University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston, scientists have identified a gut bacterium that might help explain inconsolable crying in otherwise healthy babies, also known as colic.
Constant crying can lead to maternal frustration, post-partum depression and even thoughts of harming the baby.
The research team led by Dr J. Marc Rhoads, professor of pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, which is part of the UT Health Science Center at Houston have found an organism called Klebsiella, a normally occurring bacterium that can be found in the mouth, skin and intestines.
In the study involving 36 babies, half of whom had colic, researchers found the bacterium and gut inflammation in the intestines of the babies with colic.
"We believe that the bacterium may be sparking an inflammatory reaction, causing the gut inflammation," said Rhoads.
"Inflammation in the gut of colicky infants closely compared to levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
"Colic could prove to be a precursor to other gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and allergic gastroenteropathies," Rhoads added.
Currently, pediatricians prescribe special hypoallergenic infant formula to try and treat colic, but none of it has been proven in studies to be effective in treating the condition.
The study appears in Journal of Pediatrics.