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When to Seek Medical Care
The diagnosis of colic is made by the characteristic history detailed above complemented by normal findings during a physical exam. By definition, colic is what is termed as a "diagnosis of exclusion" -- for example, all other pathologic conditions have been eliminated. Other conditions your doctor will consider may include infection, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), milk protein (human or cow) allergy, and a number of relatively rare metabolic and intestinal conditions.
If the baby's symptoms suggest other causes, such as fever, excessive sleepiness, recurring vomiting, and out of the ordinary inconsolability, you should seek medical attention. You should also see a doctor if the excessive crying causes you or other family members extreme frustration and anger. A screaming infant, sleep deprivation, and the transition from pregnant to nonpregnant health status can easily wear down even the most loving of parents.
Colic in itself is not a medical emergency. However, if you suspect other conditions may be causing irritability and pain in your infant, go immediately to a hospital's emergency department.