Infantile colic

Department of Paediatric Pneumonology and Allergology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Correspondence: Wojciech Feleszko, MD, PhD, Department of Paediatric Pneumonology and Allergology, Medical University of Warsaw, Paediatric Hospital of Medical University of Warsaw, Żwirki i Wigury 63 A, 02-091 Warsaw, Poland, e-mail: wojciech.feleszko@wum.edu.pl

Pediatr Med Rodz 2016, 12 (4), p. 413–418
DOI: 10.15557/PiMR.2016.0041
ABSTRACT

Infantile colic is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders in infants, usually occurring between 2 weeks to 4 months of age. According to the definition, infantile colic is characterised by episodes of inconsolable crying, generally observed in the evening. Although these symptoms usually resolve spontaneously in the first six months of life, they often cause parental anxiety, leading to repeated medical appointments in search for help. Despite 40 years of research, the causes of this disorder are still unclear; hypersensitivity to cow’s milk protein, lactose intolerance, impaired gut microbiota, immaturity of the nervous system, the negative impact of tobacco smoke, inappropriate childcare techniques and psychosocial factors are believed to be involved in the pathogenesis. The treatment involves behavioural methods, i.e. reducing infant exposure to external stimuli. Breastfeeding mothers are advised to eliminate caffeine and hot spices from their diet and, in some cases, switch to a dairy-free diet. For formula-fed infants, it is recommended to use hydrolysates with a high degree of hydrolysis. Simethicone is commonly used in the pharmacological treatment as it reduces the surface tension of intestinal gases, enabling their easier elimination. The Rome III Diagnostic Criteria recommend to appropriately continue any method if considered effective by the parents, provided that there are no harmful consequences.

Keywords: infantile colic, infants, diagnostics, treatment