Colic

Definition

Colic is excessive crying in a baby with no obvious cause. During these episodes, it is very hard to console the baby. This intense crying occurs regularly over at least a few weeks. It is more common during the night.Colic can start as early as 2 weeks of age. It is the worst at 6 weeks. Colic often disappears by age 5 months.

Causes

The exact cause of colic is not known. Colic-like crying can be caused by certain common problems. Your doctor will look for these issues.

Risk Factors

Colic is most common in babies 2 weeks to 4 months old. Other factors that increase your baby's chance for colic include:
  • Mother smoking during pregnancy or after birth
  • Sensitive temperament

Symptoms

These symptoms may be caused by colic or other discomforts. Some may not require medical care. Talk to your doctor if your baby is having symptoms such as:
  • Loud crying that may last for several hours
  • Inability to be consoled
  • Turning red from crying
  • Pulling arms and legs toward body and then stretching limbs out
  • Passing gas or burping due to swallowing air while crying

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your baby's medical history and symptoms. A physical exam will be done. Your baby's weight or weight change will also be checked. Let the doctor know how your baby acts during colic, how long colic lasts, and when it occurs. The doctor will consider other conditions that may cause inconsolable crying, such as:
  • Allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to certain formulas, lactose intolerance, or gas
  • Feeding problems
  • Problems with sleep cycles or processing things in the environment
  • Constipation
  • Illness such as an ear infection
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hernia
  • Blockage of the intestinal tract
To help determine if your baby has colic or another condition, your doctor may ask:
  • Is your baby eating well?
  • Is your baby producing 5 to 8 very wet diapers each day?
  • Is your baby producing stool normally?
  • Is your baby having colic-free periods?
  • Does your baby have a fever?

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