Colic is a symptom which is showed by baby as a significant distress with excessive crying with frequent episodes. It usually appears in infants after birth till 3-4 month of age. The typical behavior of infant is crying during the episode. The colic may point out to sensitivity of baby’s tummy or some allergies as a consequence of something the mother ate in breastfed babies or as a result of lactose intolerance in bottle-fed babies. The episode can be frustrating for new parents, with baby in distress with no reasonable cause. These episodes of frequent unease are difficult for the infant as well.
They try to find any solution to provide the baby some relief. These episodes usually begin in evening hours or at the time of retiring when the parents are exhausted themselves from the daily routine. At the time of episode, you can alleviate the baby to provide some relief. It will help in releasing any gas built up from excessive crying in infant’s tummy or in clearing bowel. This will also boost the parent-child bonding.
Symptoms represented by baby at the time of colic:
- Frequent crying and fussing of otherwise healthy infant, especially in the first three months. The baby may start crying a great deal and it’s difficult to calm him down.
- It is easy to differentiate the episode from normal crying; it sounds more like screaming with intense pain.
- There is expression of uneasiness on infant’s face. Face becomes pale or sometimes red.
- There is no apparent cause for crying, baby is not crying to express hunger, no need to change diaper or no diaper rash. The time period may range from few hours, few days, few or more weeks.
- Even when the baby stops crying, shows extreme irritability and fussiness.
- Infant stiffens out its body, the legs, arched back clenched fists, tense abdomen, stiffed legs and arms, pulling up abdomen, arched back
- The episode generally starts in the evening.
There is no known cause for colic in infants. There can be numerous contributing factors. Researchers are still struggling out to find as why the episodes only happen during first three months of infancy or why it happens mostly at particular time or why it usually resolves on its own. Some of the possible causes are:
- The gastro intestinal tract is not fully developed.
- Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
- Indigestion in children
- Overfeeding or underfeeding
- Infrequent burping
- Lactose intolerance in bottle fed babies/formula fed babies.
- Worm infection
- Renal stones
- Family stress or anxiety
- Mother who smoked during pregnancy have increased risk of colic in infants.
Colic can be classified according to its site. It can be abdominal, renal or biliary. Colic may result from deficiency in mineral salts; chief of them is Magnesia phosphorica. If the deficiency occurs in intestinal lumen, there will be accumulation of gas causing colic. The pain is felt in center of abdomen. Colic due to appendicitis is severe and accompanied with nausea and vomiting. The pain starts from belly button and goes to right side of abdomen to the site of appendix. It is difficult to diagnose acute appendicitis in infants. It is the most common cause of abdominal pain and distress in children. If the deficiency occurs in renal area it causes renal colic. The pain starts from loins and travel down to urinary meatus with increased frequency of urination and pain during micturition. Biliary colic is related with tenderness around liver region which may be associated with jaundice. Gallstones in babies are usually a rare phenomenon. They are associated with hemolysis, ileal disease and congenital abnormalities.
Impact of colic on parents:
- Colic is stressful for parents, especially new mothers. It may cause postpartum depression in mother. The mother may suffer from symptoms, such as:
- Early cessation of breast feeding
- Feeling of guilt and helplessness
- Shaken baby syndrome: Sometimes parents under the stress of calming the crying baby mishandle and shake them forcefully, which results in serious brain injury. Sometimes it may even cause death of infant.
Schwabe India’s medicine for colic:
Bio-combination No.03: It is a combination of all salts that help in easing colicky pain in toddlers and children. It contains the following active ingredients:
- Calcarea phosphorica 3X HPUS
- Ferrum phosphoricum 3X HPUS
- Magnesia phosphorica 3x HPUS
- Natrum sulphuricum 6X HPUS
Use: Used for abdominal colic in toddlers. The bio-combination helps in removing the deficiency that causes colic and relieves the pain.
Adults: It should be taken in a dose of 3-4 tablets four times a day
Infants: half the dose of an adult.
Magnesia phosphorica: Magnesis phosphorica is an important salt in body whose deficiency causes cramps and spasm is the body. It is a constituent of muscular fibers, nerve fibers, grey cells and bones.it relieves colicky pain that makes patient to bend double. Cramps are better by warm applications.
Calcarean phosphorica: It is the second most common remedy for colic after magnesia phos fails to give relief. Most commonly indicated in teething children. This remedy aids in proper digestion of food in infants and children.
Natrum sulphuricum: Natrum sulphulricum regulates the water potential in the body. It is mostly indicated in biliary colic with vomiting of bile, enlargement of liver and spleen.
Ferrum phosphoricum: It is the main constituent of blood. Inflammation is the main indication for this remedy. It reduces any kind of inflammation associated with colic.
Other medications for colic in children are Colikind, Kindigest. These are antispasmodic remedies to ease the muscular cramps in children.