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Colic - Colic is common in babies - but that doesn't make it easier for parents to handle.
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Colic

Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Infants

Causes

No one really knows what causes colic. Researchers have explored a number of possibilities, including:

  • Cow's milk allergies or intolerance

  • An immature digestive system that causes unusually strong intestinal contractions

  • Food backing up into the esophagus — the passage connecting your baby's mouth and stomach

  • Increased intestinal gas

  • Hormonal changes in your baby

  • The diet of mothers who breast-feed

  • Your baby's temperament

  • Maternal anxiety

  • Postpartum depression

  • Differences in the way your baby is fed or comforted

Yet it's still unclear why some babies have colic and others don't. If your baby does have colic, it's important to remember that it's not your fault.

Risk factors

There are many theories about what makes a child more susceptible to colic, but none seems to be consistently true. Colic doesn't occur more frequently among firstborns or bottle-fed babies. And girls and boys — no matter what their birth order or how they're fed — experience colic in similar numbers. Other factors that don't seem to increase your baby's risk of colic include:

  • First-time parents. If you're a first-time parent, you're no more likely to have a colicky baby than are experienced parents, although colic may be especially stressful for new parents.

  • Breast-feeding. If you're breast-feeding, your baby's colic probably isn't the result of something you're eating.

  • Formula feeding. Formula is usually not the cause of colic, although special formulas can help some babies.

  • Lactose intolerance. Although researchers have studied the role of lactose intolerance in the development of colic, the connection between the two isn't clear-cut.

When to seek medical advice

No medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, always relieve colic safely and effectively. In general, consult with your doctor before giving your baby any medication to treat colic.

Also be sure to contact your baby's medical caregiver if you're concerned that your baby isn't gaining weight, if your baby develops bloody or very hard stools, and anytime you feel your baby is seriously ill. Seek medical attention right away if you think your baby's crying might be the result of a fall, injury or vigorous shaking.

If you feel you're running out of ideas for handling your baby's colic, consider asking your county health department or visiting-nurse association to recommend parenting support resources in your community. In addition, ask friends and family to help relieve you for short breaks. It's very frustrating to listen to a baby cry, especially when the baby is your own.

Finally, if you find yourself becoming very angry because of the crying, call your doctor or bring the baby to your doctor's office or a hospital emergency room right away. Remember: It's extremely important not to ever shake a baby — serious and even life-threatening brain injury might result.

 

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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