What is Colic in Babies? Causes & Treatment

Colic is typically excessive crying for at least 3 weeks, continuing for at least 3 hours during the day, occurring at least 3 days a week, and without any reason.


What is Colic in Babies? Causes & Treatment

If there are crying spells without any reason…

The excessive crying syndrome is seen in the first months of infancy, the cause of which is not known precisely and has typical features. Colic is typically excessive crying for at least 3 weeks, continuing for at least 3 hours during the day, occurring at least 3 days a week, and without any reason.

What is the cause of colic?

Many studies have been conducted on the long crying period of the baby due to colic and the disease, but the exact cause has not been found. However, some possible theories are;

  • Immaturity of the digestive system,
  • A temporary decrease in lactase activity (lactose intolerance)
  • Parental tension,
  • Excessive fore milk intake
  • Frequent breastfeeding
  • Cow's milk protein allergy
  • Inability to remove the gas accumulated in the stomach as necessary,
  • Mother smoking,
  • Stomach reflux,
  • Irregularity in the intestinal bacterial flora

If the baby pulls his feet to his tummy while crying…

Symptoms of the disease mostly appear when the baby is 2-3 weeks old, peak at the 4th-6th weeks, and end when the baby is 3-4 months old. Typically, in the first 3 months, it is seen as excessive crying in cycles lasting 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks. During a crying attack, the baby is inconsolable, pulls her feet to her stomach, blushes, and clenches her hands into fists. Its incidence is 10-30% among all infants.

When can colic be diagnosed if a baby has excessive crying?

For colic that causes excessive crying in the baby, other possible causes should be excluded first. In the diagnosis of infantile colic, the doctor needs to evaluate the patient with a detailed history and physical examination. When a finding suggestive of the disease is detected, possible causes should be examined in detail. For example, ear infection, urinary tract infection, hernia, other intestinal disorders, constipation, cracked buttocks, foreign body in the eye (eyelashes, etc.) should be investigated by inspection. However, if all possible causes do not point to another disease, infantile colic can be diagnosed last.

In which infants' crying spells should we consider diagnoses other than infantile colic?

If accompanying crying spells in the baby; If there is a persistent decrease in the desire to suck, inability to gain weight, fever, blood, fat or mucus in the stool, swelling in the abdomen, redness of the skin or different examination findings, possibilities other than infantile colic should be considered.

Does crying spells in babies have a negative effect on their future life?

In the follow-ups, it was observed that these children gained weight well compared to their peers, had normal development, and were completely normal except for the crying crisis hours.

There is no definitive treatment, but the baby can be relieved with behavioral recommendations.

The main aim of the treatment is to help those who care for the child overcome this difficult period in the development of the baby more easily. First of all, how the baby is fed should be carefully evaluated. Infantile colic in a breastfed baby should never be a reason to stop breastfeeding.

  • Although it is not a very effective drug that has been proven as a treatment, some medications, and herbal teas that the pediatrician will recommend according to some behavioral recommendations and the baby’s condition can help partially.
  • Abdominal massage,
  • Having as few stimuli as possible during the attack,
  • The calm behavior of the parents during the attack,
  • Don't take a warm shower,
  • Some sounds (hairdryer, water sound..),
  • The mother does not switch to the other breast without finishing one breast during breastfeeding,
  • Applying heat to the abdomen
  • Removal of stomach gas after breastfeeding,
  • Regular massages between meals can help.

Does colic in a baby require a special diet?

Suppose conditions such as cow’s milk sensitivity, reflux, and a temporary decrease in lactase activity (lactose intolerance) are considered in the baby. In that case, appropriate nutrition and drug therapy can be started according to your doctor’s recommendation. In the first 6 months of infancy, it is recommended to be fed only with breast milk as much as possible. Therefore, herbal mixtures, teas, and sugar water prepared at home or bought from herbalists should not be given to babies without a physician’s recommendation.