Symptoms and Signs of Colic

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Colic

Colic in infants refers to "excessive" crying lasting more than three hours a day, more than three days per week, and for more than three consecutive weeks. Children with colic are otherwise healthy. Crying from colic often starts at about 2 weeks of age, hits a maximum in intensity at about 6-8 weeks of age, and gradually diminishes and goes away by 16 weeks of age.

Symptoms of colic usually begin suddenly and include crying symptoms that increase into the late evening and night. Other symptoms and behaviors that may accompany colic include arching the back, extending the legs, clenching the fists, reddening of the face, belching or spitting up excessively after feeding, passing gas, and difficulty passing stools. A less intense form of colic may be referred to as "nighttime fussiness," but babies with colic are often more inconsolable for longer periods of time than those experiencing nighttime fussiness.

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