Colic

  • Medical Author:
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quiz: Your Baby's First Year!

Quick GuideParents' Guide to Soothing Your Crying Baby

Parents' Guide to Soothing Your Crying Baby

What can the doctor do to help a colicky baby? What is the treatment for colic in an infant?

It is critically important to consult the baby's doctor at the very beginning of the suspected colic symptoms. While there are no tests that can be done where the results come back "colic," it is very important to exclude several other causes of crying or sudden-onset screaming in a newborn. Remember that other less serious causes of crying include anything that causes discomfort. Check if the infant is hungry, too cold or too warm, over-tired or suffering from food intolerance (gassy, overly loose stool). Other more serious conditions to consider include intestinal blockage or obstruction, abdominal infection, a hernia, a scratch of the baby's eye, an ear infection, a bladder infection, and others. Once the baby is given a clean bill of health, an understanding, supportive doctor is worth his weight in gold! Should a colicky baby's symptoms ever suddenly change, the doctor will reassess the situation and look for unrelated problems that can arise in any baby. As discussed above, the doctor may recommend an over-the-counter anti-gas bubble medicine for the baby (for example, Mylicon Drops) or even a probiotic. Babies take these medications orally. And when it seems that there are as many "cures" for colic as there are grandparents, always call the baby's doctor first. Finally, remember that after the three or four months, the colic resolves; there are no long-term problems associated with colic.

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics

REFERENCES:

Cohen-Silver, J., and S. Ratnapalan. "Management of Infantile Colic: A Review." Clinical Pediatrics 48.1 Jan. 2009: 14-17.

Wessel, M.A., J.C. Cobb, E.B. Jackson, et al. "Paroxysmal Fussing in Infancy, Sometimes Called Colic." Pediatrics 14.5 (1954): 421-435.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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