Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 02:28 pm
Infant colic is a condition that affects up to 40% of all babies in the first three to five months of life …
It’s defined as an otherwise healthy baby that has unexplained episodes of fussing and crying for at least three hours per day for three days per week.
An otherwise healthy baby will be gaining sufficient weight, feeding correctly and will have no other signs of fever, pain or discomfort.
These episodes of crying and fussing are usually predicable and happen at the same or similar times every day, starting at around two weeks after birth. While colic is generally self-limiting, meaning that it will spontaneously end after three to five months of life, it can be very distressing for both the parents and baby. This is often referred to in many households as the “witching hour” – the time that all parents dread the most every day.
Baby is often inconsolable during these episodes, but will settle immediately afterwards and will show no further signs of discomfort once the episode has passed.
Future gastrointestinal disorders
Early clinical evidence shows that infant colic may lead to gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation and IBS later in life. The cause of colic remains uncertain and there are probably multiple contributing factors.
In recent years the role of GUT flora has come into focus and clinical trials agree that colicky infants tend to have lower counts of lactobacilii bacteria in their GUT than non-colicky ones.
There is a variety of factors that contribute to the GUT flora make-up of a baby, such as method of birth, method of feeding, environmental microbiota and the make-up of the mother’s microbiota … even the geographical area of birth can contribute to a unique GUT flora.
There is no widely accepted treatment for colic and many alternative therapies are used to assist in calming colic, such as warm baths, chiropractic treatment, tummy massage and a restrictive diet for breast-feeding mothers.
Recently trials have shown that probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri strain DSM 17938 and certain preparations containing Fennel oil may well be effective in the treatment of colic. Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSM 17938 has also been shown to reduce the crying time in colicky infants by up to 50 % within 7 days of first administration.
There is further evidence to show that treatment within the first seven days after birth may reduce the possibility of developing colic, constipation and regurgitation, but this field requires further studies and trials.
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