The causes of colic

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Philippe Gloaguen
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"Numerous hypotheses have been made about the causes of colic, but we still have no certainty today" he highlights the professor. Arrigo Barabino, head of pediatric gastroenterology at the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa.



  • “A first hypothesis is the psycho-relational one, according to which at the base of the colic there would be a altered mother-baby relationship. In fact, gas colic occurs more in the firstborn and in the higher social classes, with more apprehensive or overprotective mothers and can disappear if the child is entrusted to the care of third parties. In addition, there is an increased risk in mothers who are single, depressed or have experienced pregnancy anxiously. However, long-term psychological studies on such families have not led to well-defined conclusions in this regard.



  • Another theory calls into question the excessive presence of gas in the intestinal loops (hence the name of gaseous colic), determined either by excessive ingestion of air with the meal or by the production of intestinal air. In fact, at the pediatric visit the abdomen is very expanded and meteoric, and generally the elimination of gas is beneficial, even if transitory. However, there is no clear evidence that the baby with colic has more air in the gut than the baby without colic.

  • Then there is the theory of excessive dynamics of peristalsis. That is, children suffering from colic would have more intense intestinal contractions due to a greater production of a hormone called motilin (whose levels seem to vary in relation to diet and passive exposure to cigarette smoke). This hypothesis is supported by the fact that some infants with colic respond positively to antispasmodic drugs.

  • Other hypotheses call into question food allergy to cow's milk, not only to that of infant formula, but also to the small amounts of cow's milk that pass through breast milk.

However, none of these hypotheses alone is sufficient to explain a complex phenomenon such as that of colic ".

(Consultancy: Prof. Arrigo Barabino, head of pediatric gastroenterology at the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa)

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  • colic
  • stomach ache
  • to cry
  • first year
  • tube
  • disastrous
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