Colic: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Colic is a condition described in babies characterized by bouts of irritability, fussing, or crying without an obvious cause.

Babies with colic tend to show symptoms such as fussing, loud crying for no apparent reason, screaming, abdominal tension, clenched fists, and legs that may be pulled up or stiffened and straight. Episodes usually begin in the evening, and other associated symptoms can include facial discoloration (flushing or redness of the face). The episodes of colic tend to last from one to four hours.

Causes of colic

The exact cause is unknown, but certain factors may worsen the symptoms. Factors that can worsen colic include overfeeding in an attempt to reduce the symptoms, feeding high-sugar foods, or anger or anxiety in the infant's environment.

Other colic symptoms and signs

  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Clenched Fists
  • Crying for More Than Three Hours a Day
  • Crying That Begins at the Same Time Each Evening
  • Crying That Sounds Like a Scream
  • Extreme Fussiness
  • Flatulence
  • Intense Crying for No Apparent Reason
  • Red, Flushed Face
  • Tightened Stomach Muscles


Newborn babies don't sleep very much. See Answer

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.