Association between early childhood otitis media and pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: an exploratory population-based analysis

J Pediatr. 2013 Mar;162(3):510-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.08.037. Epub 2012 Oct 17.


Objective: To determine whether a diagnosis of otitis media in the first 5 years of childhood is associated with the development of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Study design: This was a nested case-control analysis of a population-based IBD database in Manitoba, Canada. A total of 294 children with IBD diagnosed between 1989 and 2008 were matched to 2377 controls, based on age, sex, and geographic region. The diagnosis of ottis media was based on physician claims. IBD status was determined based on a validated administrative database definition. Multivariate conditional logistic regression models were used to model the association between otitis media and IBD, adjusted for annual physician visits.

Results: Approximately 5% of the IBD cases and 12% of the controls did not have an otitis media diagnosis before that IBD case date. By age 5 years, 89% of the IBD cases had at least one diagnosis of otitis media, compared with 82% of the controls. In multivariate analyses, compared with cases and controls without an otitis media diagnosis, individuals with an otitis media diagnosis by age 5 years were 2.8-fold more likely to be an IBD case (95% CI, 1.5-5.2; P = .001). This association was detected in stratified models examining Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis separately.

Conclusion: Compared with controls, subjects diagnosed with IBD were more likely to have had at least one early childhood episode of otitis media before their diagnosis. We suspect that otitis media serves as a proxy measure of antibiotic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology*