UTI in Infancy–New Risk Factor for Chronic Abdominal Pain?

A recent study (Rosen JM, et al. JPGN 2015; 60: 214-16) identifies a history of a urinary tract infection (UTI) in infancy as a risk factor for development of chronic abdominal pain.

The authors identified 57 patients with a history of UTI during the first year of life and compared them to 58 sibling controls.  Mean age of UTI was 4.8 months and mean time since UTI was 9.3 years.

Key finding:

  • Chronic abdominal pain was noted in 10 (17.5%) of patients with prior UTI compared with 2 (3.4%) of controls (P=0.02)

The authors state that this is the first study showing an infection outside the GI tract could increase the risk of chronic abdominal pain.  It is not clear to me if the UTI would truly be a sensitizing factor or whether other factors like the administration of antibiotics could play a role.

Bottomline: While this is a small study and the incidence of chronic abdominal pain was fairly low in both groups, it suggests that a history of a UTI may be a risk factor for recurrent abdominal pain; a bigger study is needed to validate these findings.

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1 thought on “UTI in Infancy–New Risk Factor for Chronic Abdominal Pain?

  1. Thanks for discussing the publication! The potential impact of early life events on development of chronic abdominal pain is a fascinating concept. Many animal studies demonstrate the cross-talk between bowel and bladder, and hopefully investigation of these processes will continue to filter into clinical research.

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