Abdomen | General Practice | Colic (Disease)


Colic is a problem that can affect babies during the first three to four months of life. It is characterized by the rule of three: crying for at least three hours per day, more than three days per week, and for three weeks duration or even more. It can be very stressful and frustrating to parents. Colic most often begins suddenly, with loud and mostly continuous crying.

The baby seems to be suffering from abdominal pain. Colic affects around one in three babies. Usually, the parents would try cuddling to soothe the baby’s cry but it does not work.

Causes and Risk factors

Colic isn’t a very good understood phenomenon. It is equally likely to occur in both breastfed and formula-fed infants. Although potential adverse sequels have been described, the disorder is generally believed to be self-limited and benign. Different feeding practices and crying may result in large amounts of air entering the gastric lumen, which suggests that excessive aerophagia may be associated with colic. Colonic fermentation is the second proposed source of excessive intestinal gas in infants. However, no experimental evidence supports either theory.

An infant with colic cries, is irritable, and often has a rigid abdomen and draws up its legs. Overfeeding, food allergies, undiluted juices, and stress can aggravate colic. Colic usually lasts from early infancy to the third or fourth month of age. Treatment can include dietary changes, carefully measured feedings, and extra burping. Parents should not assume that any new abdominal pain or loud crying in their baby are colic. It is important for the baby to be seen by a physician to rule out more serious conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Colic always improves on its own, therefore medical treatment is not usually recommended. Parents should look into ways of comforting the baby and reduce symptoms of colic. ...

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