While searching the news today I saw a lot of outlets focusing in on a study recently released by the Statens Serum Institute(Denmark) about a possible link between antibiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Upon looking at the abstract and the title of the study I think we have a case once again of people mistaking Irritable Bowel Syndrome for Inflammatory Bowel Disease / Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis.The study looked over the histories of 577,627 children going as far back as 1995. It appears to have found a large increase in risk for those children who took antibiotics at a young age. The overall risk ratio was 1.85, essentially 85% increase, though some groups they studied were more affected than others, especially those children who had a history of 7 or more doses of antibiotics. Also interesting was that it appears those who were born to mothers with low education levels or who had low socio-economic(poor) status were more likely to develop the disease.
While this is not a smoking gun against antibiotic usage, it does make one pause to think if there is a link somewhere in there or if other factors play a role. I personally had a long history of antibiotic usage when I was a child due to recurring ear infections. I developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome after a possible stomach bug from swimming in a river. It does appear, for my condition, the infection was an important trigger. If my history with antibiotics at a young age played a part, that would be interesting. However, again, this study was looking at Crohn’s Disease and not Irritable Bowel Syndrome.