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Narrowing of Stomach Likely in Bottle-Fed Babies

Update Date: Sep 04, 2012 09:14 AM EDT

A new study claims that bottle-fed infants are at a higher risk of developing a serious intestinal condition which may need surgery.

Pyloric stenosis is a condition that causes severe vomiting in infants. In this condition, the lower part of the baby's stomach narrows, restricting the amount of food intake and casing forceful vomiting, dehydration and salt and fluid imbalances, Medical Xpress reported.

"Bottle-feeding is a rather strong risk factor for pyloric stenosis, and this adds to the evidence supporting the advantage of exclusive breast-feeding in the first months of life," said lead researcher Dr. Camilla Krogh, from the department of epidemiology research at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, according to Health Day. 

Pyloric stenosis "is the most common cause of gastrointestinal obstruction in early childhood, and the most common condition requiring surgery in the first months of life," Krogh added. "Although treatment of pyloric stenosis has been known for almost 100 years, its etiology [cause] remains unclear. The results of this study contributes with new insight into the etiology of pyloric stenosis and brings us closer to solving the enigma of pyloric stenosis development," Krogh added. 

The researchers, in order to look at the link between bottle-feeding and pyloric stenosis, analyzed the data on more than 70,000 infants. They found 65 cases where the infants had to undergo surgery for pyloric stenosis. Of these, they found, 29 had been bottle-fed. According to researchers, the chances of developing pyloric stenosis in infants, increases 4.6 folds when bottle fed.

The bottle feeding risk was such that the researchers found that even if the baby was breast-fed before being bottle-fed, the risk prevailed. It started within 30 days after bottle-feeding began, they noted. 

"There is a lot not known about this disease," Dr. Jesse Reeves-Garcia, director of pediatric gastroenterology at Miami Children's Hospital was quoted as saying by Health Day. The study has only established a link between bottle-feeding and pyloric stenosis. It does not establish a cause and effect relationship.

"Breast-feeding is really best for the kids," Reeves-Garcia said. "Breast milk has a lot of things formula doesn't have."

The report was published online Sept. 3 and in the October print issue of Pediatrics.

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