is quoted in a press release. The first studies already showed good evidence to support this thesis. Preliminary examinations of infants with proctocolitis showed that the bacterium Klebsiella oxytoca occurs significantly more frequently in the intestine of children than in healthy babies. Although it is known that the bacteria can cause colon inflammation as part of antibiotic therapy, this clinical picture does not correspond to that of infantile proctocolitis. Hoffmann therefore suspects that the actual cause is not the bacterium itself. “Probably the more frequent occurrence of Klebsiella oxytoca is a consequence of an overall changed intestinal flora, a so-called dysbiosis. If the intestinal flora gets out of its normal balance, harmful bacteria such as Klebsiella oxytoca can take over, ”explains Hoffmann. The current therapy concept - the conversion of infant nutrition to cow's milk-free food - would then normalize the intestinal flora, but not, as previously assumed, end the allergic reaction.

Study to investigate unbalance in the intestinal flora of infants
The study initiated by Hoffmann with 130 infants poses great challenges. “In fact, the intestinal flora of children changes naturally in the first year of life. Against this background, it is difficult to record additional changes due to a clinical picture, ”explains the pediatrician. “We therefore analyze for each child individually how their intestinal flora changes within eight weeks - and expect that we will recognize different patterns in the two groups examined. That would be a clear indication that dysbiosis is actually responsible for infant proctocolitis. ” Confirmation of this hypothesis would mean a fundamental change in the understanding of the disease. (ag)

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