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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Colic in Infants
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Colic in Infants

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Colic is a condition that causes intense crying, irritability, and intermittent abdominal pain in infants for no apparent reason.

What is going on in the body?

Infants with colic typically have periods during the day or night during which they cry and fuss intensely for no obvious reason. These periods often occur at the same time each day. Normal comfort measures, such as rocking or feeding, seem to be of no help. The fussing may persist for several hours despite the best efforts of the parents. It may then end abruptly, with the baby falling asleep. In most cases, the fussy time is in the evening and lasts for several hours.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The cause of colic is unknown, and it does not appear to be brought on by anything in the baby's environment. Babies with colic are quite sensitive to changes in their environment and are easily set off by these changes. They respond intensely. Once set off, they do not seem to be able to quiet themselves or to be quieted by others.

Colic usually begins between 2 and 4 weeks of age. It reaches its maximum intensity at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. Colic usually resolves by 4 months of age, although it can persist for several months longer. Roughly 20% of infants will exhibit symptoms of colic. It is seen more often in boys than in girls and more often in first-born children than in later ones.

The following factors are believed to increase an infant's risk for colic:

  • feeding too quickly
  • irritating foods
  • teething
  • upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • upsetting changes in the baby's environment


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    Colic in Infants: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: John Wegmann, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/06/01

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