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Colic (cont.)

What Are Symptoms and Signs of Colic?

Crying usually begins suddenly. Most parents report their infant's crying symptoms build to a crescendo during late evening and into the night. For unknown reasons, the baby's cessation of symptoms often ends as abruptly as they start. Colicky babies may have a host of behaviors (none of which are only limited to an episode of colic). These include

  • arching the back;
  • extending the legs;
  • clenching the fists;
  • reddening of the face;
  • belching or spitting up excessively after feeding, which may relieve symptoms;
  • passing gas; and
  • having difficulty passing stools.

Many parents will notice that their infant seems to experience a less intense form of colic. Pediatricians refer to this as "nighttime fussiness," The onset, peak, and resolution of symptoms are the same as colic. Babies with colic, however, seem more inconsolable for longer periods of time than those experiencing nighttime fussiness. Parents with colicky children find no trick to intercede in their child's frustration. Parents with nighttime fussiness children find themselves helping their infant gain control of their frustrations only to have symptoms surge and "we're right back where we started from!"

What Specialists Treat Colic?

Pediatricians are the best resource to help concerned parents to diagnose a child, as well as counsel parents regarding colic.

How Do Health-Care Professionals Diagnose Colic?

A doctor will assess your baby to rule out other causes for crying, such as an infection or an intestinal condition. It is rarely necessary to perform laboratory or radiology (for example, X-ray, CT, ultrasound, MRI) studies to establish the diagnosis of colic.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Colic »

Colic is commonly described as a behavioral syndrome characterized by excessive, paroxysmal crying. Colic is most likely to occur in the evenings, and it occurs without any identifiable cause.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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