Is there a connection between infant colic and migraine?

Migraine sufferers know only too well the miserable effects of the condition that can sometimes reduce us to tears.

A study by European doctors published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests this is just what’s going on with a colicky baby.

infant colic and migraine

As it appears, a number of pediatricians have long suspected, colicky babies may well be suffering from the head pain and possibly nausea that makes migraine so miserable.

Dr. Silvia Romanello of Hospital Robert Debré in Paris and colleagues in France and Italy studied 700 children who visited emergency departments between April and June of last year. About 200 had severe migraines and the rest didn’t.

Having interviewed the parents and checked the children’s detailed medical records they found that children and teenagers with serious migraine were far more likely to have had colic as infants than those who did not suffer migraines.

As many parents will know, the distressing nonstop crying in babies with colic is often blamed on tummy trouble, but a new study says there could be a connection between infant colic and migraine in at least some infants.

The throbbing headaches are thought to be inherited and may be caused by some sort of irritation in nerve cells in the brain interacting with brain blood vessels.

The researchers said it could be that colic is caused by similar changes in nerves and blood vessels in the gut.

In her commentary on the findings, Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago wrote; “The suggestion is that the colic may be an early form of migraine and that it could very well be head pain, stomach pain or potentially both.”

“If colic is an early form of migraine, this suggests that migraine disorders may represent a continuum from colic in infancy to cyclic vomiting syndrome in young children to childhood and adult migraine,” they wrote in an editorial.

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