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Intolerance of Cow’s Milk and Chronic Constipation in Children
Giuseppe Iacono, M.D., Francesca Cavataio, M.D., Giuseppe Montalto, M.D., Ada Florena, M.D., Mario Tumminello, M.D., Maurizio Soresi, M.D., Alberto Notarbartolo, M.D., and Antonio Carroccio, M.D.
N Engl J Med 1998; 339
We performed a double-blind, crossover study comparing cow’s milk with soy milk in 65 children (age range, 11 to 72 months) with chronic constipation (defined as having one bowel movement every 3 to 15 days). All had been referred to a pediatric gastroenterology clinic and had previously been treated with laxatives without success; 49 had anal fissures and perianal erythema or edema. After 15 days of observation, the patients received cow’s milk or soy milk for 2 weeks. After a one-week washout period, the feedings were reversed. A response was defined as eight or more bowel movements during a treatment period.-1104 October 15, 1988
Forty-four of the 65 children (68 percent) had a response while receiving soy milk. Anal fissures and pain with defecation resolved. None of the children who received cow’s milk had a response. In all 44 children with a response, the response was confirmed with a double-blind challenge with cow’s milk. Children with a response had a higher frequency of coexistent rhinitis, dermatitis, or bronchospasm than those with no response (11 of 44 children vs. 1 of 21, P=0.05); they were also more likely to have anal fissures and erythema or edema at base line (40 of 44 vs. 9 of 21, P<0.001), evidence of inflammation of the rectal mucosa on biopsy (26 of 44 vs. 5 of 21, P=0.008), and signs of hypersensitivity, such as specific IgE antibodies to cow’s-milk antigens (31 of 44 vs. 4 of 21, P<0.001).