Colic –
A mature adult doctor and her patient both wear masks to the consultation to slow the spread of illness.



7 Attention-grabbing Info of Colic

  1. Colic is a typical situation of infancy with a reported incidence between 5% and 20% of in any other case wholesome infants aged between 3 weeks and three months
  2. The signs of colic embody extreme crying greater than 3 hours per day for greater than 3 days per week for longer than 3 weeks in in any other case wholesome, thriving infants
    • The extreme crying has a diurnal sample, clustering within the afternoon and/or night; the toddler seems to be in ache throughout paroxysms
  3. The prognosis of colic is clear if the toddler is rising properly and has regular bodily examination outcomes with no proof of an natural trigger for extreme crying
  4. A cautious historical past and bodily examination are ample to find out if an toddler has an alternate natural trigger for extreme crying
    • Fewer than 5% of infants evaluated for extreme crying have an natural trigger
    • Severe sickness is unlikely in an toddler with regular historical past and bodily examination outcomes who doesn’t cry past the preliminary evaluation
  5. Laboratory and radiographic examinations add little to the diagnostic work-up
  6. Therapy of colic is principally supportive
    • Caregivers of colicky infants ought to obtain stress-reducing strategies, assist, schooling, and reassurance
    • No drugs are efficient in treating colic
      • A trial of antireflux medicine is cheap provided that prognosis of concurrent gastroesophageal reflux illness exists
    • Moms of breastfed infants ought to be inspired to proceed breastfeeding and to remove their consumption of extremely allergenic meals. A short trial on protein hydrolysate components is cheap
    • A trial of protein hydrolysate components is clearly indicated if cow’s milk allergy is suspected; moms ought to remove soy and cow’s milk proteins from their food regimen
    • There isn’t any clear proof that probiotics are more practical than placebo at stopping childish colic; nevertheless, day by day crying time appeared to cut back with probiotic use in contrast with placebo
  7. There are not any recognized long-term antagonistic outcomes related to colic


  • Colic is a prognosis of exclusion
    • It’s crucial to pursue alternate diagnoses to rule out pressing causes of extreme crying if a toddler is actually inconsolable or ill-appearing on examination
  • A primary episode of extreme crying shouldn’t be simply dismissed as colic
  • Urinary tract an infection can current with fussiness with out fever
    • Clinicians ought to have a low threshold for acquiring catheterized urine in infants with continued unexplained crying
  • Fluorescein examination of the cornea ought to be accomplished on afebrile infants with unexplained, persistent crying
  • Extreme crying might be the trigger or results of youngster abuse
  • System adjustments are controversial, and knowledge are missing to assist manipulation of components with out concern for cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance or household historical past of atopy and/or cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance
  • Many drug remedies have been studied, however none have proved to be markedly efficient
  • Colic is a self-limiting behavioral dysfunction of infants that’s characterised by extreme crying spells lasting greater than 3 hours per day, not less than 3 days per week, and persevering with for greater than 3 weeks. The paroxysmal crying spells haven’t any recognized natural etiology and begin round 3 weeks of age, peak at 6 weeks, and resolve by the fourth month of life

Medical Presentation

Historical past

  • Colicky infants have unpredictable, spontaneous assaults of extreme crying or fussiness that sometimes final just a few hours within the late afternoon or night and are immune to typical soothing strategies
    • The high-pitched, piercing, screaming spells reported are sometimes related to drawing up of legs to the stomach, tight stomach, flatulence, flushed face, furrowed forehead, and clenched fists
    • Crying spells haven’t any discernible precipitants
  • Evaluate of techniques shouldn’t determine any of the next:
    • Modifications in feeding
    • Modifications in bowel habits
    • Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or bloody stools
    • Feeding difficulties
    • Seizure-like exercise
    • Considerations for abuse
    • Apnea, cyanosis, or problem respiratory
    • Fever
    • Central nervous system irritability
    • Irregular weight acquire and improvement for age
    • Household historical past of cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance or atopic illness (eg, eczema or wheezing)
    • Historical past of latest immunizations
  • Historical past of prematurity or perinatal issues will increase concern about neurologic causes for the crying

Bodily examination

  • Bodily examination findings are regular
  • Basic
    • Afebrile, alert, vigorous, pink, properly perfused, and probably fussy however consolable
    • Infants within the midst of a colicky crying episode will probably be not less than briefly consolable to feeding or mild rocking
  • Development parameters
    • Head circumference, size, and weight ought to all be regular for age on the toddler’s personal particular development curve


  • There isn’t any recognized etiology for colic
  • Colic is regarded as the higher finish of regular developmental conduct in infants

Danger elements and/or associations

  • Infants within the age vary of three weeks to three months
Different threat elements/associations
  • Situational
    • Extreme tiredness
    • Starvation
    • Overstimulation
    • Parental anxiousness
    • Chaotic setting
  • Extra widespread within the following:
    • Youngsters of older mother and father
    • Firstborn youngsters
    • Households with fewer youngsters
    • Infants of moms with migraines
    • Households the place mother and father smoke
    • Low-birth-weight infants
    • Infants who’re overfed/underfed or who’ve high-carbohydrate/high-fat food regimen
    • Infants with poor feeding approach, together with poor positioning, insufficient burping, or ordinary air swallowing
  • Breastfed infants might have decreased incidence of colic

Diagnostic Procedures

Major diagnostic instruments

  • Comply with historical past and bodily examination with a interval of statement for 1 to 2 hours till crying stops and youngster has tolerated a feeding
    • If the crying stops spontaneously, the kid could also be noticed at dwelling for doable colic
    • If the crying persists, additional work-up is warranted
  • Repeat very important indicators with correct temperature measurement after the interval of statement and feeding trial
  • Development evaluation parameters
    • Irregular development parameters level to gastrointestinal, central nervous system, or infectious issues; systemic natural illness have to be dominated out
  • Laboratory testing provides little to the diagnostic work-up in most sufferers; extra laboratory testing or imaging is indicated solely with really inconsolable infants, febrile infants, ailing infants, or infants whose historical past or bodily examination increase considerations for alternate natural etiology at presentation
    • Particular testing ought to be based mostly on particular person medical indicators and signs and concern for a selected alternate etiology
  • Colic is a prognosis of exclusion
    • Irregular findings similar to sustained tachycardia over 220 beats per minute, fever, indicators of elevated intracranial strain, tender stomach, or bilious emesis counsel an alternate trigger; acceptable pressing medical motion is required, based mostly on medical findings

Differential Prognosis


  • Corneal abrasion
    • Bodily examination findings can vary from a normal-appearing cornea (with out use of fluorescein) to an erythematous conjunctival response, tearing, photophobia, and refusal to open eye
    • Fussiness resolves instantly with utility of a topical anesthetic
    • Fluorescein examination will reveal trauma, abrasion, and/or international physique
  • Otitis media
    • An infection of the center ear area may cause ear ache, poor feeding, fussiness, and fever
    • Examination will discover erythematous, bulging, and motionless tympanic membrane
  • Cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance
    • Milk protein allergy is an irregular immune response to the proteins in cow’s milk or soy milk. It’s characterised by vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, blood in stool, malabsorption, and probably poor weight acquire, which worsen with time
    • Onset of signs is after 1 month of life, whereas colic sometimes presents earlier in life
    • Household historical past of atopy (eg, eczema or wheezing) or milk protein allergy could also be current
    • Blood within the stool is widespread however not required for prognosis
    • Historical past and bodily examination will verify prognosis, however a short medical trial of elemental components (or maternal elimination food regimen if toddler is breastfed) is required to solidify the prognosis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
    • Toddler gastroesophageal reflux illness is the regurgitation of feedings that’s related to different pathologic signs similar to cough, apnea, crying after feedings, and weight reduction
    • Historical past and bodily examination are normally adequate to verify this prognosis
    • Esophageal pH probe or esophagogastroduodenoscopy could also be wanted to verify this prognosis
  • Constipation
    • Within the case of practical constipation, arduous stool will probably be palpable on rectal examination
    • Historical past and bodily examination are normally adequate to verify this prognosis
    • If stomach radiograph is obtained, it would present a big stool burden
  • Immunization response
    • Steady crying instantly after vaccination for as much as 3 hours shouldn’t be unusual; intermittent fussiness might persist for 1 to 2 days after vaccination
      • Youngsters with latest diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccination can have a particularly painful native response or exhibit generalized fussiness after vaccine administration
  • Urinary tract an infection
    • Infants with urinary tract an infection might current with fussiness early within the sickness
    • Fever (with no different supply for an infection), poor feeding, stomach ache, vomiting, and probably foul-smelling urine can develop
    • Prognosis might be confirmed by acquiring a catheter specimen for urinalysis, microscopic examination, Gram stain, and tradition
  • Tourniquet syndromes (hair/fiber)
    • Fiber or hair turns into tightly wrapped round penis, toe, finger, or exterior feminine genitalia
    • Examination will discover distal swelling, tenderness, and erythema of affected space, with stark indented delineation the place hair or fiber is strangling the distal side of the affected space
  • Pyloric stenosis
    • Pyloric stenosis is the gradual improvement of hypertrophied pyloric musculature leading to gastric outlet obstruction in infants aged 3 weeks to three months
    • Infants are traditionally very hungry with worsening of forceful/projectile, nonbilious vomiting
    • Poor weight acquire and failure to thrive precede medical indicators of dehydration
    • Infants with colic won’t have projectile vomiting, but when prognosis is in query, pyloric hypertrophy might be confirmed on ultrasonography
  • Sepsis/bacteremia
    • Blood-borne an infection in neonates can initially current with nonspecific signs similar to irritability and poor feeding
    • Later within the illness course of, fever or hypothermia is common and youngster seems ailing on examination
    • Baby will develop indicators of poor perfusion (delayed capillary refill) if bacteremia progresses to sepsis
    • Temperature instability and ailing look or inconsolability on examination differentiate from colic
  • Baby abuse/trauma
    • Baby abuse is inflicted, nonaccidental trauma
    • Historic options which might be regarding for abuse embody the next:
      • Any accidents that don’t match acknowledged mechanism
      • Altering historic account of damage mechanism
      • Accidents in a number of phases of therapeutic
      • Delay in in search of medical care
      • Harm that’s inconsistent with youngster’s developmental functionality
    • Historical past and bodily examination findings will most frequently level to the prognosis of bodily abuse, however they are often regular
    • Findings similar to bruising, burns, oral lacerations, fractures, subdural hematomas, or retinal hemorrhages usually are not in line with the prognosis of colic
  • Intussusception
    • Intussusception is a bowel obstruction that presents in younger youngsters with lethargy, bloody stools, and vomiting
    • The ache is acute, extreme, and unremitting
    • Stomach mass might be palpable on examination. Blood could also be discovered on rectal examination
    • Historical past and bodily examination will differentiate intussusception from colic
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
    • Supraventricular tachycardia is a slim, complicated tachycardia presenting in youngsters
    • Younger youngsters current with fussiness and problem feeding and respiratory
    • Supraventricular tachycardia is clear upon evaluation of significant indicators with a coronary heart price “too quick to depend” and sustained coronary heart price better than 220 beats per minute with no beat-to-beat variability
  • Meningitis (Associated: Bacterial meningitis in youngsters)
    • Meningitis is irritation within the cerebrospinal fluid area; the an infection in neonates can current with nonspecific signs similar to irritability, vomiting, and poor feeding early within the illness course of
    • Later within the illness course of, fever, lethargy, apathy, high-pitched cry, and hypotonia develop
    • Indicators of meningeal irritation, similar to resistance to motion, are elicited on examination
    • A bulging fontanelle is in line with meningitis
    • If the prognosis is unclear from historical past and bodily examination, a lumbar puncture with cerebrospinal fluid evaluation will verify
  • Incarcerated hernia
    • Differentiated from colic by examination findings in line with the presence of a nonreducible inguinal mass that will prolong into the scrotum in boys
  • Testicular torsion
    • Swollen, tender scrotum with absent cremasteric reflex is clear on examination
    • Ultrasonography is diagnostic, with minimal-to-absent blood movement to affected testicle

Therapy Targets

  • Lower colic signs
  • Decrease social and psychological stress on the household


Admission standards

  • If toddler is actually inconsolable and prognosis is unclear; hardly ever indicated
  • Admit to a protected setting if there exist any considerations about caregivers’ means to manage successfully with a fussy toddler

Suggestions for specialist referral

  • Seek the advice of youngster abuse specialist for considerations about findings from historical past, bodily examination, or work-up for nonaccidental trauma

Therapy Choices

Therapy of colic is principally supportive, utilizing a verify, reassure, and assist mannequin

  • Acknowledge the difficulties of parenting a colicky toddler
  • Attainable adjunct remedy choices are case-dependent and should embody the next:
    • Educating routine soothing strategies
    • Utilizing antireflux medicine for infants with concurrent colic and gastroesophageal reflux illness
    • Altering components or hypoallergenic food regimen in breastfeeding moms if considerations exist for cow’s milk/soy milk protein intolerance
    • Including probiotics to toddler’s food regimen
      • There isn’t any clear proof that probiotics are more practical than placebo at stopping childish colic; nevertheless, day by day crying time appeared to cut back with probiotic use in contrast with placebo
      • No different dietary dietary supplements or complimentary medicines are confirmed to be protected or efficient in treating colic
    • Utilizing simethicone (traditionally used to deal with colic with none clinically confirmed profit)
    • Avoiding overfeeding or extreme starvation
    • Avoiding overstimulation
  • Many drug remedies have been studied, however none have proved to be markedly efficient

Nondrug and supportive care

  • The primary therapeutic interventions in colic embody the next:
    • Educate about regular crying, sleep routine, and wholesome feeding/food regimen
      • Dietary adjustments are normally not indicated until the toddler has indicators of cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance
        • System switching is controversial within the absence of recognized cow’s milk/soy protein intolerance. Some proof does assist recommending a change of food regimen to protein hydrolysate components in youngsters with colic for a 1-week trial interval
          • Switching to soy-based components shouldn’t be recommended as a result of infants with cow’s milk protein allergy are normally additionally delicate to soy milk protein base
        • A change in food regimen to protein hydrolysate components or elimination of cow’s milk proteins from the mom’s food regimen in breastfed infants is indicated if cow’s milk/soy protein colitis is suspected
          • The usage of unique hypoallergenic-labeled elemental (amino acid–based mostly) toddler formulation ought to be restricted to infants with well-defined medical indications
        • There isn’t any clear proof that probiotics are more practical than placebo at stopping childish colic; nevertheless, day by day crying time appeared to cut back with probiotic use in contrast with placebo
      • Moms who’re breastfeeding ought to be inspired to proceed, however might contemplate eliminating milk, eggs, wheat, shellfish, and nuts from their food regimen (low-allergen food regimen)
    • Reassure mother and father that their toddler is wholesome and can outgrow the fussy conduct with no long-term results
    • Guarantee mother and father have coping mechanisms in place till the toddler grows out of the conduct
    • Talk about remedy choices similar to soothing strategies and the avoidance of dangerous strategies (eg, gripe water)


  • It has been proven that there could also be issues with household functioning and communication, in addition to elevated parental anxiousness and fatigue in households that look after colicky infants


  • Hardly ever, instances of kid abuse have been related to colic
  • Caring for an toddler with colic is related to maternal despair; nevertheless, long-term maternal psychological well being shouldn’t be affected


  • Infants with colic would not have any definitive long-term antagonistic outcomes in well being or temperament


  • Parental smoking cessation can lower the incidence of colic


Barr RG: Altering our understanding of toddler colic. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156:1172-4