So many parents have been there! Perhaps you are one of them. Up all night long with a baby that is inconsolable. You’ve fed the baby… you’ve changed the baby… you’ve even cuddled with the baby… nothing works. Then someone mentions it. Colic.
Colic (derived from the Greek word kolikos meaning colon) is defined as a common condition that affects babies whereby they become frequently fussy and/or cry for no apparent reason. Sound familiar? Keep reading.
It could also be described as persistent episodes of crying in a healthy child, which usually last for more than three hours a day, three days a week and for a duration of three weeks.
This could also, in fewer than 5% of infants with excessive crying, be seen as a symptom of an underlying organic disease.
What is colic in babies?
Baby colic could also be referred to as infantile colic which presents as episodes of crying as described in the definitions above. In babies it occurs between the ages of two (2) weeks and four (4) months. Generally, the cause is unknown. However, crying typical of the condition can have effects on the family and these may include postpartum depression, relationship stress, breastfeeding failure, several doctor visits, marital discord, maternal smoking, several laboratory tests and/or a child abuse known as shaken baby syndrome.
Colic usually occurs in 5-25% of infants and it has been reported to be a sign of organic disease like constipation, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, cow milk allergy, lactose intolerance, subdural hematomas, infantile migraine or anal fissures. The treatment for this could be conventional or alternative. That is, medications may play little or no role in colic treatment.
After the initial believe that colic sets in as a result of intestinal disorders (gastric pains), studies have shown that this is the not the case.
However, psychological and social factors have been reported to play roles in the progression of colic. On the other hand, report shows that maternal smoking increases the risk of baby colic.
A major sign of colic is an episode of high-pitched crying usually in the, for no reason. The symptoms associated with colic may include flushing (in the face), clenched hands/fists, wrinkled brow and tensed abdominal muscles.
Fussing and crying are typical of infants. Therefore, a fussy baby does not necessarily have colic. The signs of colic in a well fed healthy baby could be grouped into:
Episodes of crying that is predictable
A baby experiencing colic often cries at a specific time everyday usually in the late evening and/or afternoon. Its onset is abrupt and the baby experiencing this may have bowel movement and/or flatulence towards the end of a colic episode.
Colic in babies usually precipitates as intense high pitched crying. Comforting a baby experiencing colic is usually difficult. In many instances this intense crying lasts for hours at a time making the baby strain their vocal chords.
Episodes of crying for no apparent reason
Crying seen when a baby has colic usually has no cause (need for food, beaten, bitten or ill).
Are there diagnoses for colic?
Babies can be diagnosed after excluding other potential causes of crying. Diagnosis of colic is usually done based on a history and by physical examination.
Some theories behind colic/markers depicting further investigations
- Vomiting for more than 5 times per day;
- Constipation and/or diarrhea (and any other change in stool which is
usually bloody or mucous-like); /
- Abnormal body temperature (a rectal temperature of more than 38.0°C or less than 35.1°C);
- Lethargy (frequent sleepiness and/or weak sucking which may last for about hours);
- Spasm of the digestive system;
- Stomach pain fussy mood due to hormones;
- Abnormalities in nervous system development.
Before an accurate diagnosis can be made, a full examination should be done by a doctor to rule out some other conditions that can make a baby fussy and/or that irritate the baby. Examples are:
- Stomach problems (acid reflux);
- Brain and/or nervous system inflammation;
- Elevated intraocular pressure;
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Bone, muscle or finger injuries.
The approach to managing colic is usually conservative (reassurance of parents).
However, there is a little evidence that alternative medications and/or techniques can help.
Colic calm (the product)
Marketed as a homeopathic Gripe Water, indicated in the symptomatic relief of colic, gas and reflux. It is a U.S based product and it constitute of high quality natural ingredients stated to be highly effective, safe, FDA certified and completely free from sugar, simethicone, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), herbal oils/extracts, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy and animal products.
Colic calm is made with nine (9) homeopathic ingredients. It is recommended for babies, by physicians, who have colic and/or gas pain. Additionally, it improves a baby’s digestive system in such a manner that it will adjust to new foods, soothe stomach upset and relieves hiccups.
Colic calm manufacturers stated that the product contains nine homeopathic remedies that do not cause any side effects. The ingredients in colic calm (the product) are known to have a documented history of safety and are listed in the in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. The ingredients are said to be allergen-free. The nine homeopathic remedies in colic calm are chamomile, fennel, caraway, ginger, peppermint, lemon balm, aloe, blackthorn and vegetable carbon.
However, it is advised that colic calm users should always use any of the brands with the consent of a pediatrician. This product contains activated carbon which is naturally black and it makes a child’s stool black.
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