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Colic: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2022

What is the treatment?

Colic is also referred to as abdominal pain in continuously crying infants below the age of 3 months.

Is Colic worse at night?

Generally, Colic can happen at any time of the day. It is the basic mode of conversation to communicate their needs for food, attention, or any form of discomfort. There is no specific reason why infants Colic more at night than day. However there are some reasons which may be considered as the culprit is unstable hormone levels, no bladder control, any physical injury during or post-pregnancy, or just more just difficulty adjusting to the environment.

Summary: There is no specific reason why infants Colic more at night than day. However, there are some reasons which may be considered as the culprit.

Do Colic babies sleep more?

Babies usually sleep around 12-15 hours a day but in small and frequent time gaps. They usually take 4-5 hours of sleep at one time. As infants have small bladders and stomachs they have a constant need for feeding and defecation. They keep on waking up for their needs, making them a little harder to catch up with as most of the firstborn parents feel sleepless and hard to rest.

Summary: Babies usually sleep long which can be timed around 12-15 hours a day but in small and frequent time gaps of approximately 4-5 hrs.

Can Colic babies cry all day?

As the matter of fact, yes, it might seem impossible but Colic babies can cry the whole day. They are too fussy and not able to feel any form of comfort; they might cry as a mode of communication. So it's important to closely look for your baby in order to know what they want or whatnot.

Summary: Colic babies can cry the whole day. So it's important to closely look for your baby in order to know what they want or whatnot.

How is the treatment done?

Colic pain usually occurs in infants that are very young, about 6 weeks old and is usually associated with long episodes of crying. The baby keeps crying endlessly and parents usually cannot figure out the reason why such a thing is happening to the child. At the peak of the sixth week, the crying becomes largely uncontrollable and parents throw themselves in a helpless state. Parents usually take their children to a doctor to undermine the reason behind the terrible crying bouts and are usually given simple remedies for the time being. Children may start crying even more persistently after evening times, throwing parents into anxiety zones.

As soon as you take your child to a doctor, the first thing they do to alleviate his condition would be to look into his physical details. These include examining his body parts, a quick temperature check, looking out for any possible rashes on the body, listening to vital functionalities of the body parts, sensing his reactions to light, touch and hearing, measuring his height and weight and making note of these factors. Usually after an overall check-up, your doctor must be able to guide with proper medication and as part of the process, you wouldn’t need complex tests and lab x-rays to be conducted.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Doctors would suggest simple help that could be achieved at home for the baby by just comforting it, giving it a warm bath, gently massaging its abdominal area, taking it for a light walk by seating it in a stroller, comforting it by rubbing your arms gently around its abdominal area etc. These gentle messages and movements around its abdominal area help create a soothing effect and provide relief to a large extent. Once it’s relieved of the colic pain, it will stop crying and will sleep in peace for a long period of time. Colic drops are effectively administered at regular intervals to relieve the pain.

The onset of colic usually takes place in the sixth week. So normally mothers would be breast feeding their young ones at this stage. The onset of colic to a large extent also depends on the food intake of its mother. Generally vegetables such as cabbage and onions are pretty hard on the baby’s digestive system and may cause irritability. So, avoiding such vegetables along with frequent consumption of coffee/tea can avoid this situation to a certain extent. Some mothers feed their babies with formula milk, which could also be a reason for the cause of colic in babies. So, doctors would recommend intake of hydrolysate formula in place of the earlier formula milk. The hydrolysate formula is known to contain good amounts of protein is small chunks, easily digestible by infants and therefore can provide relief in such situations.

Children usually get relieved of colic pain as they grow older and usually by 3 or 4 months they do not experience colic pain of any form. While handling babies with colic pain, parents need to keep calm and understand that it’s just a temporary scenario and would reduce with time. Handling the baby with ease and maintaining one’s calm will help alleviate the baby’s pain to a large extent.


What helps Colic naturally?

Since they are not able to speak during the first year of their lives, it's hard for the parents to know what their child needs. So there are some things that one can do in order to make your crying baby ease out and stop Colic:

  • Lay them on their tummy.
  • Carry them around the house or outside.
  • Swing them gently in a relative motion, either up to down or left to right.
  • Burp and hope them upwards after feeling.
  • Switch foods, they may be fussy because the food doesn't suit them or they get bored of it.
  • Change their body temperature by wrapping or unwrapping the child as per the weather.
  • Massage the body with essential oils, constant growth of the body sometimes stretches muscles causing discomfort.
  • Give them pacifiers or chew toys.
  • Keep them hydrated.
  • Keep the room noise or temperature friendly.
Summary: Babies are not able to speak during the first year of their lives, it's hard to know what they need. There are some things that one can do in order to make your crying baby ease out and stop Colic.

Does Gripe Water Help Colic?

The effects of gripe water on the Colic are still unknown, scientists are looking at the facts of how lavender or chamomile-infused water soothes a crying baby. They are effective on adults to decrease the level of stress and calm our nerves but have not been tested on children so far. So even if the remedy is natural and does not have any side effects so far, consult your pediatrician before making any decision.

Summary: The effects of gripe water on Colic are still unknown. However, the gripe water is effective on adults to decrease the level of stress.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Children in the infancy stage, around 3 or 4 weeks old, who have been crying continuously and are unable to sleep due to colic pain should seek remedial treatment from doctors. If pain persists after simple massaging or rubbing in the abdominal area, it is good to change the diet course for the mother as well as the child, in case of breastfed babies. In any case, it is best to consult a doctor before proceeding with dietary changes for your infant.

Are there any side effects?

Infants who aren’t crying continuously, but are doing so occasionally when they require care and seek their mother’s attention shouldn’t be mistaken for a colic condition. Children tend to cry more when they are at the infancy stage and its best to observe their movements before deciding on their ailments.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Generally colic drops are used to quickly bring down colic pain in infants. Though they are not known to have any serious side effects on infants, parents should look out for symptoms of an allergic reaction on the infant’s body. Reactions such as rashes or skin infections could be some of the side effects. If the allergy is found in the neck or the face region, it may show up as a swelling at times. The child may even develop difficulty in breathing in rare cases. Therefore, it’s good to discuss these side effects with your doctor before administering it to your baby.

How long does it take to recover?

There are no specific after treatment care that should be followed once the colic pain is relieved. Generally small infants tend to develop their pain in their infancy and as they grow older, the problem fails to recur. Majority of the infants depend on their mother’s feed at that stage and hence avoiding irritating foods such as onions and cabbages will prevent the pain from recurring. Intake of low dairy products during the colic phase will also avoid pain and consumption of eggs and wheat can provide help to a certain extent. Following proper food guidelines by the mother is a must.

What foods make Colic worse?

Not only the infant but also the mother has to focus on their diets when they are breastfeeding as whatever a mother is eating during lactation goes to the milk. There are several foods that are not good for the baby as they irritate the child and make them fussy:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Apricots
  • Rhubarb
  • Prunes
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Cow's milk
  • Caffeine
Summary: There are several foods that are not good for the baby as they irritate the child and make them fussy.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The first and foremost thing to know about colic is that it’s only a temporary phase and as the infant grows into five or six months, the phase of colic just diminishes day by day. Babies experience colic at the height of their sixth week but that’s exactly when appropriate care needs to be taken. Once the child is over 3 or 4 months of age, this condition almost vanishes, leaving a sigh of relief for the parents.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Colic drops, the easiest way to cure colic pain is available at all pharmaceutical shops at prices as low as 80 to 100 for a 30 ml bottle. They are available in different variants and the prescribed drops by the doctor should be used.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There is no guarantee that a child who has developed colic at the moment is not going to develop the same pain a few days later. The mother’s diet is a big deciding factor. As time passes and the child grows older, the pain itself vanishes from the baby’s abdomen. Colic drops do provide relief to a large extent and help the baby to have a peaceful sleep for a long period.

Conclusion: Colic can be described as intense crying due to any physical or mental discomfort. There can be many things that can cause a child to cry. It is the basic mode of conversation to communicate their needs for food, attention, or any form of discomfort. It can be easily remedied by appropriate care and home tricks.


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Written ByDr. Akhilesh Singh Post Graduate Course In Diabetology,CCEBDM(DIABETOLOGY) & CCMH ( CARDIOLOGY)General Physician
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