Signs and symptoms of colic in newborns
For many adults, not dealing with newborns, the word colic is associated with accute pain that accompanies kidney or gallbladder diseases, but for parents of newborns this word is associated with intestinal pains in infants in the first three months of life.
As many young parents face the problem of colic in newborns, we’ll talk about how to identify colic in infants.
The WHO describes colic as a poorly understood condition, in which a newborn cries in pain, but there is no gastrointestinal pathology that can be causing this pain.
Pediatricians say that colic is not a disease but a physiological phenomenon observed at least once in 90% of newborns. Colic is not dangerous, but parents still need to be careful, as many diseases of the abdominal cavity in newborns are very similar in symptoms to colic.
Intestinal colic, the main symptom of which in newborns is crying, is a consequence of the functional immaturity of the gastrointestinal tract, and particularly of the systems that are responsible for the production of enzymes. Therefore, the process of gas formation in infants is often accompanied by a painful spasm.
Possible causes of colic in babies:
- spasms of the intestine;
- hasty sucking and, as a consequence, swallowed air while eating;
- violation of the intestinal microflora;
- violation of the process of digestion.
Some pediatricians believe that it is imperative to pay attention to the situation in the family. It is very important that parents are happy. The mother’s mood is especially important, as the newborn is very sensitive to her state.
Signs and symptoms of colic in newborns.
To correctly identify whether your baby has colic or other intestinal disease, pay attention to his behavior during the pain attack. Intestinal colic in infants can be identified by the following symptoms:
- An attack of colic often begins suddenly.
- Colic usually begins at the same time: after feeding, in the evening or at night.
- First, the baby begins to wince, twist the mouth, groan, toss and turn, showing the parents that something bothers him.
- When the colic starts, the baby pulls his legs to the tummy and then stretches them. He also arches the back and tries to push.
- At this point, the baby face is getting red and he clenches his hands into fists.
- Then the baby begins to cry — suddenly and loudly.
- The belly is hard to the touch, and sometimes you can even hear the rumbling of the intestines.
- Pain decreases, after the baby regurgitates or empties the intestine.
- If the mother breastfeeds, colic increases after her malnutrition.
- The rest of the time the child is active, cheerful, has a good appetite and is gaining weight well.
These were main colic newborn symptoms.
If you’ve noticed such symptoms as vomiting (don't confuse with regurgitation), stool disorder, changing of the stool color, high fever, refusal of food, you should consult a doctor, as these are signs of intestinal infection, but not the symptoms of colic.
The principle of three in determining colic.
Colic, which affects nearly all newborns, act according to the principle of three:
- Start in the third week of the newborn’s life;
- Colic pains last for about three hours a day;
- Colic pains usually stop by the end of the third month.
At first, colic in babies may appear a couple of times a week and may last from 10 to 30 minutes. But then, colic attacks appear more and more frequently, becoming almost regular or even daily. Their duration increases to 3 hours a day. In some severe cases of newborn colic, pain may continue for more than 8 hours, it is absolutely exhausting for the parents and the baby. Such long periods of colic pain may adversely affect the nervous system of a newborn baby and become a harbinger of a more serious disease. So, if pains are prolonged, consult your doctor.
When is newborn colic a frightening symptom?
You need to consult a doctor and undergo further testing if the following colic symptoms can be observed:
- daily prolonged spasms;
- liquid stool, which contains impurities, has an unusual color or smell,
- weight gain is unstable or insufficient,
- colic was first observed in a baby over the age of 4−6 months.
If the baby suffers from colic even after he is four months old, you should consult a doctor, as a prolonged period of colic may indicate problems in the stomach and intestines. But proper nutrition and timely treatment will help.
Colic in newborn is only a temporary phenomenon. So be patient and remember that after two or three months the intestines of the baby will learn to work normally, then the colic will stop, and you will be able to sleep at night and begin to enjoy life! Remember the symptoms of colic in newborns not to confuse this condition with a more serious one.