Distinguishing Between Colic and Other Causes of Crying
If your baby has colic, you may be concerned that a health condition is causing the excessive crying. Usually a baby with colic is not crying because of pain or physical discomfort. But it is important to be aware that health problems or injuries can cause a baby to cry excessively. And it is important to watch for related signs.
A baby who is in pain may:
- Have a furrowed brow, wrinkled forehead, or closed eyes.
- Have a change in his or her daily activities or behavior (such as decreased appetite, irritability, restlessness, or agitated behavior).
- Sleep more or less than usual. He or she may suddenly start waking up during sleeping, appearing to be in pain. Even if a baby is having severe pain, the baby may take short naps because he or she is exhausted.
- Grunt when breathing or hold his or her breath.
- Have clenched fists and pull his or her legs up or kick.
- Cling to whoever holds him or her, or the baby may be limp and not move at all.
- Flinch and move to protect a painful area of his or her body when touched.
Common infections in babies that may cause crying are:
A medical condition such as hydrocephalus can cause a baby to cry excessively.
Injuries that may cause crying and can be difficult to identify are:
- A corneal abrasion. This is a scratch on the clear covering (cornea) that covers the colored part of the eye.
- A broken collar bone (fractured clavicle).
- A hair wound tightly around a finger or the penis. The hair usually comes from an adult when changing or holding the baby.
Last Revised: May 10, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
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