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Colic Giving You a Headache? Your Headaches Could Have Given Your Baby Colic

By carolyncastiglia |

colic, colicky baby, crying baby, baby won't stop crying, never shake a baby, migraines

Could her crying be caused by migraines?

A colicky baby can place new parents under tremendous amounts of stress. Sure, the sound of an infant crying is something every parent must learn to cope with, but excessive crying is one of the most common triggers for shaken baby syndrome, according to experts. What makes a colicky baby so difficult to deal with is that the source of the problem is unknown, leaving those coping with colic feeling helpless to prevent or cure it.

That might be changing though, thanks to a study released today which reveals that “mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic than mothers without a history of migraines,” according to neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers wonder “whether colic may be an early symptom of migraine” and if “reducing stimulation” for babies with colic “may help just as reducing light and noise can alleviate migraine pain.”

Colic has traditionally been associated with gastrointestinal problems, but researchers say “giving colicky babies medication for gas does not help.” Dr. Amy Gelfand, a child neurologist with the Headache Center at UCSF, says “colic may be an early manifestation of a set of conditions known as childhood periodic syndromes, believed to be precursors to migraine headaches later in life.” Gelfand and her colleagues suggest that, “Babies with colic may be more sensitive to stimuli in their environment” …. and “may have more difficulty coping with the onslaught of new stimuli after birth as they are thrust from the dark, warm, muffled life inside the womb into a world that is bright, cold, noisy and filled with touchy hands and bouncy knees.” According to a press release, “The UCSF team next plans to study a group of colicky babies over the course of their childhood to see if they develop other childhood periodic syndromes, such as abdominal migraine.”

Photo via Flickr

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About carolyncastiglia



Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Colic Giving You a Headache? Your Headaches Could Have Given Your Baby Colic

  1. goddess says:

    Well none f my kids have colic, but they all descend from a long lineage of migraineurs. Paternal grandparents BOTH had severe migraine disorders (one cluster, one classic). Maternal grandmother had classic type. Father has severe cluster migraines. I have only had absence/ophthalmic migraines. Both sons get migraines (have not differentiated into classic or cluster yet), daughter has absence/ophthalmic only so far. None have had abdominal migraines.
    Every grandchild descending form the paternal grandparents suffers a migraine syndrome. In fact, niece has had an almost 6 week migraine now, has been hospitalized and is under the care of a pediatric neurologist to try and get relief. Nothing is working to crack this one so far.
    My close friend’s son, however suffers from abdominal migraines, but not regular ones and has no family history of migraine. His ab migraines are actually linked to his mitochondrial disease.

  2. carolyncastiglia says:

    Wow, Goddess – that’s crazy!

  3. Diera says:

    This is pretty interesting. My older ‘cranky’ child (he didn’t technically have colic because he didn’t quite meet the crying standard but he was a sad, needy baby) has had issues his whole life with being overwhelmed by stimulation, and I have migraines.

  4. carolyncastiglia says:

    Not to say wow again, but wow! Fascinating.

  5. goddess says:

    Carolyn- if they weren’t so debilitating, I’d say migraines are one of the most interesting syndromes/pathologies out there. Truly- triggers and treatments are all over the place; making them so hard to resolve.

  6. Amy says:

    Wow. I have migraines (and come from a long line of people with migraines), and my son was sooooo colicky. And like the article says, no GI medicine helped him. He could only be soothed by being swooshed in a sling (womblike?). Interesting connection.

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