Infant colic: mechanisms and management

Judith Zeevenhooven*, Pamela D. Browne, Monique L'Hoir, Carolina de Weerth, M.A. Benninga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Infant colic is a commonly reported phenomenon of excessive crying in infancy with an enigmatic and distressing character. Despite its frequent occurrence, little agreement has been reached on the definition, pathogenesis or the optimal management strategy for infant colic. This Review aims to delineate the definitional entanglement with the Rome IV criteria, which were published in 2016, as the leading, most recent diagnostic criteria. Moreover, neurogenic, gastrointestinal, microbial and psychosocial factors that might contribute to the pathophysiology of infant colic are explored. This Review underlines that a comprehensive medical history and physical examination in the absence of alarm symptoms serve as guidance for the clinician to a positive diagnosis. It also highlights that an important aspect of the management of infant colic is parental education and reassurance. Management strategies, including behavioural, dietary, pharmacological and alternative interventions, are also discussed. Owing to a lack of large, high-quality randomized controlled trials, none of these therapies are strongly recommended. Finally, the behavioural and somatic sequelae of infant colic into childhood are summarized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-496
JournalNature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Volume15
Early online date4 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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    Zeevenhooven, J., Browne, P. D., L'Hoir, M., de Weerth, C., & Benninga, M. A. (2018). Infant colic: mechanisms and management. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 15, 479-496. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-018-0008-7