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New Research Reveals Possible Link Between Colicky Babies and Migraines in Adults

By Meredith Carroll |


Is colic an early indicator of migraines?

While there’s no question that a colicky infant can seem to bring about a migraine-like headache in adults, there is new research indicating that colic may be an early sign of actual migraines.

A child neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine said at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in late April that women with a history of migraine headaches were 2.6 times more likely than those without migraines to have babies with colic, according to Fox News.

It’s the “migraine genes,” or the genetic makeup of those predisposed to migraines, that are thought to show up early in life as colic.

However, the research does not suggest that colic is a result of headache pain or other discomfort.

Those with migraines are often sensitive to light and noise, so it could mean that colicky babies are similarly sensitive to audio and visual stimulation.

A baby is classified as colicky if he or she cries at least 3 days a week for at least three hours a day when no other medical problem is present. Other theories as to the cause of colic include gastrointestinal pain.

Earlier studies indicated kids with migraines were more likely to have suffered from colic in their infancy than kids who never experiences migraines.

The hope is that this new research — which only shows an association and “not a cause-effect link” — will help figure out more effective ways to treat colic, including counseling families with histories of migraines on how to deal with colicky babies.

Do you have a colicky baby and, if so, have you ever suffered from migraine headaches?

Photo credit: iStock

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “New Research Reveals Possible Link Between Colicky Babies and Migraines in Adults

  1. Katie says:

    My baby isn’t colicky, but I was as a baby and have suffered from both migraines and cluster headaches since I was 20 years old. This is very interesting to hear about!

  2. kara says:

    This is interesting I have suffered from migraines since I was younger I now have 2 children that were botg colicky when they were babies. A very interesting read.

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